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Charles Tyler s Story

Washington D.C. USA



The thing that holds my mind together with such little pieces of broken tape. Why inadequacy? Because of fear of failure. Failure at everything. Fear of being inadequate at everything. Fear of being an inadequate son. Brother. Lover. Friend. Soldier. This fear that instills such crippling anxiety and self-loathing that you can barely breathe or move. Walls moving in around you.  The air disappearing from your lungs. The life leaving your body. An out of body experience looking down upon yourself and all you see is a dark abyss. These things we never put into words for the very reason we feel this way.




A sort of masochistic, self-fulfilling prophecy. We hate feeling this way, but refuse to do anything about it except roll in the very depths of it. With a smile to left and an 'I love you' to the right. We paint a face that the world expects to see from us. Tiresome. So tiresome. So much paint, so many faces that you don’t know where it started. Where is the first layer? Where is your original you? You start to believe the mask. You’re just good enough that everyone likes you. But no one truly knows you. No one truly loves you.


We play it safe because of the fear. Because of that same dark abyss. Our painted faces don’t want to let others down. The masks refuse to be cracked. To be removed. 'We have to do it the accepted way'.  'We have to love the accepted way'. 'We have to live the accepted way'. But what happens when underneath the mask was born to be anything but accepted? Turmoil. Distress. We don’t know how to do it any other way than unaccepted. We don’t know how to love the accepted way. We absolutely cannot live an accepted life.


So we crack. We try our very best to crack the mask. To peel the paint. To get to our true self underneath it all. Hoping beyond hope that the dark abyss hasn’t swallowed it whole. Leaving nothing but a pretty painted face that’s hollow on the inside. Feeling as though the world around you might literally be blown apart by the process. Leaving nothing left for the true you to return to.

But what else is there? A broken world that can be rebuilt to fit you? Or a world that you have to rebuild yourself to fit into?


Refuse. Refuse to continue. Refuse to be that painted face. Refuse to be accepted. Choose to be you.  Choose to be unaccepted. Choose to be all of the dirty, tangled, tear-stained mess that you are.  Because that’s the only you that’s worth showing to the world. Accepted or not. The world deserves to see us as we are. Not our masks that we work so hard to make. F*ck the mask makers. Go forth.  Seen. As you are: Broken-healing. Dying-living. Hating-loving. Denying-accepting. Fearing-embracing.


Some may say these things make us flawed. But how can something be flawed that was made perfectly to be the way it is? Wear the flaws upon your sleeve. Show the world you refuse to be inadequate. You refuse to be fearful of failure. You refuse to let them pass judgment.


No longer inadequate at life. No longer fearful of failure. Just you. Unashamedly and unabashedly you. No more anxiety. No more worry. No more."

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