Where has my sadness gone? What do I feel? What is in me? Why only anger? Why only laughter? What will a tear, a sob, do to me? Why do I bury everything and try for perfection, steadfastness, to be a glue that holds things together, some pillar of lifeless predictability?
Of course I will fail. It’s not up to me. I am not the glue. I am not the pillar. But it’s not my turn I tell myself, it’s not my turn to feel, to fall back and be caught (there’s no one back there is the whisper). So I step back to nothing. Steady, predictable nothing. There it is, a shadow. Flashing. That which I’ve buried.
Those things I feel I can’t be sad about. Those things I can’t cry about. Seeing my mom in a hospital bed, not knowing if she’ll be alive in a month or a week. My dad crying in the garage, asking me; a pimple face high school kid, what he should do; what could he do, if mom died? Of my “friends” throwing rocks at me, as I fled back to the cabin at a damn school camping trip. Moving to a city hundreds of miles from what I knew to where I knew no one — a school where I was shoved into the locker, teased during gym class. Dreading to wake in the morning. Being alone. Hating myself. Dreading waking up to face everyday.
What I forgot. What I will fail. Who will turn on me that day. Reject me. Shove me. Laugh at me. Dad at work, at work, at work, at work, at work. My sister not even trying or studying and being valedictorian, me struggling to remember a test, or homework, to remember anything.
Just locking myself in my room, with magazines and drawing and music and guilt and longing for someone to call and say I was something they thought about (if you fall back no one will catch you). Of working at a job where I was used and exposed and thrown aside. Second rate. Unimportant. Trash. (Everyone laughs at me, I am a fraud).
Stupid things I say, stupid things I do; I should have just taken a deep breath, let the tingle of rage just pass through, and now it’s broken. I smashed it. Broken from my brokenness. And I’m no better off having done it. And the decades of digging it deeper to black have brought me here, feeling tired. Lifeless. Angry. Glaring at God, thinking
He will teach me a lesson if I loosen my grip by letting me fall apart, leaving me to be alone (that’s what I deserve I hear). I take myself away, replaced with a cardboard cut out — it’s stable, there in image, and won’t fuck anything up. I’m holding a light, however dim. Stepping back in line. Letting the glue dry up. But I’m wary. I’m sacred. I’m suspicious.
… if I fall please catch me.