To Survival



To him…

I watched it break, slowly, cracks becoming craters becoming chasms. 

It was mine to hold, to guard…to love in return. I didn’t have the courage to carry it then. I couldn’t bear the weight of what it meant. 

In the end, all I possessed was destruction. 

I asked you once… Do you wish you’d given it first to another? 

Your answer haunts me still,  years later, all alone… 

It was always yours to break. 

Chelsey Whitlow 


The Swing

Dawn bled out over us; the foggy gray light intensifying the emotions warring behind his storm cloud eyes. The only sound, the creak of my backyard swing, as we moved speechlessly back and forth.

The truth sat heavily between us, tangible and horrible and heartrending. Truth that would most likely destroy all of us, already had in so many ways. Words we couldn’t take back. Kisses that still stung. Betrayals that would forever haunt us.

I held my breath, waiting for the last stable piece in my world to drop and shatter. How many hard conversations had we had this last year, in the middle of the night, on this swing? Conversations we always walked away from…together.

But none of them had the potential to change everything so irrevocably, like this one could. No other before broke me like this one already had.

The silence stretched out, my lungs and eyes burning. I wouldn’t speak first. It was his move now. Forgive or walk away from all of this. I couldn’t bear the later. Please, Merrick…say something.


Tears I thought already dried up, leaked silently down my face. He leaned forward. I closed my eyes and braced myself. I knew watching him walk away would be the action that finally broke the dam inside. I wouldn’t let him see my drowning. 

Then, cool fingers curling around my knee. Holding on for dear life. A deep, rattling sigh. Head in hand. And one word whispered into the growing light. One word, that said everything I was afraid I would never hear again…



I pushed you away,

For your own safe keeping.


I pushed them all away.


I was an open wound;

Raw and ever bleeding.

Fear became my chosen weapon,

Shadows my armor,

Evasion my dance.


I bear her scars now,

Long years spent in hiding.

They are the threads of my discovery.

They tell the tale of my beloved undoing.


I would welcome you now,

No longer a danger.


I would welcome them all,

To sit and to listen.


I am a beautiful roadmap,

Wiser and healing.

Love is my weapon now,

Light my armor,

Courage my dance.
Chelsey Whitlow



 Amidst the chaos,

I will seek the quiet places. 

Amidst the noise,

I will listen for the whispers. 

Amidst the angry,

I will focus on the heartbeats. 

Amidst the broken,

I will cherish the scars that have not killed me. 

Amidst evil men,

I will be unabashed love. 

Chelsey Whitlow