Sometimes I wonder if I belong here.
I cannot seem to perfect anything.
I am not sure I am supposed to.
I am told my expectations are unrelenting.
That disappointment is the reward.

There is so much I despise about people.
Things I reject, things I must face and leave in the dust.
But my disgust and prejudice toward my own kind
are a reflection of what I hate about myself.
I don't know when I stopped accepting myself.
Perhaps I have always been this unkind.
Maybe I don't want to belong.

But then again, I have all this love and acceptance of others.
So much laughter to share,
little quirks of humanity that binds tiny threads between us all.
But the threads are so easily broken.
They wear away by the mere passing of time.
Are these moments precious treasures you can keep or are they just horrible taunts?

Sometimes I see a small thing, a glimpse of suffering behind a brave front
that pierces my heart.
A stranger I know nothing about as I pass.
A fleeting recognition that makes me weep.
This is when I feel the most.
The walls between me and my loved ones,
my kin and my familiars,
no matter how strong or short or broken,
I have come to expect.
Boundaries perhaps I rely upon to support the tiny threads.
But the empty space between myself and a stranger shocks me to my core.
There is nothing for these feeling to strike, nothing to filter or impede.
They will never know the intensity of my empathy,
even if it is completely imagined.

Do I even see people?
Or am I just looking at myself?
Is this what self-acceptance feels like?
If so, why does it hurt so much?
Is it something I can practice and manifest at will?
Perhaps its magnitude relies upon surprise,
waiting for the wary, unprepared.

I cannot seem to fuse my love and my hatred for humankind.
These will always remain together, at terrible odds with each other but inseparable.
Bound to each other—an exhausting polarity.
Perhaps love and hate are the same thing.
Perhaps this whole time I have hated myself, I have been loving myself.

This cannot make sense.
The clever people call this cognitive dissonance.
It makes it easier to believe that I do either one or the other at a time.
And time is all we have, all we use to measure.
We experience an order of moments,
yet we are capable of beholding them from behind and ahead.
We can experience things far off and dreamed as though they were happening now.
Things that never happened.
Things that will never happen.

It seems like a waste of compassion.
But maybe we are better at feeling compassion for those we know and love already.
Maybe we need more practice.
Maybe we can't practice it—maybe we'll ruin it.
Maybe we risk it trying to protect it from ruin and it disappears.

Am I alone or do I belong here?

We blink in and out of our little life lines.
If we do belong here,
it's not for long.