Beside Myself

There are so many times when I know I’m not alone. Beside myself, I sit and feel the glare of my criticisms burning as the other me stokes the flames. His voice echoes in my mind with every condemning notion. The sinking feeling sets in. The clouds form in my mind as he infiltrates my soul. I am a monster again.

He initiates the bottle battles, the self loathing, the dark eyed demon within. Every word rolls off his silver tongue as the edges of the letters slice into my spirit. Beside myself, with a withered will and wilted demeanor, I fight the good fight each time. However, he’s an assassin… He always takes the upper hand.

I pray for sticks and stones to break the tones of voice if I am supposed to be broken. No matter the vice, from cigars, to whisky, to coffee, and everything else in between, he lingers in smoke staring at his shameful reflection. He breaks out in laughter that evolves into angry screams.

I look away while he rises up to sit as close as he can. Beside myself, I’m reminded how awful I am despite how good my life is. Every doubtful thought, every mistake I have ever made, every word I should have said, everything I should have felt, everything I always put up with, every bottle I’ve ever emptied and dreamt of drinking, every dance I longed for with Mary Jane, every middle finger I should have raised in harmony with a “Shut up!” and “Fuck you!”, every time I should have stood up for myself, every punch I should have thrown, every time I should have not felt remorse for my beliefs, every time I should have been the wolf and not the sheep, every nervous tick I’ve ever used between the tocks, every time I hurt myself to distract my mind from obsessing, every one of the little things are thrown in my face so hard that recovery is beyond my comprehension. He knows I could change but never will. I wallow… no wait… I swallow with pride all the feelings and regret until I feel my teeth breaking… Bleeding.

He dissipates… I am no longer beside myself. Finally alone, the monster is gone without so much as a trace to be found. In a desolate daze I stand up in the ashes… I step forward, the debris dissolving with each motion. Battered and bruised, tattered and torn I open the door and smile. You would never know of the brutal beating I endured beside myself. For the best disguises are the ones that are standing right in front of you.

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