beauty and beast photo

I.
I now see  beneath the masks he wore.
I’d seen glimpses before,
Each time a mask slipped off,
Yet I handed it back,
Often propping it up for him,
Focused on what I saw as
His neediness
Instead of my own common sense.
Telling myself he meant well.
I saw him as fragile as a child;
He cannot help it, can he?
He desperately needs my love
To rescue him, doesn’t he?
If I can only make him happy,
Prove my loyalty,
Earn his trust, surely then,
I’d get back the man
He’d promised to be, for me, the start, wouldn’t I?
It was all up to me to change what I must, not to fail;
Or so I thought.
.
 II.
I want to see clearly now,
To identify what is true, from what is illusion.
Too long, a heavy fog made me overlook
The emotional cruelty, the lies,
The playing with my mind,
The gaslighting.
Too long, I wasted energy
Trying to get him to understand,
How he was hurting me, and us.
Too long, I took the blame.
I was seduced by the fantasy that:
If I figure out how
To make him feel secure in my love, and
Gain his trust, prove my loyalty,
Get him to understand
How his actions leave me
Hurt and confused,
Then … he’d stop hurting me, and us,
He’d change; it was all up to me.
Or so I thought.
.
 III.
 I see more clearly as the fog lifts,
My own desperation to be
The woman who cracked the code
To his heart, where his love surely
Lay waiting for me, right?
Ahh … the fairy tales
Women are told, duping us into these fixes,
Making it easy for a Weinstein to exploit women as easy prey,
So that men can feel like “real” men?
(By the way, this sick form of power stems from powerlessness.)
If the Beast depends on Beauty’s kindness
To transform into being capable of loving;
And no longer a threat to himself and others,
Then, isn’t the one who seeks to love unconditionally,
To understand human failings,
Who is incomparably — the strongest, bravest, healthiest?
Is any failure of society greater duping our men from boyhood,
To adapt ideals for strength and masculinity associated with:
Narcissistic and antisocial personality disorders (mass shooter profiles)?
Shaming humans to detach from emotions of compassion,
And to lust instead for the power to hate and be hated,
To demoralize, yet feel no remorse, is a sickness, not a strength.
Or so I now think, know.
.
IV.
I want to see, and think, clearly from now on.
From the start, the game was rigged
For men to win; and women to fail.
Mostly “good ol’ boys’ in on the secret, that:
Men play a totally different game, and own rules.
She, a fairy-tale game of Life;
He, a winner-takes-all game of Risk.
To set up another to fail, then claim a win? Is this not admission of weakness?
To the extent we feel genuine esteem for others,
We feel healthy esteem for ourselves. And vice versa.
The chemicals the human body releases
Equate feeling hatred for another as hatred for self.
It’s why letting go or forgiving is something
We do, not for the other, but for our own wellbeing.
This biological imperative explains why
No one is more miserable, feels more powerless, inadequate,
Desperate or emotionally fragile —
Than a narcissist or psychopath.
By nature, a relationship is not a sport, but a lifelong haven,
Where personal, relational growth happens.
     And now, I choose to remain aware, consciously think.
.

Photo by Eva Rinaldi Celebrity and Live Music Photographer