Head First Hoping

The sadness sneaks up on me often enough,

I should expect it by now, but I never do.

I never do. I’m the last to know. The deer

in the headlights, frozen in this moment,

I never know how the hell to escape this.

But I can tell you, Hell is hot. It doesn’t burn

less with each time it engulfs me. No.

You don’t become accustomed to the fire.

You never get comfortable with the sky dive

living on your insides, it’s head first hoping.

It’s a wish that maybe this time you’ll land

on your feet, maybe this time you’ll make it.

And I always end up saying, well next time

everything will be different, I’m sure of it.

I am learning slowly with a kick and a scream

that there’s not a next time. This is it.

I tell myself to snap out of it. Just stop it.

Just fucking be like everyone else.

Stop falling. Stop tripping. Stop failing

at every single thing you touch.

You’re not trying hard enough. No one is

going to do all of this for you, princess.

You’re not a little girl anymore.

You are grown. This is real life.

You’ve had plenty of time.

And that little pep talk I give myself

does absolutely nothing.

You know that deer in your headlights

isn’t going to move just because you ask.

The fire isn’t going to spare me the burn

of this sadness. It’s going to eat me alive

as long as I let it. I don’t know how

to stop letting it. I don’t know how to

tell my mind this fear is bullshit and I carry

this gasoline with me everywhere,

because I don’t know how not to fuel it.

So I do what I know. I do what I’ve always

known. As soon as I break away, I light

the match and sabotage that stupid

smile like it didn’t deserve to exist.

Sometimes I believe that.

But I don’t want to.

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry


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