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My stress is a corset.

Each task pulls the strings tighter, crushing my lungs. I panic, grappling at the ties, trying desperately to free myself. My vision wanes, the lack of air creating a haze.

I feel hands reach out. Blindly — afraid the hands will pull the strings tighter and bring about the end — I pounce, clawing at the predator. I hear him cry out.

It’s only then I realize what I’ve done. Those hands, mysterious hands, longed to loosen the corset.

And they have.

But the hurt hands back away slowly, turning away from my hands, which can only cause harm.

The corset is gone, but the weight remains. This time, it’s not just crushing my lungs, stopping my breath.

This weight pushes me deeper into the ground, where it will leave me, alone, as it does best. The weight is a tricky beast. Sometimes, I need help to lift it. But it gets into my brain, and it makes me drive away all those who are willing to help.

The weight leaves me, alone.

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