Learned Behavior- A Poem
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Learned Behavior- A Poem

Inspired by "To This Day" by Shane Koyczan.

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Learned Behavior- A Poem
Autodo

If you’ve ever had trouble understanding something,
You probably wound up asking someone to explain it to you.
Unless you’re like me and have the attention span of half a peanut,
You’d listen;
Not because you were forced to,
But because you asked.
I’m not sure if there’s such a thing as “consenting to listen,”
But after 20 years of encountering people
Who would rather walk on hot coals
Than shut their mouths for a fraction of a second,
I think we need to put that rule into play.

But what if someone tells you to listen
When you know it’s the wrong thing to do?
What would you do then?
Go along at first, ignoring the voice in your head
For just a minute while you wait for the person spewing inconsistency
To move on to his next victim.
Just listen, he’d say.
And you would.

Eventually, he found her,
Trapped her;
The first chapter of her life wasn’t hard to decipher
And he’d written it himself.
Plain and simple.
Once upon some dusty old attic,
He’d thrown her inside for what crime, she didn’t know.
She watched life pass her by,
And with each and every sigh she realized
That her punishment was not the isolation,
But the time it gave her to think.
And think she did
About the years she would spend hidden away
Like something he could save for a rainy day,
But only once the world had averted its eyes.

He loved her, she told herself,
It was for her own good.
But once the skies turned dark,
She thought once again.
The moon gave her peace
As he gave her the only company she’d ever had,
But those thoughts only gave her
The bald spot on her head
Where gray hairs grew.
At twelve, should a little girl
Really look like a haggard old lady?
So she clutched at the fibers and pulled,
Because the control felt better than the knowing
That the world would see her fear
Growing atop her head.

Each whitened hair was a cry for help
That they all felt compelled to ignore.
And as the anxiety bore into her skull,
She knew deep down that there was something more.
She can feel it in every pore,
See it in his eyes when he told her,
“Stop being ungrateful.”
These were the cards dealt,
But that didn’t mean the dealer had to play fair.
Was it really her fault?
He answered “yes,” as he force-fed her
Another spoonful of sugar
To drown the vinegar he’d drenched her in
All her life.

The sweetness would fade.
She knew this all too well.
She’d listened until now,
But now it felt more like a death sentence
Than a request.
She was messed up,
But when she asked him why,
Why her…?
He replied without a hint of regret,
“You did this to yourself.”

In her surprise,
Her eyes glued themselves to the floor
As she met his words with silent acceptance.
It was all she could do
Just to refuse…
But we all know, one day,
She did.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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