The Things I Am Not

The things I am not
Show the person I am.

The lines I cannot color in
Show the paths I could have taken
The ways I have tried to mold myself
Into being
Who I thought I must be.

Who I thought
I must be
sits quietly in a box,
Yes, ma’am and no, sir painting my
Words black and white.
Who I thought
I must be
Cannot shout or question or cry,
Will not run at the margins or stray from the page,
Does not know every hue or shade or texture.

The things I do not understand:
Faces, colors, things I did not prepare for,
Intimacy, friendship, things not spelled out,
Reveal the things I know too well:
Emotions so visceral no feelings can touch them.
Imagination so vivid reality is more real.
Love so strong I can sit apart and still be held.

The things I cannot say:
I love you.
I don’t know.
I’m sorry.
I need help.
Make room for the things I shout:
Listen to me!
I have a voice!
I have a say!
I have a space to fill!

The things I am not
Are the things I know
Are the paths I do not take
The words I cannot say

The things I am
Fill the life I choose to live.

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