On Elements

For much of my life I have lived in my head, and not taken much notice of my body. Part of this have meant I have not felt I in the world, just on it.

I am writing about the four elements. For I wish to explore how detached I was, and maybe an opening to accepting my body.

This is hard, because I was made to believe that my body betrayed me.


For too much of my life, the only reason I know I was alive was that air went in and out my body.

Breath was there in my every moment. It give me a slow strength to believe that there might be a future.

But I grow to hate how each morning when I would wake into life.

I would see my chest go up and down, and know I had not lost all my air in the night.

I have always done shallow breathing. Only when I smoke do I want air in my lungs.

Air was too clean for me. Air was too simple.

I did not deserve to be still breathing it in.

I remember how I could not stop breathing. I live as the violence grow and grow.

I did not stop breathing as a 6-year-old, and the pain of my stepdad’s finger in my cunt stopped my heart. No, I was still breathing.

I did not stop beathing as I cut my arms.

I did not stop breathing as men put pain into every cell of my body. As they stared into me.

I lay dead. But I was still breathing.

I hated breath as it let in the pain.

Sometimes I had brief times I touch air and it could be good.

I watched birds of prey controlling the air.

I stood on cliffs letting air toss memories and pain away.

On rare occasions, I breath deep and did not feel scared.

But mostly air was life, and I hated life.


Earth reminds me of death.

That was a comfort for many years.

I was in love with death as a child. It was an end. It was a place I would not be hurt.

I wanted to be buried in the earth. I wanted worms to eat me.

I needed to be nothing but earth.

I had no love of touching earth. I hated gardening.

I walked for hours, but with little regard for my surroundings.

I was blind to the beauty of the earth.

My walks were the walk of the dead. I was lost.

Often I would in place I had lived in for many years, and I was lost.

I was lost as I could not remember how I arrive and where I had been.

Sometimes I stood touching the earth, and pain enter my body.

I could not remember where it can from.

Sometimes I stood so still that I thought I may cry. I always stopped that.

I walked and walked. I could not stay still.

I move to stop thoughts. I move to imagine I was safe.

Now, I do see the beauty in the earth. I see it in nature, I see it in buildings. Now, I walk and I can look.


Fire has always fascinated me.

I watch it’s destruction with joy. It makes me laugh.

Fire in my belly forced to live.

In my mind’s eye I burnt all the porn I was shown by my stepdad. Leaving a trail of destruction. I knew I wanted to kill my stepdad.

My fire was a slow burner, but it never went out.

The first time I meet my stepdad, I raged that I did not like him.

This rage was the petrol to my fire.

My fire keep my mind safe.

Men treated my body as a dustbin.

Men pour all hate into me.

But I had my rage protecting me.

Men would rape me.

Men would treat as live porn.

Men would beat me.

Only the fire in me meant they could never reach my mind.

Men could never owned me.

Not whilst I hated them.


Water has never felt safe to me.

I was abused in the bath by my stepdad. I was often made to wash before and/or after the violence in prostitution or “date rapes”.

Water is functional to me. I would rather ignore it as much as possible.

I have grow to like baths, but I would not see having a bath as a way to relax.

I cannot shut my eyes in water. I may feel the abusers in my body.

In water the traces of the violence sinks into my body.

I have always love to watch the sea. Then I can feel nothing matters.

I can know I don’t always have to stay in control.

For much of my life, I did not drink much water.

I did not want to be healthy. I did not want my body to continue.

Water meant going forward. But, I just went forward to yet more abuse.

My hatred of life became an irrational hate of water.

Why be refreshed.

I was just being freshened up so I appear suitable for rape.

I did not want to be well.

Men rape me however ill I looked.

I still have many mixed feelings about water.

But I do drink quite a lot these days.


I think I slowly letting myself live. I am letting myself feel that I am worth my place to breathe.

I allowing myself to see my environment. To feel I belong inside the earth.

I letting my fire go into being creative, not just dreams of destruction. It burns still, but on a low heat.

I allowing my body not to dry up and give up. Water helps it rest for a while.

I try to bring elements into me. I try to not to live detached.

I want to be whole, not a robot.


3 responses to “On Elements

  1. You know I feel so odd remarking in anyway about any sort of skill/technical features with your posts because the important part of your writing is the revealing, the remembering, the process.
    So this next point is minor: this is remarkable Rebecca. Really.

    “Air was too clean for me. Air was too simple.” & “I move to stop thoughts.” &
    “I cannot shut my eyes in water. I may feel the abusers in my body.”

    I love these lines (and more)–they are so pin-pointed in their dynamics between you and the world. You are mapping these moments with such an understanding, rerouting your relationships with such detail and clarity. And beauty. (I keep thinking “this has gotta be helping, gotta be healing.”)

    And anyways, minor points like I said. I’m thrilled to see how prolific you are, that you are at no loss for words.
    But I do often wonder if your inner poet is as shaken and startled as I am to find these triumphant lines pounding through.


  2. interesting post rebecca. I like it. I often hear about how rape survivors feel detached from their bodies. A classmate of mine talked her experience with that at Take Back the Night.


  3. Wonderful piece, Rebecca! 🙂

    I love the way you wrote about how those 4 elements make you feel.

    I’m glad you’re learning how to to accept your body as a whole again and that you are now finding the power to heal.

    I agree with Pisaquari when she says that you are a very prolific writer.


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