Disclaimer: This post contains some sensitive topics that could be overwhelming for some viewers/readers.
It Happen in Pieces
Written and Performed by: Dale Chapman
Below is the video’s dialogue script:
It happened in pieces, tiny little turning points. I’ll never figure out when it all turned, because it
wasn’t a single moment. It doesn’t matter how many times I look back, how many times I try to
figure it out. There is no before and after. Just a year of choices.
I’ve heard that people stay in bad situations because a relationship like that gets turned up by
degrees. It is said that a frog will jump out of a pot of boiling water. Place him in a pot and turn it
up a little at a time, and he will stay until he is boiled to death. Us frogs understand this.
It is never ugly at first
It is sweet
Sickeningly sweet to anyone who isn’t wrapped up in it
To anyone who isn’t wrapped up in it
It is simple
It is bad
It is no good
They won’t ever use the word
They won’t ever have a sense of real urgency
Because he doesn’t hit you
When you love hard enough, you can embrace those scars. And when you love long enough,
you excuse or even ignore almost imperceptible changes in the terrain: when he gripped me a
bit tighter, a bit more often. When “How are you?” became “Where were you?”
It starts to change
Maybe he didn’t change
Maybe you did
And that is the problem
It was sweet
Falling asleep together
Him checking to make sure you’re cozied up in bed
But you want to go out with friends one evening
And now it is bedtime
And he expects you
You could lie
But if someone posts a picture
He will notice the timestamp
And he cannot tolerate a lie
So you stay home
Things have never been okay with us. Maybe if I’d paid attention, I would have seen that on our
first few dates. Maybe I would have noticed his possessiveness; maybe I would have seen the
way he wrapped around me, made me his entire world, his obsession. Maybe I would have felt
the weight he placed on my shoulders, one tiny stone at a time.
A person shows signs of clutching on too fast, of being needy, of not hearing the word “no,” of
jealousy, of guarding you and your freedom. But the signs can be so small they skitter right past
you. Sometimes they dance past, looking satiny, something you should applaud. Someone’s
jealousy can make you feel good. Special. But it’s not even about you. It’s about a hand that is
already gripping. It’s about their need, circling around your throat.
It was endearing
His wanting to know every detail of your day
Checking in to remind you of things you’d forgotten
But this new gym habit that you formed with him
Is too exhausting to keep up with your workload
But he can’t understand those who don’t think like he does
He can’t understand why you wouldn’t want to be healthy
So you start going less
And he starts to notice
Says that your body is showing the side affects
Starts commenting on your stomach
Starts asking why your workouts aren’t as long as they used to be
Asks you every day if you’re going to the gym
If you’re going to take care of yourself that day
How do you live under the strain of someone who plans out your every hour
Who has to eat dinner at 5 o’clock exactly
And expects you to eat with him
Even if it means dropping everything you’re doing
Even though it means that he will analyze everything you put into your mouth
Because you aren’t going to the gym like you should
So now you have to watch what you’re eating more closely
To avoid the comments you know will come
People don’t understand us. They don’t understand me. They think it’s so black and white, that
he makes me miserable and that I should be with someone else and that I deserve something
else. But it’s not black and white at all. It’s gray. It’s a never ending world of gray.
The most insane things can become normal if you have them around you long enough. A mind
can’t seem to hold anything too crazy for too long without finding a way to make it seem normal
Like a numbed soldier, I lived from moment to moment, and when the moments were sweet
(and many were), I savored them because nothing tastes as good as hope.
Because even on the bad days when it seemed an eyelash could set him off, when he
threatened to leave the apartment or this world, still each night he would murmur into my ear
that these were the natural ups and downs of love.
But there is nothing natural about war.
What do you do when the one person you want comfort from the most is the one who caused
your pain? How can I want so desperately for him to wrap me up in his arms but also want so
much for him to leave me alone?
The electric way he used to want you
Has become a daily battle
Because the man keeps score
Counts the days since he last had your body
Why would you keep yourself from him?
Don’t you love him?
Why are you punishing him?
Don’t you want to be intimate with him?
You wouldn’t mind being intimate at all
But he is addicted to sex
And you can’t just have a quiet evening together until he gets off
So you swallow your pride
And make him happy
In hopes that maybe things will be good for a day or so
But he is constantly asking
And sometimes you make the mistake of standing up for yourself
Telling him no
He can’t expect you to just have sex with him because we have been together
You don’t want to just get him off today
Why can’t that be ok?
And the cycle of lust and fighting goes on
Until one day
He sends you a picture of his
After he has rubbed himself raw
Because you haven’t been doing it enough for him
So his problem
Is your fault
And he reminds you every time
He comments on how the sores hurt
Hurt is a weapon. Better weapon than most because it doesn’t look like one
He was my comrade, sinking into the trenches, grasping at my face, my arm, my collarbone. I
wanted to rescue him. If that meant bearing his blows and his slurred insults, I would do it. If I
could’ve swallowed his sadness, I would have.
I wanted to leave
I wanted out
But his depression was overpowering us both
He couldn’t live without me
I knew that he had almost done it in the past
He had told me about holding the knife to his stomach
Showed me the scar where he made pressed it into himself
Just to know how it felt
I couldn’t be the reason this man took his life
I wanted to be his life preserver, the thing that would keep him afloat. Instead, he became my
anchor. And I’m tired of drowning
He never hit me
I wish he had hit me
Maybe then someone would’ve helped pull me out
I am bruised from battle, but I am not a casualty of his war.
I am free. I am free.
I am mine.