I can feel her lurking there, peeking over my shoulder.
At times she wears me, cloaks herself in my skin, frolicking around with agony in her eyes,
as she mocks me, trying to convince me that I am not safe.
She thrusts her angry cloak over my quivering shoulders making me invisible
to the outside world and imprisoned inside
of me.
Her furiously fearful rage does its job well
shielding my fears and doubts from seeing the light of day
They stay tight up inside of my chest while they eat at what is left of my
If my fears cannot escape they cannot be processed,
If she doesn’t let them out they will live with me forever.
She swallows what is dark, She kills what is light.
Her bony fingers are cold and icy,
She herself needs some warmth, some love, some understanding
But so diligently she hides away behind her
“I told you so’s” and insistence that no one can be trusted.
“I don’t want to play this game anymore,”

I tell her, but she does not listen.
I muster enough strength to pull her close to my chest,
Reminding her that she does not need to keep me safe anymore,
Because we are already safe.
In that knowing I release those fears and doubts,
And Shadow Girl falls back to where she belongs,
Behind me, in my shadow.

"I wrote this poem when I was feeling this overwhelming sense of panic. I refer to this part of me the Shadow Girl. She hung around a lot when I was a child and sometimes she takes me over. I am not going to fight her, I am going to love her and remind her that I no longer need her to keep me safe. She was born from pain and emotional validation and she did her part to keep me alive. But now, I am strong. I have my resources and she can stay here, in this short poem as a reminder of who she is, right where she belongs."
Brooke Bridges

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