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or Office Holiday Party

I don't want to be told

when to be happy,

or how, or why.

Not unless you want me to lie.

I think it's great

that you want to get

everyone together

to celebrate.

But I want to be asked,

and I may not say "yes",

for without the right to say "no",

what does "yes" even mean?

Sing carols, if it brings you joy,

but don't assume that I'll join you.

I sing when the spirit moves me,

not because of what you think I should be.

No matter how badly

you want me to be free,

no amount of force will work

when the prison I'm in is me.


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Thank you. :-)

I realize now that it echoes Endlessnight's signature, somewhat.

I suspect we all inspire each other, in different ways ...

As you can hear, I guess I'm a bit grumpy at present, Liv. I've always been contrary (and stubborn to boot, as they say out West), and unwilling to be controlled at some level, despite having been married for seven years to someone who always got her way. Perhaps that's why I preserve such very firm limits, deep on the inside.

Having those limits continually tested made me think suicidal thoughts back then, and it seems likely that having the limits at all is what kept me alive.

Ideally, though, I'd like to be able to relax those limits somewhat, only without sacrificing any of their beneficial aspects, because the limits lead to the denial of parts of me that I value.

How are you doing tonight?

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I'm okay, Beth, within some restricted definition of "okay".

I did want to say that my point in the last stanza wasn't that "the prison of me" was inescapable, but only that it wouldn't be any amount of force that would free me. There are many other tools, which must be wielded with gentleness and respect ...

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Yes, I understood. For me, I always try to be gentle and respectful. I hope that I am. It's difficult seeing a person you care about trapped in a painful place. It's hard not to want to break them out, but yeah, I can only sit with them in support. I can only stand by them, listen, offer my thoughts and care...and hope they set themselves free. Always hope. My faith is in hope. I hope you find your way, Mark.

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