Why are we so gentle on those
   surrounding us
    and so hard on ourselves?

  Why express loathing, over and over,
      of the things we despise in ourselves
     the "weaknesses" or "flaws"
when we can see the beauty of them
   in those we care for?

  i tell my friends
    over and over
   they are lovely, wonderful, gorgeous,
   good enough
     for anyone or anything
  while fighting my own feeling
    that i must ask permission
   for everything -
    to talk,
   to exist,
    to take up space
      in others' lives
   to BE

i tell them
   "pay attention to your limits"
  while fighting my own
    until i force panic attacks,
    unraveling all the triggers
 because i want to be DONE.
   No more fragility
  no more feeling of being pathetic,
   ignored and left behind.

i tell them
  "you are never a burden,"
  "anything you want or need
    that i am capable of,
      just ask me"
"you don't have to isolate yourself"

while shutting myself down,
   feeling that if i reach out,
     if i expect attention from anyone
   a burden.

And while i know, logically,
   that i am not a burden,
    not pathetic or weak
      or a waste of space
   or resented for reaching out,
    burrowing into one's own head
   is so much harder
     than saying it to someone else.

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