The Competition Is Over: A Poem

You reminded me of him.

There were too many times that

I wished to be like you.

Pretending to be invincible

In such a convincing way that

Everybody bought the lie you

Started to believe yourself.


I loved you most when you cried

In front of me, I witnessed the truth

Of who you were within. That made me

Identify with you, feel safe with you.


You would never deal with your pain for

Longer. It needed to be brushed off quickly.

Back into the drawer. There is no need.

On life goes. Maybe I would linger around

My pain for too long. We should have met in the

Middle somewhere.


Everybody’s eyes lit up when you devoured the

Whole room for yourself. There was no air anymore

That I could inhale. That’s when envy crept in,

A false belief that I was your shadow, that I would

Remain shackled underneath my skin, that I would

Follow you wherever you went, your inferior companion

Who made you laugh at the cost of my life unlived and unseen.


You projected a lightheartedness and confidence that everybody

Desired. You embodied what they wanted to be themselves.

They didn’t want to know what was really going on inside.

The surface shined to perfection. I knew the truths and limits

That made you human. You would never admit them to others.


You wanted to stay glued to the limelight. You wouldn’t

Give up your time in it. They ate you up and you loved it.

They accepted to be blinded. I despaired on your side.

You never ceased to feel like a double-edged sword to me.


I spiralled into invisibility. Only when we were alone

I could be myself, I could be free, courageous and outspoken.

Nobody there to impress. No need for applause, an audience.

As soon as our facades came on and we went outside

It all shattered. You were unbreakable and I was broken.


I held on to the grudge that I could never express to you.

Maybe we were both exactly what the other needed but

We couldn’t make it work to both our benefit. You went home

To be reinforced, supported, centre stage, whatever you needed.

I came home to be bullied, threatened, insulted and screamed at.


You never wanted to see that part. You wanted to believe

That everything was fine. You wanted me to overlook

The tiny little factors that tried to burn my life to the ground.

It bothered you so much that I couldn’t. I lived in a prison

That you converted to freedom in your head. I held on to the

Last toxic thread of a burned spider web that you saw as whole.

It never had been, it always pirouetted its lengths across my throat.


You spoke about your terrible past and everybody stared

At you with their mouths open, in admiration. And I just

Thought that’s what I live through every single day still, that’s what

I escaped this morning, that’s what I survived on my way over here.

I was still the victim. You were the victor. I withdrew from the equation

Of being compared to you. Nothing good could ever come of it.

I learned that the hard way. The competition’s over.

unrecognizable female tourist standing on rocky coast
Photo by Tatiana Syrikova on


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