look, mommy! i’m doing it. just like you showed me. and yeah, maybe i stayed up all night. but i wrote a story, and people liked it, and that’s all that matters, right?
because i gritted my teeth. and i did it. worked all week long, without a single day off. and isn’t that what you wanted?
a knight in shining armour. a china doll. a soft peach tea…
because i hollowed out my rotting chest, and stuffed it full of feathers. lay perfectly still, and let the world rest its head on this broken body–
mommy! you’re not looking at me…
I doubt this comes as a surprise, but I am a big ol’ people pleaser. I always have been.
Whenever I make something–a podcast episode, a poem, a story chapter, so much as a weird doodle in my math notes, I immediately start to wonder what other people will think of it. You know the drill, right?
I am so desperate to be seen, and loved, and validated–because god knows I couldn’t do it to myself. (And at the same time absolutely paralyzed by the thought of being known, but you know.)
When I was young, and bored on long car rides, or never-ending school days, I used to just spend hours narrating my life in third person. Whenever something bad happened, I could always just… pretend it away. Imagine that this was all just another story, and that I just had to hold on a little bit longer before the author would fix everything. Or maybe I was the author. Or maybe I was the hero, just getting started on my journey to greatness. I spent a lot of my childhood thinking about that.
Reminding myself that it didn’t matter, how fucked up my life was. Because soon, Gandalf or Dumbldore was going to swoop down from the clouds, and turn me into something better. And them my parents would love me. Then my friends would worship me. Fill up all the holes in my heart with mindless adoration.
As someone who grew up classified as some form of “gifted” I learned, however unintentionally, that my worth as a person hinged upon me being able to outshine my peers. Often, I thought of myself like an animal on display at the zoo, or a circus freak—a little strange, but still fun to watch, as long as I could keep a good performance going. And sometimes I feel like I’ve lived most of my life with that mentality. As though my only real purpose is to be amusing, or remarkable, or something along those lines—to my family, to my friends, to my teachers, to some stranger on the street. And if I let down the act for so much as a second, no one will be interested in me.
But sometimes, that just gets… lonely. And exhausting. You know?
Anyhow. I don’t know what the point of all that was, but I hope you liked my poem, and that is spoke to you. Somehow.
Lots of love,