Cracks in a Fortress

You could look at her for hours, listen to her speak.

You’d enjoy it so much because she did with a confidence

That was unfamiliar to you. She was young. You were different her age.


You looked up to a girl as a woman. But you didn’t look behind

The facade, you wanted to remain in your state of admiration.

Of not knowing the whole truth that could disturb your awe.


She’d inspire you to be braver and stronger as long as you’d ignore

Who she really was beneath the facial charades and colourful ensembles.


You let her stir up all superficialities, this pseudo lightheartedness

Was all you needed.

She’d start to feel so comfortable showcasing the surface of her,

Nothing else,

And she’d reduce herself to the image

Everybody embraced of her, shoving all the negative baggage aside, inside,

Deeper, until she was incapable of reaching emotions that went straight

To the bones, the pulse, the heart.


She secretly wanted to impress and be the front-runner,

And she let nothingness hollow her out so that the sunshine

Could fill her up entirely,

So that others could feel better about themselves

And she’d have no idea who she was when she went to bed at night.


Nobody would believe that someone like her could be depressed,

Least of all her.

She believed the myth herself, felt abnormal, her substance something

To be repressed, weakness, not in her body or mind, away, away with it all.


She didn’t allow herself to let anyone down.

And she manufactured her face,

Confined her body, ironed her clothes, the brightest colours, the voice shrill

And omnipresent and played the part that was supposed to keep the monsters

At bay.


She grabbed her weaknesses by the throat like pest weeds and impatiently

Transformed them into strengths,

Never going through them, study or feel them and possibly grow.

She couldn’t afford it not to smile.

She thought she’d been made this way.

A winner. A woman arresting the attention of a whole room.

The audience stunned and envious.

Herds behind her. Loving and hating her.


She had the words, not the roots.

She had the language, not the emotion.

She’d rather drown in a crowd as a messiah than

Walk alone in her very own shoes.

woman in gold colored diagonal earrings
Photo by Arsham Haghani on


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