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Caring Hands

I remember,

When you traced the lines on my hand,

Running your finger across,

Where the pain would run one day.

I remember,

Cupping those hands into a shell,

Pouring myself out,

And into you as we sat.

I remember,

No one knew my hands like me,

I showed them off to you,

And like the picture, they changed somehow.

I remember,

As my hands trembled,

With ache, in anticipation,

I wished they would fall off.

I watch,

As I ball them into fists,

Pummel the hurt away,

And you along with it.

- Divij Kulkarni

When I was 17, I remember someone telling me I had caring hands. I always felt like that would be enough. For the people in my life. For keeping them around, you know? Caring hands...sound nice don’t they? I think they’ve lost their touch in the last two years. All the pain in my joints has them tired. I went out of my way to put the people I love before me, to just being with them, instead of making plans for myself. To caring for them before caring for me. In hindsight? I have some lovely memories of them, but a lot of regret and hurt that I kept to myself. I feel like I'm still dealing with the repercussions of these actions. I’m losing people now that I am not prepared to lose. Maybe because I didn’t set a boundary earlier? Maybe because I was so busy looking after them, I forgot to look after me? Maybe because every time they weren’t looking after themselves, I let my heart break a little. And now, it’s catching up. It’s too much. I didn’t set boundaries for the longest time because this was how I empathised and explained their behaviour. Perhaps that was unfair and selfish of me because now when something went wrong and the stress of it manifested itself in the form of a flare up, I called it quits. Caring hurt too much. They needed me but I decided to put my foot down, how else was I supposed to be there for me? I needed me too and my hands felt too frail. My hands were not enough to care for us all. They’re hardly enough to take care of me. All the pain in my joints has them tired. So tired. I wake up each morning with an itch to reach out to these ghosts from my life. Ghosts I left behind in a hurry. Ghosts I allowed to hurt me because I didn’t know how to stop them, maybe I didn’t want to stop them. I want to learn to be better. To unlearn caring so recklessly, to being more cautious. To evenly dividing it among everyone. But would it even be me? Would they be caring hands if they measured the amount of love they gave? Maybe they would be better, for everyone in this picture. But for now, they’re just not enough, All the pain in my joints has them tired...

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