Eyes wide open I absorb it all,
The phase of my life when I was foolish,
Thought I was playing the game safe,
Laughed at how clueless they all seemed,
A time when I failed my dignity, scarred my pride and dropped inches from the pedistal I’d put myself on,
The fall that woke me from the slumber of arrogance.
Realisation seeping into my pores I stare at the phase when confusion was disguised as wisdom,
The sly girl,
Then I knew when to kick the hornets nest,
But I was not wise, I scattered things most dear to me, tore apart trinkets that would be most treasured antiques,
Then I was running,
My show full of clowns and smoky screens that are now only blurred images,
I lied to myself and ran too far into wild and fell too hard on my face when I stumbled.
Regret, guilt and a weak course of triumph digging their claws into my flesh,
drawing blood I never felt obligated to share, the phase when it all became too much looks back at me,
I roared like a lion wanting to mark its territory,
I bared my teeth like a wounded canine whom despite it’s quacking muscles begging for a rest and regroup fought on,
I was not ready to lick my wounds and show I could tuck my tail,
I threw my fists, my words and fought for naught,
Fights that should never have reached the ring,
But wanted to be seen, to be heard.
The guilt I never let wash over me now drowns my pride, tucks all the corners still wanting to stick out like sore thumbs and makes me grateful,
The loud voice I used as my weapon, to hush any words that would have pummeled my skin, has gone down,
Those loud, painful, regrettable words should never be spoken again,
There should be no missiles hurled from my tongue so I can be heard.
In this phase, I believed was a sure soldier,
One made from the pain,
With a hardened exterior from taking the negative words and let them in,
I lied to myself when I kept chanting ‘don’t worry, you’re killing them with your smile,’
I don’t remember smiling,
I remember shooting daggers with my eyes,
Grinding my teeth too hard,
Nostrils flaring too wide,
I was eating my words,
I was deluding myself into thinking, you begin your twenties by not talking back,
Deluding myself that in my twenties I’d be the sounding board and watched as my fighting spirit died every passing day,
Silence and cussing on the inside won’t help, because in your twenties you just don’t repeat the mistakes, you just need to stop waving your hands like a mad person and instead become the sibling the younger ones can rely on.
Now as I stare down the barrel of the end of my early twenties and feel time rush towards twenty five at a gallop,
I stand with my back arched, hands thrown up and head thrown back, as all the wise rays of those phases I’ve encountered mould me into a grown up and feel like the centre of the prism.
I say to myself,
Smile until your cheeks hurt,
Laugh just like you always did,
But this time, you need to remember to cry,
Every time you feel so crushed and your lip wobbles and your eyes sting with unshed tears,
I say open up and let them fall,
You’ve held back on that emotion from ever showing since you were a child but no more,
You need to grow from the tears you shed,
Its not a fall from your high pedistal of pride,
No one will tell you you’re weak for crying,
No I say, its feeling, being grown up and realising strength comes with acknowledging failures,
From now on, sob when your chest is heavy and rid yourself of the temporary emotional burdens,
You saw too much from a young age and held it all in,
So smile, laugh and cry when you feel so.
In the next phase, I should be better,
I should have a brimming pot of moments that glow and outshine the dull,
This time I’m an open book with no shadows lurking, but a gaping canyon that feels to the core.