In the corner, I sit, backstage,
small and scared of the world around me.
I don't want to move, for fear that
I will go far, far away and
never come back.
I want no one to look at me
because I feel in danger of
hateful gazes and wicked glares.
I just want to hide and stay safe,
stay where it's warm.
On the stage, I stand a woman,
the same girl, only dressed in costume
and putting on a show.
I grin devilishly and look at
every single member of the audience,
even though inside, I'm being torn apart
with scopophobia--fear of their eyes,
of their judgement, their hatred.
I play with fire, dare it to
brush my skin and burn me,
to turn my skin to ashes,
and I pretend I'm not worried.
I scream and yell to the crowd
things I don't mean, because if
I said what I really thought,
it couldn't be anymore
than a whisper.