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The Lies We Tell Ourselves

Locked away in a cage with bars made of blood and words, I can’t draw in a full breath nor exhale totally, chest restricted by an invisible band that twists tighter and tighter the more I fight against it.

Alone and strength waning, I stumble forward only to be rebuffed again by the facsimile of walls that press around me, words I don’t want to hear repeated over and over again until it becomes just a diseased murmur.

I can’t forget what’s inside, I can’t bare to think of what’s outside.

Half decided, half frozen, me and my self-made prison dance across one of the rocky paths I happened on by chance.

Trying to follow gets me more lost, but trying to forge a new way forward sends me further back than before.

The cage shrinks.

I can’t see my feet anymore, I can’t breathe any air that hasn’t gone stale.

Muscles cramped, dried sweat on my brow, I shuffle forward and trip. But I’m not down, I’m still walking. Still walking.

Another fall. Still walking.

Am I walking deeper into the hole or am I trying to crest the ridge? Am I walking along the equator, neither moving forward nor back? Is there even a hole or is it just the sinking feeling in my gut that makes me believe there is?

None of it matters.

Bars closer and closer still, heart pounding and stopping and restarting, repeat.

Repeat.

Repeat.

Repeat.

I’m not walking. I know that now. I’ve never walked in my life. This feeling inside, this feeling that twists and pulls and wrenches and tears—it’s not from walking. It’s from falling.

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