Learned Helplessness

Each time around like a carousel

The smiling strangers like harlequins posed

A stranger turned ally turned object of desire

And another window of opportunity closed

But it’s the hope that gets us

It feeds us and propels us over glimmering melodies

And we project the future on our dreams and our instagrams

Following orders from traditional philosophies

We hold on close because the big one is coming

And we amble forwards collecting warm feelings

Promising safety and assurance, support and sex

Our difficult memories of past loves healing

But then, like a darker horse chasing our carriage

There’s two schools of thought I find ruminating

That maybe relying on someone else isn’t safe enough

Or maybe there’s other people you could be dating

And there’s fear and there’s shame

and there’s guilt and there’s blame

and there’s love and there’s desire

and there’s passivity and there’s fire

and there’s comparisons that push us away

and there’s aspirations that get us through the day

and there’s that sinking feeling that life is short

so you jump off the carousel and sit by yourself

counting your loves like they’re bullet wounds, like they’re resume points

sometimes it feels like they’re

all you have.

and you hate the way they made you feel once.

and you vow to never get on that death trap again.

Until it starts again. It’s like a whisper

like a minor melody calling you into the funhouse

And there it is again, built completely on the opinions of others

And it stands before you in red and gold splendor and Facebook pages

What are we but riders?— but ticket buyers who gaze with starry eyes at the bobbing plastic horses?— on a machine as old as time itself

And I wonder. Is getting on again where we’ll find true fulfillment?

Or is it simply learned hopelessness

This is the second in a series titled "Fake Psych" by Flannery Maney

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