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My anxiety claws its way up from my stomach to my chest,
makes a pit stop to sit heavily when I breathe,
when it senses I am tensing it rises further to my throat so that when I speak,
I know I am in its company;

My anxiety demands respect
it demands to be heard,
it demands to be felt,
it demands to be seen
so that when I take deep breaths and my eyes dart around
at every exit, every window, every glass of water
everyone will feel that something is wrong
leaving me no choice but to excuse myself
leave the room
and wallow in the comfort of my racing thoughts, listing the things I see, feel, smell, taste and praying
that the invitation to the mental health ball in my head
will expire soon
it is the way that I wake up in the middle of the night relentlessly searching for you in a single bed

the way I instinctively say we because I have no more desire to be the solo remnants of an ‘I’ that was too tired to stand up straight

the way I cannot help but smile in fragments of moments when I realise that you have become more valuable and yet more priceless than the next breath I breathe

that I’ve come to realise just how much I love you
Being away only for a day but it feels like longer
tell me

how do I become someone's home

when I am all sticks and stones and poor timing

clumsiness held together by suppressed trauma

held back by a dam

I am both the skilled architect and the drunk contractor of my body

my memory has neighbourhoods inside of it each designed to cater to every occasion

tell me

where do I find the house known as me for you

in what neighbourhood do I search

I can't remember the last time I have held onto something

as unfamiliar as being loved back

what I'm trying to say is that

I don't know if I can be a house

but I can be the warm light that somehow takes you through the darkest days

I can be the worn out blanket that holds its charm with a little help of softener

I can be the go-to mug, with spots from over-use and poor maintenance but volume big enough for a comfort drink

I don't know if I can be a house

but I will take my limbs, my bones, my skin

and one by one

become a safe space
I love you so much, sorry for being so complicated
god am i scared

but amidst the touches that linger longer and longer

and the butterflies in my stomach when i come up to kiss you

amidst the way that you say i love you and really mean it

and the way i rush back to you after every event like a butterfly to the light

i realise

that letting you love me

was the best decision i've ever made
the way you say my name has become my favourite melody

my voice saying yours becomes the chorus
I love you
it feels like it’s been forever
but then on days like this I’m reminded
of the inevitable colour of depression
of the way summer’s stormy clouds form over the mountain
in an all-too-familiar grey
of the way the leaves,
tired from the heaviness of hanging on to branches all summer
finally let go
isn’t there something so beautiful though
about how each dying leaf
tries to make the grey of fall
all the more colourful?
how falling isn’t the failure
but the most beautiful part of the cycle?

I trudge forward bearing the heavy weight of all that fall brings
and knowing the inevitable grip winter holds onto my emotions
stepping on each of the leaves
one
by
one
Julia by Pavlov’s dog has been a big mood recently in this weather change
we're two matches burning together slowly

all i feel is warmth and light around me
even if i'm one day closer to dying
and it's beautiful
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