I shall not speak a word for in doing so I may tip the balance of someone else’s day. From my low branch, I’m expected to see all, understand all, yet not speak a word of complaint, or suggestion.

Surrounded by people, in presences, and through airwaves, I’m provided with a list of expectations for behaviours, and appearances that I’m intended to keep.

Nothing, and I mean NOTHING that I do is ever considered right.

I’ve reached a stage in my life when certain matters should be of no importance, or impact to others, yet without me asking, I’m criticized, and judged for my decisions.

In the eyes of those who do not have any investment in my existence, I have too much, or too little of what they deem important.

In the eyes of those who do not participate in my well being, I do too much, or too little self-care.

In the eyes of those who do not walk in my shoes, I move too quickly, or too slowly in taking action towards my better life.

I’m judged relentlessly, and constantly put in my place by people who should for all intents and purposes be listening to ME telling them what to do.

I can’t though. I’m told that I don’t understand the demands on other people’s time, so back off from telling them to clean, or help around the house.

I’m told that I don’t know what it means to be tired, so don’t ask for help with something that benefits us all.

Every single thing I do for myself is judged. Apparently, everything I do is also wrong.

Who knew that I could simply close my eyes and sleep? I wasn’t aware of that phenomenon considering how many sleepless nights I experience stressing over the things that no one else cares for.

Who knew that a woman of a certain age shouldn’t wear the clothing that fits her and gives her a moment of confidence in an otherwise self-stifled world of disapproval?

Who knew that food choices were subject to other people’s tastes, and preferences rather than what I need for my health, and satisfaction?

I speak my celebrations to ears that hear them as boastfulness.

I speak my woes to ears that hear them as inactivity, or laziness.

It’s fear. It’s fear that keeps me from taking action. Fear of being wrong.

Fear of being wrong even though I know without any uncertainty that I’m right.

How can I be right though when I’m surrounded by people telling me how wrong I am?

How can I be right when according to people, I can’t sleep, or eat, or wear my own clothes properly?

One may question why I allow the weighted words of others to impact me as much as I do.

Imagine for a moment that you are swimming in the clearest of waters. Imagine the water is perfect for you; you’re happy; you’re safe. Someone else gets in and finds the water too warm. They cool it off. They cool it off until it becomes ice. They continue swimming through the ice because that’s what they need. You freeze.

Using your breath, you slowly melt a path for yourself, but the space that you’re creating doesn’t allow for swift movement. The other person is swimming ahead and in their wake, they begin turning the water into lucite because that’s what they want to do.

You breathe quicker, trying to out run the lucite that is quickly filling your space. It’s impossible.

You are now stuck. Preserved in what someone else wanted, and thought you needed except you didn’t, and you don’t.

Now, you’re trapped in time, and space by the person who thought this was better for you, except it wasn’t, and it never will be.

That’s what these words are doing to me. I try. I try to advocate for myself. I try to stand my ground. I try to use my voice, but I may as well be invisible.

Too many cooks in my kitchen, each has their own good intentions for me, but none actually allow me to season my soup to my own tastes.

One could say that nothing matters except what I think for myself, but in a world where we interact with others, I’m not alone in my decisions.

I try to push the weighted blankets off of my soul in order to create space for those who actually help me breathe instead of consuming my air.

It’s hard. When your vulnerability is tattooed over your body, ingrained in your DNA, and worn like a cloak of warning, the people you attract are often vultures of your soul.

Their intentions are good, and deep down, you want their attention because all of their “advice” saves you from having to think for yourself. Sadly, their words often become the lucite in your ocean. Whether it’s their strong convictions, or your self-doubt, you get stuck; frozen in time in space when you’re truly meant to be propelling forward with great speed, and determination.

I. Am. Stuck.

I’m trying to get myself through one of the most difficult seasons in my life, but I’ve allowed too many people into my ocean and I can’t see my goals through their demands.

Thankfully, I have a few friendly fish along my side; friends who carry chisels and power tools that break air holes into the lucite. With their help, I find opportunities to breathe, and see clearly. I am grateful for them.

It’s challenging though knowing that the keepers of the lucite truly have the best of intentions for me. That’s a lie. Some pour lucite into the air holes because keeping me vulnerable, or trapped is best for their success. Some poison my water before I can swim. Some poison the air that I breathe.

Others though, they truly care. They listen. They guide. They hold my hand the way it needs to be held in order to help me succeed in my own way.

I often think that I’m best when I keep silent. Too many people know my struggles. Too many people think they know the solutions to my problems. Too many people are invested in being right.

I write my words on invisible pages because I don’t want them to be seen. Invisible ink on invisible pages means no one can judge me, or tell me I’m wrong again.

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