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on losing myself to myself

cw: paranoia, psychosis

there are things you can say, but to say them is to admit

something quite possibly inadmissible. an attempt:

 

i see eyes where there are no eyes, voyeurs where no

one is watching. i wrap my fear in soft language

 

so that i may pretend it can do no damage. the truth:

paranoia strains my hands, pulls at the stretch of my

 

skin until i have reached the breaking point. the truth:

i am my own biggest fear. i have touched what was not

 

to be touched. i have not said what i could not say.

i hide from the shaking within myself as well as without.

 

i am hiding even now. fear of the thought of capture—

or else the thought of containment. confinement? o,

 

these words are all the same. i have trapped myself in

-side myself and i am afraid of being let out. i am afraid

 

of being anywhere but here, in the cage of the mind. i

have been in other cages, both literal and not, and i must

 

tell you, they each had their charms. they all had their use.

it was not their fault— my fault?— the fault of anyone or

 

anything. the use has been outlived. the ideal then is to

move on. the plan to extricate myself from myself is one

 

i reverse so frequently. i bury myself in myself. i lose

myself to myself. i spin myself dizzy trying to reach

 

the center. of myself. of the truth. of whatever it is i must

be seeking. i see eyes where there are no eyes. i feel the

 

presence of no one most heavily. i cover the cameras with

cloth and i refuse to admit why. is there a need for an answer?

 

the question has yet to even be asked. and yet! here i am,

finding myself asking and evading my own strange tongue.

 

have you ever noticed that time does not move only forward?

have you ever lost yourself to the haze of the past? tell me,

 

does your mind offer you a lure to catch on? perhaps yours

is a different mechanism of entrapment. but do you know

what i’m attempting to say? there is no inciting action. you

can trace the veins of your past all the way back to their center

 

and never find the explanation you’re looking for. no, not

everything offers a reasoning. when you hide from the world

 

there is not always going to be justification. when you hide

from yourself, you are avoiding nothing. you are the only one

 

capable of whatever it is you’re trying to do. i am not speaking

to you, you must realize. in my world you do not exist. you are

 

eyes unseen, you are the sight that plagues me, you are the

admission that what i see and do not see are not here or not here.

 

if we cannot begin at the start, we must end at the end. the truth:

i am both seen and unseen. i am here and not here. i am and i am

 

not.

withdrawal from reality

the child’s mind grew up. saw the world

and ate it. felt life unfolding in the body,

and chose the coward’s way out.

 

fear is a damp, dark room. the body too big

to fit. a child’s place; a crawlspace. a set of

walls clawed into; a tower too big to climb.

 

mistakes were meant to be made. blame

was meant to be laid. the child’s mind

ate its fear and stones gathered in its belly.

 

comfort cradled the child’s mind, wrapped it

heavy and sang it to sleep. life ebbed on

and guilt spread out, and in the arms of comfort

 

the child wept. the mind grew up. the body followed

behind. the steps taken to learn how to live in this world

became obvious only in completion. they went unnoticed.

 

unappreciated. the walls built up and there

they were, on the other side of fear. or at least

somewhere further. the mind a delicate thing.

 

the motion of movement, an alluring sight.

rules unspoken scrolling across the peripheral.

they were taught how to move, how to speak,

 

how to be. their tongue refused to follow the

teaching. even their own. and so tied itself

into a knot. and then they went on.

 

skin wilts under touch without thought. lids curl

themselves closed when the mind overwhelms.

there are indents in a floor years away

 

where a body stood, incapable of moving.

the body grew away from that moment

but the mind remains. the mind pulls

 

itself back, the tongue shrivels to child-speak,

the body pulls itself so small it can be seen

as nothing. age ticks up, body bends back,

 

chest tightens around the knowledge of growth.

lungs expand empty expand empty the mind

fizzles itself out of thought. a wish for return.

 

time inevitable, tugging forward

the unwilling body

change inevitable, trailing time

silhouette of woman in front of white wa

BEE LB is an array of letters, bound to impulse; a writer creating delicate connections. they have called any number of places home; currently, a single yellow wall in Michigan. they have been published in Vulnerary Magazine and others.