I hear the doorbell ring and suddenly the panic takes me

I need to write.
I want to write.

But I’m balancing that need
That desire
Against my physical exhaustion
Against my minimal food intake today
Against the enormous effort that it takes
To remain outwardly calm
While the sounds from the next room
Fill me with
Irrational
Insistent
Immense

PANIC.

No, it’s not a “logical” connection.
No, I can’t explain why those sounds affect me as they do.
No, it’s not just me finding something to complain about.

I have worked over many years
Learned very carefully
Through practice
Mistakes
Refinement of technique
To appear relaxed
And pleasant
And friendly

Instead of screaming as loudly as my lungs allow
Smashing any solid object within reach
Against any other object in my swing
Stomping and smashing
Making noise and breaking things
All in a feeble and ever-failed attempt
To demonstrate to others —
But no, not a demonstration —
It’s an attempt to harm others
In a fashion that they can comprehend
To a degree equivalent
To the harm they inflict on me.

I have learned to be mute
I have learned to accept harm
I have learned to do nothing in retaliation
I have learned to turn inward and die

And I am praised for my “success” far too often
Told that I am “strong”
That I am “brave”
That I have “accomplished so much”

How is it
That so many seem to envy
This so-called “skill”
Of saying nothing
Doing nothing
Lying on the ground after being driven there again
And most of all for my friendly smile
And calm, even voice
As I am kicked again and again and again?

You value self-restraint
You value compliance
You value non-violence and avoiding confrontation
And I have learned these things you so value

But you never taught me when to stop holding back
You never taught me how to say, “Fuck no, and fuck you!”
You never taught me how to knock a motherfucker out when they come at me wrong
Or to do anything but whimper, turn, and run or better yet, stay and take it with a smile

So I have learned nothing of value at all

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