Friends with Benefits Anxiety Poem – Jae Nichelle's s ode to anxiety

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Photo for the anxiety poem by Jae Nichelle 'Friends with Benefits.' A very arty shot of a woman painted half yellow and half black with each of her hands touching the opposite cheek.

Friends With Benefits - Anxiety Poem

Jae Nichelle

Jae Nichelle’s Friends With Benefits anxiety poem is re-published from jaenichelle.com with the kind permission of Jae. Read the original Jae Nichelle anxiety poem text and watch the video of Jae Nichelle’s live performance below.

My anxiety and I have what some would call a friends with benefits relationship.


We have no love for each other but she still just


fucks with me sometimes you know? 



She and I moved in together some years ago.


We have inside jokes.


Like when I say “I’m gonna go talk to that person over there”


my anxiety looks at me and is like “bitch, please” 



My anxiety is the reason I didn’t talk to you.


She’s possessive.


She doesn’t like me talking to other people. 




She’s irrational.


Because of her


I’ll take the long way to my building to avoid someone I’ve passed already


Because I don’t know the limit on how many times you can say “hey–” 



Because of her


I don’t correct servers who get my order wrong at restaurants I just eat it


because maybe sweet potato fries are what I wanted


But the broccoli you gave me is what I needed? Thank you. 

Because of her


I’ll take the long the way to my building to avoid someone


who kind of looked like my ex-boyfriend.


Because when I hand her the aux cord,


She makes sure to play back all the times


He told me no one else would ever want me 



Because of her


I still think no one else will ever want me 

I constantly wonder


What happens to a black girl who is too anxious


To ever feel like magic?


Can she still be fly


with wings that tremble?


Can she forget the lifestyle of an ant?


The fear that no matter what she does she is in danger of being crushed


What I’m trying to say is


My anxiety doesn’t like to be made into metaphors


but she is constantly reminding me of how easy I am to crush. 



As I speak,


I am pushing against her weight on my shoulders


and that is why I shake sometimes. 



I have to fight


To stand up straight


To stop rocking 



She and I picked out this outfit together. Something that dries fast. 



If I am sweating


It is because standing on this stage


Is like fighting a boxing match that you can’t even see


and I am determined to knock her out.


I’ve been fighting her for control of our house, for years.


fighting to not crack


Stop rocking.


Dont shake.


Breathe. 



I think


the reason that my relationships don’t work out


is because no one knows they’re signing up for a threesome 



I understand.


I know how hard it is to live with both of us. 



When we don’t like feeling out of control.


we don’t handle conflict well


we don’t handle being yelled at well 


everything you say to us will be repeated and deconstructed in our head a million times after


and if I am silent for a while,


it is because I have to fight with her before I can fight with you.


I have tried to cut her off before.


I cannot. 



We do not handle separation well.


Because of our parents,


I mean our ex


I mean our friends 



Breathe.


So I guess


My anxiety and I just learned to live together. 



She is the longest relationship I have ever had.


She is the only relationship I can count on. 

Friends With Benefits Anxiety Poem by Jae Nichelle

Jae Nichelle’s Friends With Benefits anxiety poem is re-published from jaenichelle.com with the kind permission of Jae. 

Caption:

What happens to a black girl who is too anxious To ever feel like magic? can she still be fly with wings that tremble? Can she forget the lifestyle of an ant? The fear that no matter what she does she is in danger of being crushed | Photo ©Mike Orlov / Adobe Stock

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