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Skin on steel or skin exposed?

Raw
In our younger more blissful youth, we are able to simply act, think, in ways that come naturally

Not react in ways that best suit, but in ways that come without resistance

Yet as we age, we find that we are exposed- vulnerable to the scorn and disapproval of others and this profoundly affects us

In consequence we put on the armor; often in my own experience, forged and shaped by intellect

So that we use a sharp tongue, clever words, often borrowed from more experienced warriors

To attack from a defensive position

So that now, even among friends, family, we are not vulnerable

We remain guarded for as many reasons as there are suits of armor- to impress, to elicit those feelings from others we wish them to feel, to show how successful we have been without them, for we do not need them, do we?

Independence! Our inherent ability! What we have made for ourselves from those skills passed down to us!

For who can we trust but ourselves in the end?

So we steep into self-indulgence, believing that only a select few can be trusted yet we remain skeptical even still

Always watching, cautious, looking for an excuse to ostracize or to scorn- for the armor is unfixed and indestructible

And can only be taken off by the consent of the wearer

Which is what we intend, of course, to never do



Until the discovery of that one other person

That one other person, whose armor is crafted in a way so similar we cannot help but be drawn-

For the self-indulgence has led on a path of narcissism; making it all the more surprising that we should find another, any other, who is even in the slightest similar to us

And of course a mere glance is not enough, so we test the armor

We play games, ask questions, we poke and we prod,

We manipulate the game, we analyze the results, we evaluate the conclusions

Meticulously scrupulous and systematic, both critical and emotional

So that the line of inquiry initially intended to determine compatibility

In itself pulls us fortuitously more near

We then see, yes… disconcertingly similar

Curious, we begin to take off the armor to see if the layers under are also the same

Until we find ourselves exposed and vulnerable

And they find that they too are exposed and vulnerable

And both start to feel skin without steel

Sensitive at first, it is always this way

Recalling a more nostalgic time, that vulnerability of youth

But also prompting a choice for the present: skin on steel, or skin exposed

And if we chose that more difficult choice, we do so gladly

But only with that other person whose armor is so similar

And whose skin feels just as raw




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