on the outside,
peering in
a dirty window
through a sleeve-wiped hole
cupping hands round my eyes
gazing at the love i see
wondering how it feels
to be safe like that
no matter what.

beaten, painfilled heart
battered, struggling mind
tough luck child
my stories ache
even through my smiles.

i stand on the outside
breaking your heart.

you invite me in
i am drawn, can’t resist
so shyly, awkwardly i come
not sure of where to walk
or how to move my legs
what words should i use
how much should i keep
to myself

they are kind on the inside
because i dress nice to hide me
i sit down quickly so they
can’t see me tremble and trip
they seem calm with me there
but i know i can’t show
who i am
no one can know
how my heart bleeds
no one’s allowed to touch
that soft spot
just under my leather
or i’ll die.

i smile and i tell
amusing, heartbreaking stories
because they say they want
to hear my
amusing, heartbreaking stories

when i speak, i make
those stories sound like
someone else’s
amusing, heartbreaking stories
so i can pretend in my heart
that they are not my own.

they feel sorry,
those inside people
for my pain.
it must hurt, they say,
but you’re inside now –
you shouldn’t feel pain.
but they can’t feel what i feel
even when they know the stories
because they are warm and loved
and protected from harm
on the inside.

but that’s not where i’m from
and that’s not where i get to stay
i am only a guest, a visitor, a waif
it’s only for awhile
until the fire dies down
until my pain shows in ways
they can’t handle
and it’s time to say goodnight.

while they bed down
with their arms circling around
one another
protecting from harm
i am too different
to stay
so i go back
to stand on the outside
peering in
wiping the dirty window
with my tear-stained sleeve
knowing it’s not mine to be inside.
but now i understand just a little
for better or not
how it feels
to be that safe from harm
no matter what.

~ cj 2001.07.23

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4 Responses to Outsider

  1. cindy mccaa says:

    I relate to this in so many ways CJ. Thank you for writing from your heart always.

  2. Kevin S says:

    Even when you KNOW you are loved, completely and as you are,. Not having to worry that what you are is not enough. You will still feel the feelings you describe. No human is exempt from that. It is just not as often as it was before.

    • cjromb says:

      This is so true, Kevin. I wrote this 10 years ago, but yesterday got reminded of it strongly again.

      No matter how much you work on yourself, no matter how much you accept who you are and find situations that fit, I think that early outsider feeling is a theme that’s nearly impossible to erase.

      At least we can recognize it for what it is; a theme.

      Thanx for reading what I wrote and taking the time to write me about it. I’m glad we’re friends. 🙂

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