ravages of shame

all my life
i have worked
to believe
i am enough
to extricate myself
from the shadow
of inadequacy,
the ever present fear of failure
that lives in the constriction
of my body,
in the heat
that chars my insides
leaves me
restless and weak.

all my life
i have tried
to fill the need
that existed
before me–for you,
to be the thing
i thought you wanted
without ever asking
what i wanted,
who i was (am).

what would it mean
to know myself
outside of this demand–self
imposed as much as begotten, now?

what would it mean
to reject your desire
without rejecting you–
to accept only your love?
to remind you,
as i remind myself,
that i will not, cannot, ever be
the one who fills the hole inside you,
the dream of yourself
you left behind,
a dream i know too well,
having dreamt it all my life.

what would it mean
to awaken from this dream,
to shed the ravages its sleep
has thrust upon me,
to stretch my arms over my head
and claim myself

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