The shy child

I was always a shy child.

I would rehearse saying my name out loud

In case my voice cracked

I would fixate on every thought every

Look, movement, bite and shred of space

I took up in the world


I was always a shy child.

I joined a speech club in high school

And made myself smaller

To fit in, to stay safe, to stay sane when

All I wanted to do was scream


I was always a shy child.

I moved away from home

For dread of being stuck there

In a cycle, never leaving, becoming complacent

To people who didn't love me


I was always a shy child.


And ready to burst in on flames

That licked at me from deep within my chest

And made it hard for me to breathe


All that is still true.

I am still a shy child but also

Strong, resilient and free to change

Whenever I need

To protect that shy child


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