She shows herself in stages, or rather…in personalities.

The whole woman is too complex for even her to control. She keeps most of herself hidden; too dark, too crazy, too bold, too mean. Never good enough, but always, somehow…too  much.

She is the friend who texts, calls, celebrates birthdays, and anniversaries with true happiness for others. And hates her own birthday, never celebrates her anniversary, and tries to hold back tears when Valentine’s day rolls around. She calls when you are low and sends funny pics and texts to cheer you. But only needs a hug to be happy.

She is the mother, racing around the house and playing games with her children, but runs out of energy too fast, because her meds weaken her body. She cleans and cooks and teaches her children right from wrong, yet secretly wonders if any of it is getting through to them. She holds her fears in check so that her children can sleep safely. Her nightmares rock her, and cause her to feel as if she is going mad. Then she takes the pills; chemicals formulated to fight the monsters that linger in the shadows.

She is the daughter, never quite pretty enough, but alive just the same. Living with brothers, and hiding herself in shame, when the truth of her sex began to reveal her. Having nothing left to protect her from the way the world stared, she hid inside clothes too big and shapeless. She suffered through shame and humiliation, just so she didn’t stand out.  No attention- no degradation. Words can’t hurt, she thought, but they did cut like knives.

She is the sister to brothers who remember their crimes against her. No one to shield her from pain, no one to help her when she fell. She cheered them on, guarded them from the wrong women, but kept her mouth shut when it all crumbled. Never bragging to them, but cheering for them in their  endeavors. Befriending women who could not possibly know the things inside her mind. if they did, they’d run away screaming.

She is the lover who gives and takes only what is required. Never promising more than she could give, but hoping for more when she leaves him sweaty and exhausted. She wishes her life could have more of him, and more of the passion. But knows that if it did, the whole of her shield would fall to pieces. She loves, she plays, she fights, and she expects only his passion in return. She risks more than anyone knows, more than she’d ever tell.

She is the wife, playing at hope and love. Praying to no gods in particular, that her smile won’t crack. Attempting to stay young and interesting, so that his eye never wanders, but never feeling satisfied in the process. Giving him love, children, and a welcoming home. Showing her children how marriage should look, instead of what hers has become. Giving a stable foundation for her family, and a predictable life for her husband. And every day wishing she could just run away. She could never leave any of them, and so she stays, dreaming that one day she will escape. Knowing if it happened she’d carry the guilt for eternity, so that even her soul would never be free to live or love as it wishes.

She is she. She cries alone. Hides emotions. She holds all her many lives on vibrating, delicate strings. Balancing them all, hoping nothing falls, nothing breaks. If anything is lost, her demons will rise, to cover and protect her; even if that means destroying the ones she loves! All the demons hide until she needs protection. Each one born of a new pain, each one kept at bay by the fine, silken threads of her psyche. All of whom are lightly sleeping from her daily dose of chemical concoctions. Only making her pull the strings tighter, calling her demons closer, and holding her own mind inside its cage.


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