I stand in front of an audience being someone else, hoping to satisfy the subject matter experts. The lights illuminating the anxiety. The painful memories of repercussions for not doing my best.

“You’re lazy,” I’ve been told when wanting to express my creative soul. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I can’t answer the question. Expectations whispering in my ear.

Every moment is a reminder of the humiliation of my humanity. I suffer for the sake of kindness. My choices lead to tragedy. Is this my penance? I don’t know.

Thoughts and prayers provide no comfort nor bring back the dead. Hope can’t change this reality. My time is finite, the threshold of life at the edge of my feet.

These memories will soon be erased.