Eventually, I Stopped Stretching

By Annie Sisson

PROMPT — No one noticed ...

No one noticed the ways I was able to shrink and contort myself to fit into the boxes of their expectations. Day after day, year after year I tried to conform. One more expectation laid at my feet, one more joint screaming with pain as my cages grew smaller. Crushing my spirit a little more with each new demand. When the pain became unbearable, I’d push against the walls of my confinement, everything in me begging to stand and stretch. At the first whiff of a challenge to his control, my most devoted captor would immediately shove me back into the darkness with his cudgel of “selfish,” “unlovable” and “bitch.” My courage would drain away and the lid would close tightly once again. Eventually, I stopped stretching. I forgot how to fight. I lost myself in the endless darkness of my prison cells. My containers were labeled with the expectations that held me captive. Words like “skinny,” “quiet” and “complacent” were like buckets of water dousing my flame day after day. No one noticed as the fire went out. There came a day when my captor, who I’d unknowingly handed the keys so many years ago, finally set me free with the simple words, “I don’t think we should be married anymore.” Strangely, when you’ve lived inside dark cells for so long, you forget what fresh air and sunlight feel like on your face. They jar the system. It was almost as if the cages had become where I was most comfortable. Almost. One dislocated joint and broken piece at a time, I began to unfold. I remembered how to stand. I swore, “Never again!” As I nurtured my body, mind and spirit back to health, I was surprised to learn that I’d grown. I was taller than I’d remembered. Stronger too. The broken pieces that kept me small were composted into food for the garden of my soul. An unknown seed had been buried deep in the soil all along. The darkness and pain were the catalyst for it’s unfurling journey toward the light. The shreds of those boxes became the kindling for the fire within. The ashes from which I was reborn. I am no longer invisible. Now they can’t help but notice.

Annie Sisson is an explorer, change maker, multipotentialite, and dreamer. Her mission is to create a world where women no longer expect less in happiness and success than the men around them. As an Empowerment Coach, Annie helps women create the lives and businesses they've always wanted. She writes from Salt Lake City, Utah.


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