Stock photographed lives.

Sometimes when I close my eyes and dig my fingers ever so slightly into my scalp I have a moment of calm. You know the cliche, calm before the storm. I take a suppressed breath against the mountain sitting on my lungs and try to heave it up just to get a moment, a moment.

Then my eyes can stand the darkness no longer. My lungs can wait no longer and I exhale and a storm floods into my eyes and water fills my lungs and I choke.

I choke because I realize just how much I have to do, just how much I dread doing it, and that I am locked inside this hamster wheel. Where do they get the inspiration for all of those clothing and beauty ads where people are loving life, the sun always shines on a positive world that makes you feel like if you shelter yourself in American Eagle clothing that same sun will shine on you? If art is imitation as Plato claimed, where are they getting this imitation? Where is this happiness they are imitating? Because I’ve seen none of it.

The streets they walk down freely, in shorts that make their legs look long and form-flattering shirts, with free flowing hair, are dirty and filled with rude people rushing because their lunch hours are ending at which point they’ll be chained to a mediocre job they detest in order to pay a mortgage.

Where is this world they’re imitating? Because the only voices I hear are bill collectors and the only world I am seeing is one of demands.

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