I Know Stress


You know stress?


That panic that grips your chest and rips you apart in the middle of the night?

Because thinking about the future incites this feeling of needing to explode because you're not ready.

I’m not ready in the least.

I need to get a job

But I know how lazy I am so what if I lose it?

I know how bad I am with words

And I can’t interject an opinion or observation into a conversation without fucking it up

I need to pay for school but I can't find anything relevant from my high school days to fill out the scholarship forms.

And mom and dad can't house me forever.

It's so cliché to say

But life was so much simpler as a child.

No worries but getting in trouble for a fib

No stress about jobs and taxes and school

No pressure to do well when it's your first time and you're not even sure how to go about it.

Reading was an escape that can’t last as long as it used to since I’ve got responsibilities now.

See I've gotta write a poem

But I can't remember my high school GPA worth a damn

And these scholarships can't fill themselves out.

I can get the letters of recommendation but my family just switched churches and honestly

I'm terrified to drive

I'm bad at it

I still don't have my license because I'm afraid to practice

I panic

Yet I have to learn because I can't spend my life just taking the bus everywhere because the bus doesn't go everywhere I need to go and I can't walk uphill for long

Because I have asthma and a slew of disorders like Tourette’s,


Which reminds me

What am I going to do about my medicine?

And going to the doctor?

Keeping appointments?

What am I going to do?

I can feel the panic again

Right now while I write this

Because thinking about it is too much

And I'm using words over and over and too often and that's a problem.

So the panic grows

And it's a pressure,

And now I know why they call it carrying the world on your shoulders

It's like a weight hanging around my neck and pushing down on my chest

The anxiety is a sandbag tied to my soul

And somehow writing lets it all out and helps to contain it because God forbid

I'm sorry,

Heaven forbid

That I speak my mind

Or let my emotions show through completely

Because there's always someone who's had it worse

Someone who's going through something that overshadows this problem

Because the intensity of a problem someone else has gone through in the past makes my issue entirely irrelevant

And I should be ashamed for even bringing it up

I should be embarrassed for bothering you with it

For burdening you with my all-consuming panic

And I make too many excuses.

But I'm angry as well

And I can't be openly irritated with people because everyone is so goddamned sensitive

And if you hurt someone's feelings you're an awful person

So I present myself as calm

I paint myself as a terrible person in my head to make myself feel better

Pretend I'm sadistic


A vengeful entity with the power to do something

To change the world around me

To live in a universe where I can fight monsters and be a hero

A blood-soaked savior

But still be the pretty princess

But I know I can't

And the pressure keeps building

Bottle it up

But the pressure grows and expands inside me and it almost hurts to keep it in but I can't say a word because it's not my place

So I quietly explode

Until I crumble

And try to cry it all away because someone once told me that tears cleanse the soul

And the implosion is silent

But it's there

And I glance at the red numbers on the clock with the little dot that says it's AM now and sigh

Because I'm an insomniac

It’s the middle of the night

And it's only been five minutes since I started thinking.

So I start again

There's nothing more I can do.

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