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I have a complicated relationship with pride. It’s killed me and saved me, like a martyr who backs out in the last second, like a hero who kills a murderer for his own enjoyment. It’s made me scared to know how pride can make me lose all the love I’ve tried to save. I feel it knows more about me than most emotions combined. It always tells me what I’d like to hear. In the moment it never lies but obscures and bends the truth to fit the demons that dance in my brain, exclaiming the exciting yet invalid realization of “how can i feel pain if i simply don’t care!” It covers me like my favorite sweater, with holes and tears where people came near. With some sign of life, pride gives me reasons why I can’t regret a thing even if I know better by now. Pride speaks to me in a language only I can understand, the kind I whisper that no one else can seem to hear. Pride is the wall I put up, the one stemmed from an ego built on everything I’ve lost in battles I never wanted to play. Because pride can so easily be taken away, and I crave the safety of knowing no one ever can. Pride remembers the last time I put it down for someone to come near, and how I couldn’t find it for years after. I searched in backyards and bottoms of swimming pools and inside books and under my old bed where she and I used to spend time talking. Pride enclosed her heart so I said, “I’ll be the one that shows you love now.” But she didn’t care, or maybe her pride didn’t let her. She was pride personified into a heart surrounded by walls unbreakable on earthly ground, but that’s pride speaking, maybe she just didn’t love me enough, or maybe at all. But pride knows that will never be what I want to hear, so it helps me recreate stories so they are ones I can read and not have to make disappear. And how can I hate pride when it’s saved my soul while I was drowning in fresh air, when pride was the only one who could tell for years that I was no longer the same. Now pride makes it easy to take my clothes off while caging up my heart and calling it safe. Pride says leaving in the morning makes it easiest not to care. Pride holds open doors like bright exit sings, even the ones I didn’t want to leave. But pride only survives if I choose it too, so I try to let it go, in the most peaceful way, saying I love you but I no longer need you here. But how do I give up something that’s the only one who knows the pain it’s told me for years no one else wants to hear. But maybe my relationship with pride isn’t so complicated, maybe it’s just me trying so hard not to let go of it. Because I can’t forget how pride helped me stand on shaky grounds, but I also can’t neglect how it was exactly what got me there.

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