The Fall Before the Flight

You fall each time before you fly

and there’s nothing pretty about it

It’s not a caterpillar

It’s not a butterfly

This isn’t poetry

No fairy tales here to tell

This is real life

This is my fall

Before the flight

I stopped everything

Disconnected from anything

Lost the ability to care

I was last on my list

Refused treatment

along with medication

Ignored the red flags

Because I can handle anything, right?

Rubbed away whatever was crawling

under my skin

Plugged my ears to the voices

that kept telling me

to run into the traffic

Shrugged away the paranoia

that everyone anywhere

was staring

Made light of the fact

that I stayed locked up tight

in my own dark

behind closed doors

Patted myself on the back

for losing weight

without calling it by its name

Scrubbed my skin raw

from the disgust rolling around

Brushed away the twitches

of nervousness

like I was just that awkward

Blamed the dizziness

on clumsiness

Layered myself

to protect the bones from showing

Perfected moving food around

the plate so it looked eaten

before I threw it all in the trash

Hushed the obsessive compulsive ways

of my mind

Pretended to sleep

when I hadn’t for days

Walking the treadmill

like the sweat would save me

from the padding

Thoughts of razor sharp

making it better

Falling in love with strangers

made me feel normal

until they didn’t want me anymore

Perfecting the hidden cry

Smiling on cue

Still functioning enough

to keep questions away

Grocery shopping was a nightmare

Conversations felt like

being buried alive

Rejection felt like murder

Having it all

still felt like nothing

Hiding all of this

was survival

Hiding all of this

IS Survival

Admitting it feels like failure

but maybe

somewhere in that failure

is my flight

Maybe this is a step

that will lead me to the place

where I can call myself

a caterpillar

and become the butterfly

But not today.

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry

(22/38)

17 of 3,2018

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