I am the breadwinner.
I am the conductor chugging the train toward better days.
I am the one carrying the load shoved into the cars on this train.
All the problems of others, I carry on their behalf.
I never raised my hand for this.
I hear their laughter and see them at their leisure
And wonder when I’ll get mine.
I’ve spent my life paying the consequences of other people’s poor decisions.
When will it be my turn?
When will I be pulled off the back burner?
When will I matter as much or more than the people whose burdens I’m forced to carry?
The people whose prices I’m forced to pay?
Meanwhile, the father who was absent blames me for my pain.
I am the failure facing a silent war no one believes;
the textbook illnesses called GAD and PTSD.
No one sees the breath ripped from my lungs.
They don’t feel the pain in my chest I carry every day.
It will kill me before anyone notices.
I am a product of everyone else’s failures; I carry the burdens they refuse to own.
I am the scapegoat that saves those who haven’t earned it.
And then they wonder why I don’t fear death?
I don’t fear anyone’s god.
I don’t fear non-existence.
I don’t fear anything beyond the grave,
because the grave offers a reprieve
from the pain I’m forced to carry.
The pain that was never mine.
The pain of those who won’t own it.
I am a scapegoat.
A life raft.
I have no life to speak of,
because it’s owned by everyone else.