One step behind the other,
I keep my eyes ahead.
I'll keep myself together
If I watch where I have tread.
I'm sure I'm being hunted
By monsters in the night.
Not sure if I've been stunted,
Or if this is their true height.
But if the shadows wavered,
Or gave way to my stare,
I'd sing instead of quaver
And stand with shoulders square.
No time to sit and panic
Or just wait for the dawn.
Until I leave the manic,
I must keep trudging on.
Wait until I'm with you,
And then I might break down.
Take comfort when it's through,
When at last pain makes a sound.
Just save me a seat in the closet
I'm fighting my fears now:
Fear was the one to cause it,
But I will answer how.
I sing to voice the colors of my soul.
I write to bring the words I feel to life.
I rhyme to feel that I am in control,
And breathe to know that I am not a knife.
I dance to taste the wind blow in my hair.
I bend and sway to dodge these fiery darts.
I hide to keep my feelings unaware
That everything I reach for falls apart.
I bow to broken people like myself,
But when did prayer become a second guess?
I lie in bed and curse my mental health
And wish for broken bones instead of stress.
When all is said and done, I cry to feel,
And hurt myself to know that this is real.
I never knew why standing on a balcony was so unnerving—
Why driving across a bridge,
Or around a mountain with only a short railing,
Made me question reality and life itself.
Tucking me in that night before you went home,
When we talked for an hour about Agency and Free Will,
Before you finally kissed me and left me to think in the dark:
My eyes were open wide as I learned that feeling's name.
"It's like how I could scream, right now?" I asked
And you nodded, "But something keeps you from doing it."
"I don't want to wake up Mom," I laughed.
He smiled and said, "And it would hurt my ears if you did."
Then a conversation later, after you blew a kiss
You turned out the light, and I lay in the dark.
I could jump out my window right now, I thought.
There's nothing physically stopping me.
I am frozen from the inside out.
My breaths are not a choice.
Voices whisper answers to it all,
Answers to questions I didn't ask.
I try to close my eyes and close my ears,
But they push past my defenses.
And no one understands
Why I stand here alone
And cannot step forward
Without clutching his arm,
The one who helps me breathe,
Who wanted to understand it all.
I want to stand tall, and I will
When I learn to stand alone
And I am braver than the fear
Would have me believe I am.
I am small and my fears crowd all of my thoughts.
The monsters lean in on my hopes,
crushing them and my energy
as I fall to my knees
But at your call,
every cell in my body
stands itself up and marches forward
knowing I can do anything, if you need it.
I will be there for you, as you have always been here
If there's a word that you're holding back, say it.
If there's advice in your brain, let it out.
And if anything helps, then I'll take it;
But no man can assuage all my doubt.
I doubt that I'll ever quite make it:
I doubt that my dreams will come true.
I doubt night and day, but I fake it
In case they start doubting me too.
I don't think I can catch my breath now,
I doubt that this air will be clean;
Don't know if I'm close to my death now,
But alive? I just feel in between.
Come and steal away all of my guilt now
Make me sigh and admit I was wrong
For of all of the things my mind's built now
I distrusted self-doubt all along.