Through the Cracks

When it feels unsafe to show myself
I sneak through in sudden slivers
cracks in the glass, window shards
tiny spotlight beams shining out
revealing the very worst parts of me

A charming flame behind a hearth
that cracks and pops quick embers
to be franticly stamped out on the rug
not fit for polite company or the presence
of people who turn away from the dancing heat

I don't know if I've ever seen someone else
who hides like I do, or maybe they're just better
at holding up their painted pleasing mask
no sudden tears out of seemingly no where
to surprise and confuse a perfect evening

Surely people must wonder at the moments
I lose the carefully crafted composure I've clutched
after days of endless, irritating effort with others
they must feel the sudden shift of energy in the room
when I shrivel inward, when I turn cold and quiet

Giving myself a few moments' respite from
the white-knuckled grip on my own struggling soul
a second to catch my breath and be real
retracting my artificial warmth from
an otherwise empty room

Occasionally I'll hear a half-hearted, "What's wrong?"
that is easily assuaged by a hollow, "Nothing, I'm fine."
a confirmation of being utterly unseen
happy to believe me and go back to pretending
as soon as I reapply the artificial smile

Unlike the rare few who know they've now seen
behind the uncanny valley facade of self
they don't let it go when I step back behind the screen
no longer satisfied with what they've realized is fake
brave enough to seek me

There aren't many people who care to uncover
the glimmer that steals between the cracks
most people easily accept the mask
I suit them better that way
I'm used to not being seen 

The Unedited Self

First loves, I've learned
can cut to the quick because
we haven't quiet learned yet
how to conceal our worst qualities

There is a certain magnetism in someone
who has seen our deepest flaws
but chooses to love us despite them
there is a humbling awe in such acceptance

Not to insinuate that later lovers
would not be as generous of heart
rather that the older we get
the less chance we give them

After adolescence we get so good
at hiding away all the parts of ourselves
that we aren't proud of
hidden under a heavy layer of secret shame

Only those who've always known me
have seen who I truly am unedited
before I crafted the silk screen of self
I've erected for protection

No opinion of love or hate
can touch me as it once did
there is a certain safety in isolation
but the soul withers without sunlight

Unconditional love is hard to come by
when you won't allow yourself to be known
maybe the world would surprise me
but I fear I'll never let myself find out


I realized that I prefer damaged people. People who have made mistakes. People who are still struggling. People who are like me. There is a bubble of tension that seems to burst when I am in the company of these people. I feel like I can breathe, like I don’t have to hide who I really am.

Around most people I feel like I am putting on a show. I play my character, repeat rehearsed lines, and smile wide. It’s not that I’m being completely fake. That character I play is made of parts of me. I just edit out all the parts I fear I’ll be judged for. Maybe everyone is doing this to an extent. But for me it feels like I spend the majority of my time in this character. It’s exhausting to be continuously moving these marionette strings.

When I find someone who I know has suffered or is currently suffering, I feel an immediate kinship with them. I gravitate towards these people. I feel comfortable around them. I feel like I can finally be myself without fear of judgement. I feel understood.

I wish I was able to feel this way all the time, with everyone I interact with. Maybe no one would look down on me or think critically of me if they knew who I am. But it’s that fear of not being understood that causes me to keep most people at an arm’s length. And while wearing this mask makes me feel more comfortable and safe, it also keeps me from truly connecting with the majority of the people in my life. It doesn’t really mean much if all the people that like you don’t really know you.