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I Cannot Help It. I'm Sorry.
Practically every day of my life
I fantasize about just saying,
“Screw these judgmental people!”
And tearing apart
My unwanted costumed, the tag neatly labeled:
“Quiet, shy, lacking in emotion,”
And leaving this straight jacket behind
But I can’t. I truly, honest to any god who will listen, cannot.
I am so scared. Horrified. Terrified. Petrified.
Because I know from experience that
If I joke, no one will laugh.
Death is funnier than I am.
Hell, murder is, too.
If I speak, everyone will look at me. They’ll say,
“Holy s***, dude, that girl can TALK?!”
And then laugh, not so quietly,
Thinking themselves quite the wits.
If I throw in my opinion, no one will hear me.
Or, even worse, they’ll ignore me.
Maybe one kid will notice,
And he’ll stare at me, eyes dark with pity,
And I’ll cringe in response, then he’ll look away and forget me
And I’ll look away as my eyes give birth to mortified tears.
My brain simply cannot be right.
I’m not stupid.
So why can’t I think of a socially appropriate response?
I’m not asking for irresistible charm, just the basic human social skills I never acquired.
No, parents, I am not over exaggerating; I have never over exaggerated how much it pains me. I don’t like that I cry so easily. I hate that it’s the only thing people know me for. I’m sorry I’m so awkward. I’m sorry I embarrass you and that your families think I’m absolutely mental. I can’t help that no matter how many people you force me to talk to and no matter how well you can laugh and joke and be social with people, I cannot do it. I wish I could. I have tried. Good God, I’ve tried harder than you can imagine. It’s not something like learning to fix a tire or ride a bike. And if it was, I’d read every book on the subject and memorize all the steps and try it out with every person I ever look at. But I can’t. I know you’re disappointed; I’m sorry. But I cannot. Will I ever?
Why does my very presence create so much horrible awkwardness
That people look at me weird and step away and hope I disappear?
Oh, lovely, it seems I’ve masterfully turned this into a self-pity party, doesn’t it?
My sincerest apologies.
(Cue that infamous awkward laugh and hopeful staring at a spot seventeen feet away)
I’ll just, um…
Be over there, if you need me,
Just hiding in my own shadows,
Wishing for that bit of sunlight that I can see in everyone