There’s something

in the back of my brain

that stops


from speaking,

from letting my heart

talk to the world.

Voices in my head

tell me not to speak,

not to let people

get too close.

The voices are like

a constant ringing

in the back of my head

that tell me

I’m not good enough,

I’m too strange

and too ugly,

too fat

to go out in the real world.

Mirrors seem too


reflections too hard

to look at

because of those


that say

“I can’t.”

Friends try to reassure me

that I am pretty,



They try to pull

my mask off,

but my mask

is molded to my face,

is a part

of my face.

They try to give me


that break shells

to reveal butterflies,

but I’m afraid.

I’m afraid that

I can’t be a butterfly,

that I’ll be stuck

in my chrysalis


I’ll never emerge

from the encasing that I


I’ll never emerge

as a


The shell is too



tells me that soon,

I’ll emerge from

the chrysalis

of self-conscious


before I know it.

But it’s so hard,

so difficult to

ignore the pushes

and pulls

of society,

the pressure

to have a tiny waist

and a pretty face.

I don’t have either.

I have mask

and I feel the need

to work out

and go on a diet,

but it never works

for me.

I see all these people

on social media

that are confident

and better than me,

and I want to be like them.

But the voices

inside my head

want me to be afraid.

Every day,

they weave the mask

that’s on my face

and shape

the way I look at things

through my eyes.


tell me to follow


when I yearn

to follow my heart.

My brain,

my vision,

my thoughts

are tainted from years

of believing

I’m useless.

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