“Take me by the hand.” But my hand feathered away, stripped of all flesh, and he didn't want just the veins. Splash, crash - and the noises only get louder, only dive further into the fear that I am falling, drowning, though I am far from the pool's end. I am far away from danger, but I feel it in my bones. I feel it as I watch the others diving, as others breathe in the H2O and don't hear the splashes as loud as I do. “Come here.” But that was a command and I didn't want to be touched, so I shriveled up, but it's my fault? I'm prude because I don't want to be touched? How do you tell someone that you're completely in love with that you don't want to be touched by them because sometimes touch feels like the most terrifying thing? They don't understand. Everyone's talking and laughing, but I've forgotten what that feels like. I bare my teeth wide, but there is no smile. I cough out a laugh, but it is not amusement. Am I fun enough yet? Can you accept me yet? The circle of friends starts pulsing and I feel trapped in a Colosseum. And the lions look pleasing, but I can't ever believe they aren't dangerous, because I've been in these situations before and the lions stripped me of all flesh. And no one wants just the veins. “Tell me about yourself.” But I don't know how to answer that because is your body a home or some form of expression? Does your weight justify your health and does it justify your restrictive habits and does he know you because he knows your past? Is your soul a malleable personality or is it something to connect to, your true self? But I've never connected with it because I've never connected with me. I am not the person you are talking to, but how can I explain that? Sometimes midnight gets really quiet and I lay down for rest, but rest was never my friend even though quiet was. Every ligament and tendon, every bone and joint, every nail and hair follicle - everything is humming. I feel my body moving, and yet it is paralyzed. I can't leave the bed, I can't get myself up, because everything I do is wrong, and my body now resents me for it. My breath is light and rapid, and then I can't breathe at all, and I've lost everything in myself; I can't locate myself. I become the dark, looming monster that I have befriended in years gone by, but no one has ever seen it. I connect with that soul, with the one that haunts me and takes over from time to time. It is my darkest nightmare, but letting it loose makes it a reality, not a fear. When I am a monster, I have no more fears because I become what I fear most.