Avoidance behaviours

My narrative is a series of shoulds and should nots
I shouldn’t be afraid of the things I fear
And I should be more ballsy, more ebullient
I shouldn’t need help
I should be able to untangle all of this myself
A very intricate and unforgiving
Cats cradle of “threat”
The brain is an unkind, messy, gelatinous lump
That’s ingeniously cruel
Like Hannibal Lecter.
I take myself off to parks
Remove myself from these four walls
Sip lattes I can’t afford whilst mulling over these shoulds and should nots.
At least when working, theres no space to think
No need to dwell and torture and yell
At your insides as though they were naughty children
With their Ribena-stained lips and
Mud-caked fingers.
When the day is bulging and fully occupied
Fronted by a “no vacancies” sign
There’s little time for grumbling
Everything’s poised on the edge of eruption
Full and tiring
But when the days off clump together
Like hairs in a drain
The mind starts to melt
Fog throws itself over everything
Like an invisibility cloak
Enveloping, suffocating
Darkness inflates like a balloon
It covers all the corners and climbs into crevices
It fills its boots with the pure air
And stomps away with it
There’s gorgeousness in everything
But today I am blind to it
Blind to everything except myself.

The expectations we place on ourselves

Why don’t you loosen the reins

A gentle tug to prompt

Purpley, sunburnt

Sooty shackles to the ground.

Why don’t you lower the bar

Before it slices your head clean off

Making you wander

Like some mad headless chicken.

Why don’t you point the gun down

So your temples can stop

Throbbing

And your glands

Can start acting up.

Why don’t you let your smile fade

Take it off like boots after a hard

Day’s grind

Slip sweaty socks off

And leave them on the landing

Feel your gums breath again

Feel your teeth

Whisper thank you.

Sensible bodies

You used to make me feel like I couldn’t dress myself

Like every piece of clothing lurking in my wardrobe

Wasn’t fit for purpose

You swatted away every pairing I attempted

Frustration etched across your face, thick like butter

And marinating your tone

‘Of course that doesn’t go with that’

‘Gosh you’re useless’

‘Let me do it for you’

Choice escaped me, driving off

In a sedan car, roof open, wind tugging at carefree hair

Because no matter what I chose, you would berate me

Belittle me

Bemuse me

And suggest your idea was better

You made me feel like I couldn’t dress myself

Like every attempt I made was childlike

Like everything I picked when we went shopping

Was five years my junior

The result is a current questioning of everything I buy

From the t shirts to the shoes

To the dresses to the playsuits

I feel incapable of dressing myself

And knowing what looks good

Even when parcels from far-flung places arrive at the door

And I unwrap exasperated, excited

There’s something I’ve ordered that you dislike

And you’ll tell me, naturally

Why keep quiet after all these years

Why stop licking the nettle

Why stop hammering at my self-esteem

I can deal with the bile, the upchuck, the name-calling

Better than I used to

But it still stings like chlorine

And lingers like burnt toast

Gurgling in the pit of my stomach

Until the next parcel arrives.