I Called Myself Prisoner

I still imagine myself chained to the wall of some dark place,
Wanting to scream myself sore.
I carry that image even in my calmest moments,
Knowing it always has the potential to surface.
It’s not an image I invented,
It’s something I impulsively conceived.
I’m trained to see everyone as a treat,
Even the most well-meaning person could uncover me,
Force me to feel things I’d forced down
And expose my shameful needs without warning.
I can’t afford to be a nearly six-foot male,
Dressed in all black, crying in front of others
For the sake of my own self-pity
And consistent self-neglect.
I can’t afford to open myself up
To anymore ridicule and scrutiny
Over factors I can’t explain, or even understand,
Even though I feel them potently.
There’s just something unbearably wretched
About having your own issues neglected
Or treated like a waste of time
Simply because you can’t express them convincingly.
And worse, being perceived as melodramatic,
Stubborn, over sensitive, or seeking attention
Or pitied in the wrong way, pitied from superficial superiority
As though you’re clearly missing the point.
I live with that image in my head,
Chained and shrieking in a cold, dark place,
And it isn’t just one thing, it’s a host of repressed issues,
All compounded into an overwhelming reason to stay down,
But it’s killing me,
It’s literally destroying my capacity to feel good.
I’m in a precarious state,
Feeling my way blindly out of the dark,
Allowing myself to be seen in short bursts
So I don’t feel so encased.
All the old fears follow me,
My doubts and trepidations,
My internalized images and insecurities
And my methods of undermining them.
Fuck being self-contained.
Fuck holding back for other’s sake,
Fuck feeling confident about other people’s problems
Like you’re above such things.
I’m in a precarious state,
In that, I feel like letting myself go regardless who’s in the way.
I’ve become adept at being distant,
At shrouding my turbulence so thoroughly
You wouldn’t even suspect
I was witholding anything significant.
I’m still actively withdrawn,
It’s a strength I’ve come to cherish,
And I don’t know I’ll ever open up
Enough to make up for what I’ve lost,
But I’ve had enough pretending,
And choking down emotion just to feel safe.
I’m still chained up somewhere dark,
But I’m past pretending it’s nothing.