Hashtag Avoidance

It was a secret,
what really happened.

She swallowed it,
buried it deep.
But it festered,
gnawed at her.
Invaded her thoughts
at inopportune times.

Stuff it. Just stuff it!
She tried. Oh God she tried.
She could manage alone,
step up and lean in.
Efficient competence
clad in stern business suit.

She wore luminescent pearls,
choker style.
Eyes up here, buddy!
Words yelled at him,
but only in her head.
Feelings choked back again.

ME TOO she wanted to scream.
But it was a secret,
what really happened.
She swallowed it,
buried it deep,

halloween-1720071_1920Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets where Tuesday Poetics is hosted by Merril. She asks us to write a poem somehow involving a secret. I am not a member of the MeToo movement….but this is my heartfelt concern for those who have suffered abuse and hold it within. Photo from pixabay.com

30 thoughts on “Hashtag Avoidance

  1. kim881 January 21, 2020 / 3:11 pm

    I’m afraid I know something about abuse from personal experience, and I’m so glad you chose to write about this kind of secret – the kind nobody should have to keep. I‘m watching the latest series of Silent Witness on BBC1, and the current storyline is about women from a hostel at a secret location, and how abuse is often repeated in a family, with the daughter marrying an abusive man after years of experiencing her mother suffering at the hands of her father. There are so many different types of abuse – too many.These lines are so true:
    ‘She swallowed it,
    buried it deep.
    But it festered,
    gnawed at her.
    Invaded her thoughts
    at inopportune times.’

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian January 27, 2020 / 5:57 pm

      I am very sorry, Kim, that this hits close to home for you. There is such pain in not telling….there is still pain in the telling but it does set one free from keeping up a false front. I will have to see if I can find Silent Witness here in the states. Sadly, the television we have here in our San Diego rental apartment does not have Netflix etc….just the very basics. But perhaps when we get home.

      Liked by 1 person

      • kim881 January 28, 2020 / 1:46 am

        Thank you, Lill. I hope you’re having a whale of a time in San Diego. The weather looks wonderful.


  2. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) January 21, 2020 / 3:32 pm

    Oh, such secrets… and how the gnaw in the victim. As a male, I wonder more if this feeling of keeping a secret is not his strongest tool in abusing the power.

    Liked by 1 person

    • merrildsmith January 21, 2020 / 4:22 pm

      Yes, whoever holds the power does probably count on it being kept a secret.

      Liked by 1 person

    • lillian January 27, 2020 / 5:58 pm

      As long as it is not told, the perpetrator maintains the power. The telling crashes that paradigm and makes known the true self of the offender.


  3. merrildsmith January 21, 2020 / 4:21 pm

    Oh–well done, Lillian! I think #MeToo has been empowering for so many.

    I’ve never faced anything TOO horrible, but I did have one experience with a grad school professor that I kept a secret until recently. You might know that I have a book on sexual harassment coming out soon. Our own dVerse Sarah wrote an essay for it, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian January 27, 2020 / 6:01 pm

      I did not know about the book. I shall look for its publication.
      As painful as the MeToo movement has been, there is also a release and therefore a sense of freedom and new found sense of self as a survivor.

      Liked by 1 person

      • merrildsmith January 28, 2020 / 6:36 am

        Yes, exactly Lillian. I just finished going over the page proofs for my book. It should be out in the spring.


  4. msjadeli January 21, 2020 / 4:35 pm

    Sexual abuse permeates every and anyplace in society. The intricacies of abuse are institutionally entrenched and continue in our patriarchal society because of it. The abusers have a lot of help in keeping victims silent. Breaking the silence is the hardest and most vital act a victim can take. Lillian I appreciate you highlighting the secret of sexual abuse. You’re right, just because you have stuffed it doesn’t mean it isn’t eating you from the inside. To any victim reading, please. Tell your story. On paper, to a friend, to the world, to law enforcement. However you can, get it out.


    • lillian January 27, 2020 / 6:03 pm

      Thank you thank you for this reply. I think it is painful to come forward…but then there is a release and rush of freedom and acknowledgement of self worth….of being a survivor and living free of the horror of hiding.

      Liked by 1 person

      • msjadeli January 27, 2020 / 6:14 pm

        You are welcome, Lillian. It’s the biggest step anyone can take towards healing from it. Learning about the underlying machinery of it is another huge leap a victim can take.


  5. Grace January 21, 2020 / 6:26 pm

    That secret can fester and gnaw really deep down. Affects relationship long term and the way we regard ourselves. Good one Lillian.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. rothpoetry January 21, 2020 / 10:50 pm

    So many of those secrets were buried and never excavated! Well done Lillian.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian January 27, 2020 / 6:06 pm

      It has been amazing to see the number of women who came out with this hashtag and admitted who they are and understood they are the powerful ones…they are the survivors. Exposing the perpetrators, no matter how long after or whether the person is alive or dead…giving voice to what happened shifts the balance of power and healing can begin.

      Liked by 1 person

      • rothpoetry January 27, 2020 / 8:16 pm

        Yes, and releasing a heavy load they were carrying all those years!


  7. Mish January 21, 2020 / 11:26 pm

    Even if you have not experienced what “she” has, you are walking in her shoes in this poem. Nicely done!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian January 27, 2020 / 6:07 pm

      Thank you, Mish. In reality, there are some males who have experienced this as well. Relationships of power, teacher/mentor and student can breed this type of abuse. I am not a member of the movement….but am close to it with others I know who are.


  8. areadingwriter January 22, 2020 / 3:34 am

    Gave me goosebumps. The intensity is a lot. The buildup was done effectively. When the hashtag was revealed. Boom! So well done.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian January 27, 2020 / 6:09 pm

      Thank you. And this has me thinking…………it is just this way in real life —– the person goes along and goes along and goes along and BOOM! Suddenly has the power from within to verbalize what was. There is a sense of unburdening and placing the blame where it rightly should be. My mother always used to say, “Who owns the problem?” And with the MeToo movement, that question is finally honestly answered and the perpetrator must now live with the spotlight on him/her.

      Liked by 1 person

      • areadingwriter January 28, 2020 / 2:50 am

        oh yes! finally some truth is spilled. much needed.


  9. Victoria Stuart January 22, 2020 / 9:57 am

    I love that deep in the middle of the poem are luminescent pearls, just as they are buried in oysters. Worn “choker style;” as the pearl represents the journey of the soul or spirit along the path to wellness, yet they are cutting off the ability to speak her truth. This is so, so powerful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian January 27, 2020 / 6:11 pm

      Thank you, Victoria for catching that. Yes….the choker style necklace….the buttoned up metaphor that is choking her from telling the truth — a truth that no one knows and therefore is not a lie…it simply has never been suggested or admitted. But as we know, omission is a lie. The metoo movement gives voice to what was, therefore is.


  10. hank77 January 22, 2020 / 9:58 am


    She swallowed it,
    buried it deep,,again.

    If she was destined not to be privy to it, so be it!



  11. Linda Lee Lyberg January 22, 2020 / 1:29 pm

    As a young child, I experienced several #MeToo moments but luckily, I fought with all my tiny soul and never let it get far. Excellent Lillian.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian January 27, 2020 / 6:12 pm

      I’m so glad you escaped the evil of what could have been. Thank you for commenting here, Linda.

      Liked by 1 person

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