Grief,  Religious Abuse,  Religious Trauma

What You Wanted

There’s a certain guilt that comes from being an Exvangelical – a pervasive guilt that’s hard to shake. It’s difficult to forgive ourselves for being different, or for how those differences became a catalyst of upheaval in our families and communities. The guilt and grief over the loss of how things could and should have been, is what this poem struggles through.

I’m sorry I couldn’t be what you wanted
I tried so hard – strained and pretended

I know you wanted someone perfectly obedient
I’m sorry I grew up stubborn and dissident

I know you wanted calm, collected and cool
I’m sorry I was born with a fire in my soul

I’m sorry I couldn’t be what you wanted
you wanted a believer, but I never really bought it

Is that why you mistreat me so?
Because I have a mind of my own?

I can’t help feeling worthy of love
Sometimes I wish I never saw through your cover-up

I’m sorry I couldn’t ever be what you wanted
I can’t just plug my nose and drink the Kool-Aid

I’m sorry I’m so hungry for a truthful answer
It would be easier if I didn’t know I deserved better

I’m sorry I couldn’t be a tool for you to use
I’m sorry I’m such a difficult person to abuse

I’m sorry I couldn’t be what you wanted
If religion is contagious, I guess I never caught it

I’m sorry I’m not easier to manipulate
I’m no good at accepting the reality you create

I’m sorry my existence is so disappointing
I didn’t mean for my healing to be so annoying

I’m sorry I was never able to earn your love
I did everything I knew how, but it wasn’t enough

I’m sorry my happiness makes you so uncomfortable
But I didn’t expect your hatred to be so palpable

I never wanted to be the one to shake things up
I just thought you’d want to fix something so corrupt

I’m sorry I could never be what you wanted
I know what you expect of me, but what if I don’t want it?

I’m sorry my authenticity is so embarrassing
I thought you’d agree my true self is worth cherishing

I’m so sorry – I don’t know what went wrong
I swear my choices have been Spirit-led all along

I’m sorry I wasn’t able to become who you wanted
I don’t know why my opinions make you feel taunted

Sometimes I wonder if I was better off not asking why
I’m sorry I can’t go with the flow, when it means settling for a lie

Why do I have to be different? It’s no easy task
But I think that’s probably also what the prophets asked

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