Stiff rigidity and tempered steel.
To bend this habit is like breaking bone.
But in the days following my stark refusal to release my pride…
It’s sharp regret.
I find myself unable to say what I think is expected.
It’s like dirt in the throat. Sand in the mouth. Broken glass along the tongue.
Wishing I had learned differently.
Grown up in a house of strong affection and open emotions.
But such is not my world. I wish it were.
It’s entirely a weakness, pride is. I know this. I know this with every fiber of my being.
And yet I still cannot break the habit.
The masks, the boxes, the robotic responses.
Co-dependency crippled me all those years ago. I carry a scar so long, so deep that I can feel the rippling skin tightening with thought. So calloused yet so paper thin.
Don’t show weakness. Don’t show need. Don’t show want.
Don’t break character. For the love of god, do not cry.
Do not ask for help. Do not show desire. Do not be vulnerable.
Just let him go. Just like you let them all go.
Pride is a prickly bedmate. A cold companion.
But I know no other better.
That fear bubbles up and locks my tongue so neatly when I think to be otherwise. And the moments happen more and more. I think of every bright shinning piece of the past years.
When he’d go out of his way to check on me when I had been my quiet, reclusive self.
When he knew what joke to make to get me to smile.
The way the heat rushed through me so easily when he brushed his fingers over me.
The natural way my head tilted against him when I sit close.
The way he knows to stroke my hair when I’m feeling nervous.
The way he gets just the right level of teasing and sarcasm to make me smile.
The way he kisses the top of my head as an afterthought of affection.
The way he knows I carry all my tension in my neck and shoulders.
The way he recognizes the look of self-loathing in my eyes and knows the right words to make me actually feel solidly beautiful..
I miss that syrupy thick feeling while lying on the cool sheets and allowing his fingers to dance over me.
But that fear, that victim mindset leaps to attention.
It hisses-snarls-screams at me…
“Remember what happened last time.”
The one time I tried handing my heart over. I tried full, unconditional trust.
Unconditional trust is overrated.
Unconditional trust is what turned me into the victim.
Conditions are safe.