Don’t tell me you understand
you’ve never seen the role that you were born for handed off to someone else who doesn’t have a clue.
you’ve never sat at your table at night looking at your bank account trying to figure out how you’ll buy food.
you’ve never huddled in your room fantasizing about those warm, bright blades, just wanting to cut, just once, so you could feel something, anything.
you’ve never woken up crushed by a murky depression that shadows everything with a pall, choking your lungs.
you’ve never stared at yourself, while skin and bones stared back, and the mirror whispered “it’s still not enough.”
you’ve never wept in a car outside a diner late at night watching those tail lights pulling away while you scream “why” and punch the wheel. over and over and over.
you’ve never sat in the office looking at an x-ray, floating, while the doctor says he’ll give you a minute, a minute to embrace the timer he just started on the balance of your life.
you’ve never stood in the shower and watched chunks of matted hair fall into the drain.
you’ve never trembled in the NICU watching your child, small enough to sit in the palm of your hand, wheeze, whimper, and you just pray, “oh God oh God oh God.”
you’ve never stood helplessly watching the accident that you’re powerless to stop.
you’ve never hated yourself for not being there when it happened.
you’ve never sat on the edge of the hospital bed promising that “no, it won’t hurt” when you have no idea and you just pray that maybe, just maybe you’re right.
you’ve never listened to the death rattle going on and on and on for so much longer than you could ever have believed possible.
you’ve never watched the monitor go silent.
you’ve never stood over a grave that shouldn’t have been filled, not yet, smelling the wet dirt, knowing it’s true, knowing this has happened.
So don’t tell me.
*author’s note: this is not autobiographical. some elements came from my own life, some from friends, and some from stories that have been shared with me