Tonight, the hormonal emotion filled dam inside of me would've said 8.
Tonight they made fun of how quietly I counted when it was my turn in the game
Of the fact that counting from 1 to 10 never sounded so painful
And oh boy
If only they knew how it felt.
It felt like an 8.
It hurt a whole lot.
The thing about tears is, they demand to be noticed.
And if you don’t let them gain attention by falling, they shake your voice in hopes of creating earthquakes in listening ears.
And so a soft number 4 and an almost inaudible number 9 was really all I could manage.
Because being called shy or self-conscious just seems so much easier than emotional or needy.
So when they made fun of my counting I forced a smile.
And laughed with them.
It felt like an 8.
But Forced Smiles and Fake Laughs are beyond sleep deprived
And they’re actually begging for me to tuck them in and just let them sleep.
And as tired as they are,
I think sometimes they forget I’m the one plasters them there
I’m the one who has to strain the lid off the glue and wash the paint brushes every time
And my lid removing arms and glued hands are tired.
But as tired as
All I can do is stay up late and think
And do anything but sleep
But maybe I shouldn't be sleeping anyways
Maybe I should be practicing counting without my voice wavering.
Practicing telling the doctor I'm feeling nothing but zeroes.
Practicing hiding the way I feel so I don’t ruin anymore games.
Because I’m always the first one to cry at funerals and I was always the first one found in hide-and-seek.
Because I was never very good at hiding.
Because the number 8 I was feeling may as well have been tattooed on my face right next to that fake smile.
But maybe it’s my turn to be the first
The first to leave.
The first to say I don’t care.
The first to count from 1 to 10
And act like 2-9 don’t even phase me.
Like I feel nothing but zeroes
ALL THE TIME
But maybe when you tell the doctor the number you're feeling on the pain scale it also reflects how much of anything you're feeling.
Maybe enough empty "no hurt" zeroes stacked on top of each other would start to look a whole lot like eights.
But it’s late. And I’m done practicing counting.
I'm done nailing my heart to some scale in some doctor's office.
It’s late and the cooking channel is getting boring.
It’s late and I just finished tucking in Forced Smiles and Fake Laughs
And they told me they’re going to take the day off tomorrow.
I'm done feeling 8's.