Why did I hit you up? Because you always believed in me. When the world was falling apart around me, you didn’t even notice. You just saw me holding what was left of it up.

I’m losing sight of me, and I hoped that you could still see her in there. You saw through me, of course. You saw my head tucked underneath both hands and my back against the wall, obviously scared and hurt. And you listened to me talk about the storms that had passed through since you left me there, like Atlas. You worried a bit, believing that I had seen some shit and weighing it against the strength you had seen before, and you decided that I would be okay eventually. But you took a look around us, and there was no more tornado.

“What are you gonna do tomorrow?” You asked. I weighed my limbs and spirit to determine how heavy they felt, how sad, I felt around to measure what was left of my will, and I couldn’t answer. Truthfully, I would have stayed right where I was, hearing rocks that had long since ceased to fall, and feeling phantom pains, for who knows how long?

Granted, the tornado had barely stopped when you dropped in, but I had forgotten all about the house I should be holding up.

Yours is the last opinion I value, you know? If you’re somehow part of all this, I just gotta say: Ouch. Do me a favor and listen to me like you do in person all the time. You know me better than that. You shouldn’t have to feel me to remember who I am.

But also, thanks for the uneasy vote of confidence. I’ll let you in on a secret, I’m no more sure of myself than you are these days. But you kissed me anyway. And I’ll try anyway.

So it’s not quite the fanfare I wanted. I mean, you yourself started off the night by noting that I didn’t seem sure I had the right to be heard, let alone praised. And I haven’t been proud of myself in a little while, either. Too many situations have compromised me too much, and I can’t seem to keep myself away from things that bring me down.

You gave me exactly the cautiously optimistic clap that I deserve.

I called you because people have been saying a lot of things, and I’ve been saying a lot of things back. I knew you’d be able to tell me the truth. So thanks.

Tomorrow I’m gonna wake up and shower and book an appointment or two. Then I’m gonna get F. to bring me the laptop he wiped for me and get back to building my empire. And I’m gonna ignore all the assholes trying to tell me what to do. I’ll have plenty of time to do it and be mediocre later if my way doesn’t work first.