“Looking Down, Looking Back.” Fiction. Based on a True Perspective.

“You don’t know how far you’ve gone until you look back.”


“Looking Down, Looking Back.”

Fiction. Based on a True Perspective.

By Leanna Glenn Markham

This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.

Trigger Warning: our program often motivates people to discuss their trauma. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, please, take a step back to address emotional flashbacks and trauma before continuing to push yourself. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or the National Suicide Hotline at (1-800) 273-8255.

Words fell
like boulders tumbling down
in an angry avalanche.
Certain of my death,
I cowered
and shook like the earth itself
every time
a shout blasted nearby,
especially one aimed at me.
World’s end.
Another person to avoid,
unless it was family,
in which case
the hiding drew inward.

A friend told me that
talking about things,
even with voices
arched and loud,
showed caring,
that the relationship
was valued.

I believed
but couldn’t do.
The boulders—
The life-smashing boulders.

I had always heard
that perfect love
casts out fear,
that there is no fear
in love.

I must not have loved much,
for fear and I walked
hand in trembling hand.

But somehow love
came, embodied
In a very human being
with a bit of temper.
And in that love
I grew in strength.
I could walk tall
or slouch.
I could dress well
or hang in sweats.
He radiated acceptance
toward me
without the illusion
of perfection on my part.

Acceptance brings with it
a life-altering peace.

Because I never had to fake
liking what I didn’t like
or being who I am not
nor ever will be,
never feeling like I
had to suck it in to wear
tight clothes,
or be other than the
cool that I am,
I could withstand
the occasional avalanche.
I learned the boulders
wouldn’t crush me,
didn’t mean the end,
didn’t crash down in
hatred, just frustration.
He loves me
but he’s human.

All the while
I’ve been climbing up those boulders
toward the top.
I’m not there yet,
just taking a break
to look down
and across the
landscape of life
to see how far I’ve come.


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