afraid of the dark, I walked through shadows with my brain screaming until I reached the light switch. losing friends in months of a sTrAnGe MaNiA, I wrote letters to myself asking that I become 'calm', become 'different', and it happened. cracking my knuckles constantly, I beat myself in the face until the urge s l o w e d and became dormant. my fears and thoughts were so strong for years that I developed equally strong compensating mechanisms, lists of 'answers' to 'questions' of general anxiety, notebooks full of words with arrows drawn-between-them like 'LOVE', 'FREEDOM', 'HELP', poems for wordless feelings. afraid of heights? climb trees carefully until the fear knows you don't care. don't let anyone SEE YOU as you run through your dark garden 'pretending' to be other than human, or pErChEd on the garage roof like a bird, skin alive to the air. if 'they' ever saw what you do when you're alone they'd fear you as a crazy, dancer to no music, speaker to ghosts, wanderer from *silent* room to *silent* room, looking for something you never even knew before you forgot it. afraid of fear, afraid of unhappiness, afraid of your weird *silent* 'self', the beaten boy in the basement, the swallowed scorpion. you're afraid you'll disgust her in your insanity, if you don't 'control' it, if you can't purge your demons in time to live with her and hold. her. hands. you know she doesn't mind the craziness but you're afraid she'll RUN from the ugliness inside, the pockmarked inner skin, the hideous portrait in the attic of a beautiful head, the hunched and panting dogboy who could never be loved by anyone