I haul my sorry self from my makeshift bed every day. My feet guide me through my apartment. The sleep is still clinging to my eyes, and the bags display the lack of genuine rest. The river of hair I possess is wild.

I battle the demons that stroll around casually. Ignore their whispers. The heaviness of depression leans on my back, but I force it away. I’ve got to. The face I see in the mirror is not the woman I wanted to be.

Putting on my uniform, I feel anxiety stroke my sides. This is not the embrace I desire. This is not the anchor I wish for. Yet, this is the ghost that has chosen me to be its lover. 

I tame my mane without a brush, too much energy. I moisturizer my face without washing it, too much energy. I slide my surplus of makeup aside, too much energy and for prettier ladies. I brush my teeth and do nothing more, too much energy. 

My body curls in on itself as I inspect my uniform. It’s been worn for four days straight. It shows. But I don’t have the money to haul my clothes to a laundromat or the patience to hand wash a load. It’s loosing shape, so it hangs off my limbs. This creates a deformed look, unflattering and large. I yearn to look professional.

A smile is practiced several times in the mirror with the demons laughing, mocking. I can not show weakness once I leave for work. I must present myself as a strong woman. Confidence must ooze from my pores. I’ve got to be the adult and in control. 

It is a battle to act as I’m expected to. I must fight to be the one steering the ship. Yet the voices are so loud. I’ve got to push them aside. I’ve got to. I must. 

I’ve got to win this war, only to begin it again the next morning.

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