Self- conscious

It is rude to walk ahead of someone else,
But I should open the door for them
Or I could let them lead first.
If I raise my hand,
I should formulate my response articulating my stance clearly.
The person who went before me has already stated something similar –
That might be repetitive if I speak.
It is important to not make eye contact.
I should not initiate this conversation
But I want to speak with this person,
Who is unaware that I find them – interesting.
Two times
Then one more time,
I must make sure that I appear immaculate.
Again I should
Smooth my skirt,
Rub the sides of my mouth,
Where I think food would be…
Another six times.

I looked up and almost said something.
No, I can’t.
They are walking with a group of people. Today –
They are alone but if I do say hello –
Will I bother them?
I looked at their face and immediately tucked my head down.
It is rude to stare.
(Only 5 seconds have passed)
It is cowardly to slump back and not say anything.
Shallow breathing and a pounding heart,
I avert one more time.
Do not look eager –
It could be portrayed wrong.
Follow the leads of others and you might fit in.
I carefully evaluated how fast I walked alongside my friends.
I hesitated to…
Reach for the door,
Look up,
And
Tremble out the words that lunged in every direction inside of me.
I fought with my “calmness”
I tore at it violently –
Only to plead subservient again.
It is rude to think of only myself.
Yet,
I looked in the dust of where my footprints were and saw who I really was – limping behind me.
This is what sat in my eyes,
Shifting from what time it is
And
Choosing the right thing to say
I became – a state of being
Self-conscious.

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