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.
They say the first love you know
comes from your mother.
The first memory I have of my mother
is being out shopping with her
when I was two and a half years old
and trying to tell her that I needed a wee.
She shouted at me in the middle of Argos,
told me to cross my legs
and not disturb her again.
I ran out of the shop in tears
and proceeded to piss myself
in the middle of the street.
My mother has never loved me.
She has resented me from before I was born
and this has only got worse with age.
At the age of five,
when I was being bullied by older boys,
she shouted at me for ruining my brand new coat –
when I had been pushed into a muddy puddle
and I spent the rest of that winter with just a cardigan.
At the age of 13,
when she found out I was bi,
she kicked me out.
At the age of 15,
when I weighed around six stone,
she called me fat and disgusting
and told me no one would ever love me.
At the age of 17,
I told her my boyfriend had hit me
and she told me I probably deserved it.
At the age of 20,
she walked out on me and my dad,
and told me his heart attack was my problem
because I had caused it.
At the age of 23,
I was diagnosed with cancer
and she has not been there for me
“You have a face only a mother could love –
but even I can’t manage that!”
is what she says while she’s looking at me.
Sometimes I wonder
if my mother had been a little kinder,
maybe I would be a little stronger,
have a little more self worth,
be less of an easy target for abuse.
I got my maths wrong
and now I am off my meds
which keep me level.
The disaster radio is back
and detailing the news reports of
every tragic event that might happen right now.
I can hear the broadcast of my death
while driving to work –
my car spontaneously erupts into flames
and there is no way anyone could survive.
I am walking through Tesco at lunchtime
and the person walking behind me
several metres back is going to stab me
and I can almost see the newspaper article
in the small print on the side of my sandwich box.
It’s so tiring and overwhelming that
I don’t want to leave the house most of the time,
but then I see the police tape up outside the front door
as they investigate the burglary gone wrong
that resulted in my manslaughter.
The person in I see in my reflection
doesn’t look like anyone I recognise.
They look tired,
like they are hanging on
by their fingertips
which are cracked and bleeding
like their lips
which have been anxiously chewed and picked at.
The dark circles under their eyes
might as well be permanent at this point –
when was the last time they had a good night’s sleep?
Their hands seem to shake constantly
and their eyes are watering
and they look like they are about
to completely shatter at any moment.
Their hair, once the colour of fire
is turning to ashes by the second,
and I am watching them burn out in front of me.
I don’t know what to do to make this better.
I don’t think I can do anything.
“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.
a blank sheet of paper
sits before me.
it begs me to fill it
with words of love
and joy and life.
it pleads with me to fill it
with sadness and anxiety
and that spot of negativity
festering inside me.
but i have no words left.
the page stays blank
i stay empty
a storm cloud
hangs over me
and i don’t have
and i cannot
to find one