My Therapist Thinks my Name is Alex

by Alec Balasko

My therapist thinks my name is Alex
and I’m too embarrassed to correct him at this point.
Like I’ve already been going there for over a month, and he still has no clue that my name is actually Alec.
At this point it feels like I would be inconveniencing him to tell him he is mistaken
Despite the fact that it’s actually his job to be inconvenienced by my problems
Yet I still hold my tongue.
It’s a trait I learned over years of being fine
of ignoring the screaming anger in my brain
of pushing away the thoughts of wanting to kill myself
of avoiding making anyone uncomfortable.
And I think that’s what it is.
I don’t want my pain to make anyone else uncomfortable
because hasn’t it already hurt me enough? 
Why would I want to darken somebody else’s day with my shadows?
And so instead I try to take whatever light I have left inside of me
and put it on display
attempting to hide myself behind it like hiding a tsunami behind a sputtering match
And as the thoughts in my head weigh me down
like bricks in my backpack,
I try my hardest to keep standing up straight
Painting a smile on my face because if anyone else knows about these weights
They will try to take them upon themselves
So I hold out my light and say smiling:
“LOOK! I’M FINE! Look how bright and shining I am!
So I’ll just be here,
Painted-on smile filling with cracks
Bricks pulling me down until
I am under the tsunami of myself
Waiting for someone to pull me up and tell me
You don’t have to keep shining.

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