The Story Behind the Story

Meet our Guest Author Rachel Ellynn M.

Rachel Ellynn M. is a published poet and author in KCMO. Her next piece becomes available 2.14.20, entitled the garden boy. You can find more writing on her blog and social media.

Also you can follow her on the following:

Twitter: @rachelellynnm

Facebook: @rachelellynnm

Instagram: @rachelellynnmauthor


The release of my upcoming book has my mind twisting in knots. You see, the first one was easy to publish: a collection of poems, poems I’d shown people before, whooshed out into a neat little paperback. It was fine. Easy-peasy. But when the garden boy comes out, it won’t be so easy.

The book, plain and simple, is about my experience with emotional abuse. I don’t come right out and say it, but I don’t beat around the bush, either. I toy with real and not real, and the book is what I like to call poetic metafiction. A whole new genre.

I wrote it because I needed closure. I didn’t do it on a schedule, although I thought that was the plan: sometimes, I woke up at two in the morning with a particular memory running through my mind. Sometimes, I let that go into the book. The nice thing is, once I let those memories out, they didn’t bother me so much.

I did a lot of thinking. I thought about how best to characterize the person who hurt me and how to characterize myself. I did research on the way plants grow. I found quotes from authors and famous figures I love because I needed some emotional glue to help people understand the message. It was exhausting.

In its essence, the garden boy is a memoir and a stick-it-to-’em book in one. It’s something beautiful that I can open and cry to, something I can hold close to my heart or burn. But before it comes out, I want to explain it with a preface. I don’t want any details skewed before I show you the garden.

What Actually Happened?

I was in middle school. I met a boy, and we had a brief exchange. I revealed my feelings to him, and he reciprocated those feelings, and we broke up a month later. We would proceed to re-unite, one of those on-again-off-again couples that everyone hated. I dated other people in that time, and I’m not proud of how I treated those people.

I treated them like they were a means to an end. In the interim of the boy, I “settled” for a boy I was friends with. I “settled” for a girl who I loved very much but who was not a good choice for me (I stayed for one year and then, with a heavy heart, ended things badly.). I “settled” for my friends, my family, and myself.

Oh, I hated myself. The boy I loved was narcissistic, and if you aren’t familiar with the term, here’s the sum of it: he needed me to constantly admire him, and he lacked empathy for others. Not only that, but he was depressed too, from too many horrible life experiences to count. I don’t hate him for any of this: in fact, at the end of the book, you can read my final feelings on the subject.

Anyhow, I constantly gave all my energy to him, and he still didn’t like himself, and he made me feel like his emotions were my fault. The guilt, the sadness… it was all because of me. I often complained to friends that I felt I wasn’t enough for anyone — a feeling that, had I not been cautious, might have stayed forever — and they often told me it wasn’t my fault. Because it wasn’t.

I forgave him too much. He bullied me into things, made me feel bad, made me feel bad for making him feel bad… It was a vicious cycle that I could not undo. How did it end? Well, not great. And that, again, is something you’ll understand in the book. But it hurt.

Why Are You Writing This?

 I suppose that this post is an apology. The book is, too, in a way, although I’d like it to remain as simply closure.

This post is an apology to my loved ones: I’m sorry I didn’t listen to you when you cautioned me to stay away. Thank you for loving me anyway.

This post is an apology to the garden boy: I’m sorry you never felt okay with yourself. Thank you for the years we spent trying, and I hope you come to the conclusion that you matter. And nobody has to remind you.

This post is an apology to myself: I’m sorry that you gave every drop of yourself to a person who could not do the same. Thank you for getting back up and loving the parts of you that failed. I’m proud of you for overcoming.

Now. This post is also a message to those who have experienced, are experiencing, or will experience emotional abuse. I would not wish it upon my own worst enemy, but if it happens to you, here is what you must remember:

  1. Your happiness matters first.
  2. You don’t deserve it.
  3. It is real, and you should tell someone.
  4. It can stop.
  5. You are loved.

The garden boy may be full of sad, ruminating stories, but it’s also a dose of hope to those who need it. It’s something to lift the spirits and remind people of the beauty of life, love, and the pursuit of happiness. I hope that it reaches the heart of someone who needs it, and maybe, they will get it just in time.

Ellynn, signing off.

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