Perceptions, like opinions,
are often set in stone.
Established like law of the mind
they are easy to create and laced with fallacy.
Even the widest gaze cannot see everything.
Through each strangers eye
a new “you” is manifested.
Thousands of “you” running through their minds,
but none of them are… you.
You are the master of your creation.
Based on your reality
you must adapt to cope with life.
For some the burden is less than others.
The spectrum of content and discontent
lay within the realm of perception,
and the inevitable unknown of external factors.
I once had a perception of self
too highly influenced by those around me.
Whose perceptions I foolishly held on to as truth,
for lack of a better understanding.
I self-destructed into everything
they wanted me to be.
Disingenuous and jaded
I shattered from the lie.
There is an unmistakable familiarity
with rock bottom
that I have grown to welcome as home.
The fall down is vigorous,
hitting the ground hard enough
to knock every molecule of air
out of your lungs.
You lay there breathless hoping that
perhaps this is the crescendo.
Once you decide to breathe again
you can rise up.
From the outside I am not a strong person,
about as average as they come.
I have an inexorable burden
that you cannot see.
Yet another perception
only I can perceive.
What I must do to appear normal
is utterly exhaustive.
Compile daily responsibilities of a “normal” person;
I have to sprint to compete with those walking.
In the shadows I can show the pain
but in the light I must remain in character;
an actor on a stage.
The endless mind acrobatics
twisting and pulling myself to fit this mold.
A mold I was never made for,
so it hurts to obey.
As much as it hurts, I remain silent
about the realities of it all.
Whilst I adapt to my environment,
you call me weak.
As I pretend I am not in pain,
You note I am behind.
I pour my energy into your sorrows
You consume, endlessly.
If I ask for this treatment in return
You point to my condition,
Note your perception of unsuccessful,
based on a reality
My reality is one only I can see
however, that doesn’t change the impact
of the failure nomenclature.
Comparing me to you or any other
encumbers my progress.
Your lack of understanding
is not my duty to teach you.
My façade is not for entertainment
it is for survival.
I wrote this reflecting on a toxic friendship and a toxic past. I have a nervous system condition (fibromyalgia) that is often dismissed as being over dramatic, attention seeking, etc. When the reality of the situation is simply that I'm in a lot of pain, and I am doing my best to not lay my burdens on others. If I were honest about how I felt people would stop asking. This poem is really just a reflection on many things - most importantly. Those whom are close to me not recognizing the struggle because, I suppose, I am too good of a performer. I spend, or have spent previously in life, a lot of energy and time trying to help those I care for. Recently I have noted that many do not do this in return for me, and if they do it's rarely comparable. Given that my energy is barely existent, to invest in a relationship with no return is detrimental to me, and at this point in life no longer an option. This poem is me venting about over a decade of struggle to cope with this condition, me venting about how I feel that no matter how hard I push myself, for some people it will never be good enough. So perhaps this is just me trying to find peace with that.