Once / Numb

There is a ceiling to my happiness, a roof to my joy
There’s a certain amount of passion and splendour I’m allowed to feel
I have a quota of excitement that I must not exceed each day

Once, when I was young, I could sob until my chest heaved dry and empty, shouting at the gods that I do not deserve such exquisite pain
Once, I could celebrate to the moon, create fireworks inside my body and send them outward, shine with my smile and red in my cheeks and beams of light in my eyes like I was a star itself
Once, I could mix surprise and grief
joy
sorrow
fear
flirtation
smug petty low dirty
proud pure clean good happy feelings
I could create a painting, a mixture of high low happy sad
And I felt each one with great and shocking and abandon
I was a map of emotions, you could chart a course on my face from here to there, A to B, pain to calm to exhilaration to frustration and back again
Once I could feel: fully, elaborately, and truly

Now I am numb
Now I can take bite-sized pieces of happy between my teeth
I can lick crumbs of grief from the end of the spoon
I can slurp the tiniest dewdrops of surprise and satisfaction from the end of the straw

But there is a limit
where once
there was none

Once I could feel.

Now I am numb.

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