The Moment I Realized I Wasn’t Special

You show me the tea pouch

your friend made for you,

similar to that of a passport cover

except smaller,

holding lemon ginger tea,

small packets of sugar,

and small popsicle sticks for stirrers.

You show me this because I tell you

I get nauseous when I eat.

You tell me you get nauseous when you’re tired.

Rock bottom tired.

Ocean floor tired.

A tired I know

all too well.

A “I can’t get out of bed even if I wanted to” tired.

A “just leave me here to die” tired.

A “what was I doing again?

When you walk into the kitchen”

tired.

A tired that stems from different places

for us both

yet is somehow still the same.

It reminds me I’m not alone

when my anxiety decides to make my stomach

into Peirce’s chicken noodle soup

for the next 30 minutes.

It reminds me that even though

we may look different,

parts of us are still the same.

Running on empty,

our shared love for singing,

glasses and short yet unique names,

our shortness about the same,

color in sweaters and t-shirts and jeans.

I ask “how are you?”

“Is everything okay?”

and pray I’m not stepping

over a boundary line

or on some hidden crack in your sidewalk

I didn’t notice.

Every question,

every self doubt,

reminding me

of who you are.

You: a mother,

a friend,

a neighbor,

a person with so much care inside your heart

I’m surprised you haven’t suffocated from it yet.

Me: just some measly college student

who doesn’t know what the fuck she’s doing

half the time.

Who’s just a concoction of anxiety,

hyper-empathy,

and kindness.

Who’s emotions flow like rivers

on rainy days.

Who never knows which way is up

or when to shut up.

Who always says she knows her place when really

she has no idea what she’s doing.

Who recognizes how not special she is.

Everyone gets an office hour.

Everyone gets a voice.

You’re still a human person around them too.

But when you showed me the tea pouch

your friend made for you,

your eyes lit up with happiness,

squinting like I’ve become so used to seeing

when you’re excited about something;

your laugh echoing throughout the small room

that is your office

and I remember why I’m here.

Why this room means so much to me.

Why you mean so much to me

because you’re a real person

who listens

and helps find solutions

with logic

and gets excited

about tea pouches

and dogs on leashes.

A person who isn’t afraid to admit

“I need a minute” or

“I need a day”

out loud.

A person who isn’t afraid

to say “me too”

to phrases like “I’ve been to therapy before”

or “I’m not okay.”

A person who isn’t afraid

to let light shine through the cracks

for me to find.

A person who took their office

and made it a home

for a measly college student

just trying

to find her way.

I may not be special

but that doesn’t make the meaning

behind every word you say lesser to me.

I may not be special

but that doesn’t make your office

any less of a home to me.

I may not be special

but I’m still here,

existing inside tiredness,

and so are you

and today…

today, that’s all that should matter.

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