i am a suspicious person
i find it distinctly hard
to trust
and am really good
at finding evidence
that people are not trustworthy
hypervigilant to the extreme
with an affinity for details
and a rainman-like memory
i catch inconsistencies
and use them
to keep my distance
even from those close
to me

because while i know
i can handle most anything
and fear doesn’t drive
with me anymore
i do not want to be blinded
i do not want to be surprised
ever again

and so i build collections
of little incongruencies
keeping track of the ways
those close
are likely
to betray me

yep this i do
without much thought
it just seems to be happening
in the background always
under the busyness of my day
so practiced at this point
i don’t even have to pay attention to it
to ensure the program is still running

and some days
i forget
to remember i am not safe
i forget my evidence-collecting
and relax into connection sweet
her kind eyes
his arms strong

and then
it happens
the thing that reminds me
of the thing i got hurt by most
the thing that my anxiety runs on
and i am gone

and the file cabinet of missteps
comes front and center
and begins to read itself to me
so loudly
so rapidly
breath escapes me
and in moments
i lose all ability
to look at anyone
as anything
but the enemy

and this
yet understandably
tends to have
the very thing i am fearing
happen most easily

because how do you treat
someone who is looking at you
like the enemy
how do you engage with someone
who is so far gone
they are barely making sense
putting words together all wrong

us humans will tend to
or do nothing

also known as
fight, flee or freeze

and inevitably
i feel turned on, let down
or abandoned
predictably i feel like no one
will stick it out with me
yes everyone will
eventually leave
but at least i knew
this time
at least i wasn’t blindsided
this time

you see
i have all this evidence
that this was gonna happen

and so the cycle continues
and so we re-create our woundings
it gets so bad
or so obvious
that these are patterns
things are repeating
and the common
denominator is me

and we choose to pay attention
we choose to face the unfaceable
we choose to do things differently
before they get to the place
where we are gone

before we become a person
just trying to survive

yes before that

before we lose facility

yes then
that is where change can happen
that is where we have the best chance
of catching ourselves
of preventing old programing from
running what is happening currently

it isn’t easy
but it’s worth it
to see clearly
to have more possibility
of the past staying
where it is meant to be

and sure, yes
i am still suspicious
and find it hard to trust
and yes i still fear blindsiding
and track incongruencies

but that is not all i do
not anymore
now i look for evidence of good
i spend my time
looking for the good
trying to understand
making space for our differences
practicing curiosity
and assuming i don’t know
i really mostly don’t

yes that
genuinely being open
to the possibility
that i do not know
i do not know
why someone did what they did
has changed everything for me

creating so much
more space
between me
and the trauma
that used to run me
creating so much more time
between me
and the reaction that leads
to the very thing
i least wanted

space helps
time too
but mostly
it was humility

humbly accepting
that i don’t
why someone
did what they did
until i ask them

yes humility
about what i do not know
and genuine curiosity
a genuine desire to know
why it is
you do you
the way you do
why it is
you do the things you do
the way you do

yes that
that has changed
it all
that has changed

❤️ emily joy rosen

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