Duty and Responsibility

Sometimes I think about leaving this life with its burdens and responsibilities. No goodbyes; just go ahead and do it. There is no respite, no rest from labors. To even suggest it meets with accusations of selfishness and failure to care. Or worse. Threats, emotional blackmail or even violence.

I sometimes feel as if I am in thrall to a tyrannical master, whose every demand I must satisfy. I drive myself hard to meet the standards to which I hold myself. This infernal sense of duty – it compels me to carry on and on, grinding myself down, exhausting myself in the process.

I feel so tired. My defences are weak. The darkness inside finds its way to the surface, coloring my thoughts. Did you know it can take as little as 15 minutes to lose consciousness after slitting your wrists? If you hit the artery that is. Otherwise it could be hours. I looked it up – I wanted to know. Don’t ask why.

Change. Don’t like it at all. For somebody who has such difficulty relating to people I don’t half have a hard time when I am apart from them. I’m a walking contradiction. I like my own company and I cannot bear to be apart from people. I abhor loneliness. And I am feeling lonely of late.

I try to keep my feelings hidden, even from myself I suspect sometimes. Must be strong, never show any weakness. So I must be alone, so nobody can see my vulnerabilities. I must be alone to cry in the night. I must be alone to open my heart and reveal my feelings. So much pent-up emotion that is held in, bottled up, because I do not dare let it show.

Anger, the rage inside, flares occasionally but never lasts. Unlike the hurt that never really leaves me. Oh, I can push it into the background but it still lies there waiting for its opportunity to raise its head and reenter my consciousness. There is no release, no respite. No rest.

I am a caged bird, looking out through the bars and imagining how it might feel to fly free. The bars are of my own making, stronger than steel. Forged of duty and responsibility. I have no option other than to remain here – suffer the constraints on my existence. The constraints I accepted so long ago now. The burden weighs heavy on me but I said I would bear it, so bear it I must. Choice was abrogated all those years ago. However I might wish otherwise that remains true.

But the caged bird can still dream of open skies. The slave can dream of the day the fetters are broken. And I can dream of release.

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