The first time my ex-wife said
“I can’t handle you when you’re like this”

My reflex response was
“Forgive me, I will try to be better”

What I should have said was:

Forgive me, the noise in my head is a nonsensical flow from a tap that I’ve lost the handle to, of words and irrational thoughts for which I have no clue of the source.

Sometimes my senses are so sharp I can feel the sting of your rejection long before you enter the room in a thong. You see darling, I have deluded myself into believing this is a super-power: being able to feel every single one of my pores contract, sending hair on-end spewing out sweat when panic comes to a sharp point, as the involuntary tone of my voice barrels into a one sided shouting match over the deafening sound of my chest, whilst giving directions on a subway platform, or ordering a coffee…is a superpower, or a punch line at a bar.

Forgive me, my smile is sometimes a lie; I grit my teeth to powder behind these lips as a reflex action, so that I protect you from what you do not understand.  I crush my hands into fists to remind me I am real, I have not yet disappeared.  I hold my body up against spine crushing gravity on days when all I wish for are blankets, or the space underneath our bed.

Forgive me, I have deluded myself; absolute silence, unexplainable absence of emotions for days at a time, are not a product of enlightenment, neither is sitting on a stool waiting for any kind of spark to prevail over the void, wishing yesterday’s noise would come back even if uncontrollable, even if emotions were impossibly unmanageable.

Forgive me, I should have walked away the first time you turned smiling and said “get over it”

Forgive me, for settling for the prom queen

Forgive me, I have accepted my shortcomings

Forgive me, for believing the lie was all I was

Forgive me, I must forgive myself

Forgive me, I must forgive myself

Forgive me, I must forgive myself

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