Patient Explanations #8

I avoid eye contact and hunch my spine 
Repeating over-rehearsed lines
Key phrases and carefully chosen replies

Each one tested in thousands of imagined conversations
Even my vulnerability is poll tested for adaptation
Always outside my body in conversation

I’m not sure my mask is detachable
A back up plan for the inescapable
Always apologize and be changeable

Words crafted to protect me
Never sure how I feel about anything
Reading body language and projecting

My mind whispers lies of hatred
I relive each wrong word I said
Replaying the awkward pause,
The joke that didn’t land,
The words that didn’t defend me,
Over sharing or actually misread
Each expression that wasn’t friendly
Was it me?

Losing sleep as I rehearse again and again
Drill it until I get it right to keep friends
Fighting the future failures
Medication the sleep savior

I just wish I could talk without worry
Not cutting off conversation early
Desperately searching for signs of affirmation
“They like me” hoping for confirmation
It’s a conspiracy I’ll never believe
Buspar and a drink to relax and be myself
Panic tomorrow from the truth I let out
Write a rehearsed explanation
For the next visitation
Dreaming of conversation without careful practice
Connection without fear of rejection
Just one moment as myself without protection
A conversation with two people instead of three
You and me without my whispering anxiety

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