Kindness is Heavy

The kind words you say about me cut the deepest.

You laugh at a joke I mumble sheepishly under my breath, throwing your head back, taking up space and sound at my expense.

I can’t shrink away when you tell me you’re proud of me. Though I wish to take that blow and curl against impact privately. 

I was too excited to run into you after many months apart. You smiled, more amused by my joy than pleased to see me. Or perhaps you were pleased, that would sting worse, that you were more pleased to see me in passing than I will ever be meeting my eye in a mirror. 

I am the girl who sits in the back of the class, distracting all who’d listen, and most would; who’d sit in the front, eagerly looking up, trying to decipher meaning as it flies overhead. 

I distract you, or so you say, yet I feel I go unnoticed: a shadow in the peripheral. 

It hurts to know you love me, because I don’t know what it is to love me. I can advocate my strengths and excuse my shortcomings, but I will never forgive myself for my humanity. 

You stay, hurling kind words at me, believing their weight will provide me with comfort. 

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