“Revisionist Histories” is another poem from the Elemental series. Working on this series with its biographical roots has certainly been interesting and revelatory for me. I’ve come to notice a pattern where I find it difficult to stop writing poems about certain lovers or even isolated events, while I have wholly neglected others. I’m sometimes surprised by my own emotional reactions; how I can’t seem to let go of some old (very old) betrayals. How difficult it can be to write about those who meant the most, or that I still look back on with some fondness.
This poem is about one of those nightmare people and events I seem to be having difficulty making my own peace with, though it happened over 30 years ago. Perhaps because Facebook won’t let me. Perhaps more so because narcissists are so good at convincing us they’re lovely people, until they are not.
I’m nervous about accomplishing the task I’ve set for myself: To demonstrate the long and arduous transformation of a beaten, broken and neglected girl into an emotionally healthy, independent woman who finally understands how to love and be loved.
It isn’t something that happens overnight. It isn’t something one can perfect in a year or even ten. Like all modes of healing, it’s rarely ever linear. Sometimes we backslide. Sometimes we end up in the hands of another perpetrator without realizing it. Sometimes, we even luck out and find true love, no matter how badly we’ve been damaged.
These are the things I want to show in these poems. It’s embarrassing to put my life out there so publicly, but if I can capture this, if I can give hope to just one person who grew up in a loveless home with virtually no one to turn to, it will be worth every discomfort these poems have caused me.
The narrative you present after 25 years have gone won’t hold up despite the rust that’s formed over my memory. My history with you stands unrelenting and clean. Arriving back in my life, you cast me in the role of gal pal; a friend for life. But we both know how the plot thickened, despite earnest beginnings. We could never be friends when you used me as your cum dumpster in the end. Revise your story for others however you like. This truth I will remember for the rest of my life.
By Michelle Beltano Curtis
As always, thanks for reading! I welcome any feedback you have about the poem.
I hope you have a lovely holiday and very happy new year!
Ps. In a few days, I will be losing access to the internet. I may not be able to post for a while. I don’t want to close my blog, but I have no choice but to put things on hold for now. Thank you.