I can feel my heart collapsing. I can feel it failing. I can feel my heart closing. There is an uncomfortable tension in the muscles that protect my upper ribcage. At times I stretch my arms behind me; an attempt to loosen and open, to soften these pectoral muscles into their correct working order. And they slowly tighten forward again. A twisted wall of built up lactic acids. A barrier between me and the cold so that my heart might conserve its normal functions. They ache regularly, these muscles. My sluggish heart beats away behind this dense barricade. My extremities are numb. And interaction always seems so daunting. And vulnerability always seems so perilous. And happiness always feels like such a tall order. And I can’t remember the last time I danced for anything. I can’t remember the last time I danced authentically, with a genuine intention to move for the sake of my own body. These muscles are stiff. They are unrelenting in their complaints. Every day I wake up to a new restricted movement that I adapt to. I am an adaptive creature, on move with the flow of life. And life’s disappointments. And life’s accomplishments. And life’s loves. And life’s disorder. And life’s challenges. And life’s developments. And life’s surprises. And at the base of it all, karma. And what goes around comes around in a very realistic and down-to-earth sense. This is not spirituality, it’s common sense. When you put shit out, you get shit. When you put positivity out, you get positivity. And this is how everything progresses and will always progress. And at what point does this all become progress? Progress is an accumulation and a building off of; at its base, appropriation. The argument will always be, have you manipulated enough for this to be progress or are you purely appropriating. Appropriation is simple; you are taking somebody else’s jam and calling it your own. Progress is taking somebody else’s jam and making it your own but bringing new light and turning the same thing into something entirely different. And where do we draw the line? Is there one, or is the simple fact of time passing an acceptable factor in the classification of progress? This has become something else. A brief distraction from the pain that has settled deep into these knotted muscles. I find that I cannot even stretch anymore. I move nowhere. My fingers are numb and my mind has run away again, left me behind. I am spiraling. I am entirely cut off and entirely drowning in the physical. This reality has personified and held me hostage. As I gargle blood, the world claps a hand over my mouth and forces me to swallow. And with my stomach curdling and turning in on itself, I have momentary clear realizations, flashes, that I have been gifting everything I have that makes me alive to a void, expecting it to give something back if I just give enough. And I am empty.