My boss pulled me to one side
to talk about some things
she had overheard.
She wanted me to know that
she was there if I needed to talk
work or otherwise.
She tells me that
I need to be careful
who I say things in front of
because she’s concerned
I might upset people
and she doesn’t want me to get in trouble.
I try and bite my tongue
but every morning when my colleagues ask
“how are you today, Less?”
my mouth fills with acid
and I want to claw my throat out
because I don’t know how to answer
while staying in my authority
to not tell anyone what’s going on.
I joke a lot about being bad luck,
about being cursed,
but truth be told
I call these unfortunate events
through my own stupidity.
I promised a friend
that I would stop self-harming,
and until now
I thought that was a rare promise
that I had managed to keep.
But self-harming doesn’t necessarily mean
the physical act of taking knife to skin;
it is endangering myself
for no good reason
other than to be a nuisance.
Every time I push myself outside what
my doctor has allowed me to do,
every time I let myself get dehydrated,
every time I beat myself up
with horrible words,
every time I push away people
who just want to help
I am breaking that promise.
I know I need to start taking my health
a little more seriously
so I’m adding this
to the promise I made.
“You came to me for help
but you don’t want to be helped
as it’s nice and cosy
in your bubble of self-hate.”
Did I come to you for help?
Or did I come to you for sympathy,
knowing you know exactly
what I am going through?
Did I want you to pop the bubble?
Or did I want you to add
a few extra pillows,
or a blanket or two
to my nest of self-pity?
I know you just want me
to be the best me possible,
and for a while,
I think I wanted that too.
But now, I am content
in my sadness,
content to just plod along
doing stupid and reckless things
all to get attention
because I’m so scared
of being forgotten.
You feel like
you’re wasting your breath
and with every cigarette I smoke,
I have to agree with you.
You can label me as
a failed pet project
and I’ll walk away
to let you recuperate your losses,
if that’s what you want.
Self-care has never been a strength of mine.
Self-love is even worse
(unless you count sleepless nights with hands under the covers and a name on my lips).
I have always tried to put everyone else first
because it is easier to deal with their problems
than face my own.
I never want to be an inconvenience,
a burden for someone else to bear
so I keep my thoughts to myself.
I would bend over backwards,
snap my spine in two
to make it easier for you to walk over me.
I would bleed myself dry for those I love –
rip out my hair and fingernails and teeth
one by one
just so I could give you everything
and thank you for the privilege
and apologise for dirtying your shoes in the process.
– for those who let me burn myself at both ends