It should be so easy.
I know all the gear-yourself-up
phrases, that at the right time
can make one feel brave and
alive. Ready to face the world,
head-on, taking back all that
we should have never lost.
Feel the fear and do it anyway -
that sort of malarkey.

But sometimes I wonder:
Did I ever have it at all?

I remember nerves at nursery,
not participating in last sports day
race, because mum refused to
jog along with me, holding my hand.
I remember the tears and shrieks,
the no-no-no of being dragged down
a corridor to unfamiliar class, on first days.

My life is one disaster of no self-esteem
after another. Each activity a struggle
against my own sinking helplessness.

Cliched as it is, I want to live -
not just be alive.
And, to be honest, it doesn't really feel
like just being alive - that to me signifies
numb apathy, not caring one way or another.

My awkwardness clings to me always.
The stilted speeches, the slamming out
sobbing, sobbing, sobbing.

So many things I have missed or hated
that secretly I long for and would have loved
if I could just find peace within myself.

Conscious, but not wilful:
Self-inflicted agony.

And it's ridiculous -
If I could just behave normally
there'd be less attention directed at me
than that which I'm fearing to start.
No "oh there goes that crazy girl crying
again".

So now I'm caught in a rip-tide of regret.
The friends I haven't made, parties I've missed,
classes I've failed, the people I haven't kissed.

(And I haven't kissed anyone.)

Nineteen and jobless,
qualifications almost worthless
and Nineteen pounds sixty-five
to call my own -
But I can only withdraw ten.