Broken In

I’m trying to meet you where you are but I keep missing the mark. I watch your eyes watching my mouth and I think it’s working. I think I’m getting better but it’s hard to tell if I can be trusted to evaluate such a fragile thing.

You see, I live so much inside my head that I get frantic when I try to step outside of the warm cocoon of my own mind. Unpredictable as my mind may be, I can always find somewhere to hide as long as I stay in here alone.

It’s the people who try to penetrate too deep too soon that I don’t trust. There’s the guy up the street who shoves his thoughts and opinions  on me without warning or regard for the fact that I keep walking faster and don’t make eye contact. He just lights up a fresh cigarette and keeps up with my long strides, although with his short idiotic legs and surely smoke-strained heart I’m not even sure how he does it.

This kind of violation has been happening to me all my life. Though it isn’t the worst kind I assure you, it’s still unnerving in the way it reminds me like a sudden jab in the ribs that I am not safe in the world because at any moment something not my own can be jammed into me like a splintered stick in the spokes of the spinning wheel of my one chance at a life less intimidating.

I don’t imagine normal people think this way. I suppose they would just tell the creeps to back the fuck off in no uncertain terms but there is some kind of defect in me. When I’m cornered, something inside shuts off and shuts down.

I’m skittish about feeling too good or too bad in the presence of others. I can’t tell where the boundaries between us are so when someone reaches toward me, I feel like I am falling away. It might be fear but knowing the feeling of fear would mean knowing the feeling of no fear, and somehow being able to sense the difference.

I’m not sure I have ever known a break in the fear.

 

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Photo by Karina Tess

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