By Button Poetry
Transcript provided by YouTube:
I check my Facebook page 36 times a day for the sole purpose of making sure
I’ve not accidentally posted a nude photo of myself.
I reread an email 13 times before pressing “send”
to ensure I’ve not written something in the email
that could convict me of a crime.
Before taking a stage, when asked if I allow flash photography,
I always want to say “no”
because I’m terrified flash photography will give me epilepsy.
I know it doesn’t work like that, y’all.
I never eat nuts on an airplane
out of fear that I will suddenly develop a nut allergy,
and if I have to asphyxiate, I don’t want it to happen at 30,000 feet.
Twice in the last two years, I’ve been deboarded from an airplane
for running screaming down the aisle as the plane was taking off.
I can’t walk through San Francisco
without worrying my indigestion is the beginning of an earthquake.
I brace for tsunamis beside lakes in Colorado– I’m not joking.
The last time I saw Niagara Falls, I couldn’t take it.
It was too much much.
I had to plug my ears to look at it. I had to close my eyes to listen.
Generally, I can’t do all of my senses at the same time.
They’re too much much.
Like if you touch me without warning,
whoever you are,
it would take everything I have to not scream.
Imagine your hands are electrical sockets
and I am constantly aware that I am 70% water.
It’s not that I’ve not tried to build a dam.
Ask my therapist who pays her mortgage.
My cost of living went up at five years old
when I told my mother I have to stop going to birthday parties
because every time I hear a balloon pop
I feel like I’m being murdered in the heart.
Last year, a balloon popped on the stage where I was performing.
I started crying in front of the whole crowd
and kept repeating the word “loud, loud, loud.”
It was super sexy.
That’s what I do. I do super sexy.
Like when I asked a super cute barista 11 times,
“Are you sure this is decaffeinated?”
“Are you sure this is decaffeinated? Are you sure?” “Yes.”
I drink decaffeinated and still jitter like a bug
running from the bright, bright, bright.
I’ve spent years of my life wearing a tight rubber band
hidden beneath my hair so my brain could have a hug.
These days when no one’s looking, I wear a fuzzy-fitted winter hat
that buttons tight beneath the chin,
and I only ever wear a tie, so when I convince myself I’m choking,
my senses have something they’re certain they could blame.
As a kid, I was so certain I would die by way of a meteor falling on my head.
I’d go whole weeks without looking at the sky
because I didn’t want to witness the coming of my own death.
I started tapping the kitchen sink seven times to build a shield.
My mother started making lists of everything I thought would kill me
in hopes that if I saw my fears, they would disappear.
Bless her heart.
But the first time I saw that list,
I started filling salad bowls with bleach and soaking my shoelaces overnight,
so in the morning when I ironed them, they’d be so bright.
I’d be certain I had control of how much dark could break into my life,
how much jackhammer could break into my heart.
But my spine,
it has always been a lasso that could never catch my breath.
I honestly can’t imagine how it would feel
to walk into a room and not feel the roof collapsing on my…
No, no, no, I am not fine.
Fine never tells the truth.
And more than anything I have ever been afraid of,
I am terrified of lies,
how they war the world, how they sound by our tongues,
how they bone dry the marrow.
How did we get through high school without being taught Dr. King?
Spent two decades having panic attacks, avoided windows, jumped at thunder.
I think we are all part fight the flight, part run for your life,
part please, like, like, like, like, like me,
part can’t breathe,
part scared to say you’re scared,
part say it anyway.
You panic button collector,
you clock of beautiful ticks.
You can always, always, always, shake like a leaf
on my family tree
and know you belong here.
You absolutely belong here
and everything you feel is okay.
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Photo credit: Screenshot from video