I. You tell me you know what’s best for me. You dissect my past, discuss my present and predict my future. You confine me within your walls – your narrow institutions without windows. You tell me how to live your life, when to respire and expire. You dictate your code of conduct, tell me what to say, impose your will upon my mind. You even decide what I should think. You expose my mistakes, revel in my failure and feast on my sorrow. I ask you, O self-appointed ruler of my life, tread lightly on my mind.
II. You say friendship is the tie that binds; that nothing can break the cords of our union. But you strangle me with those cords. You need me to hold your hand, be your therapist and cheer you on endlessly. You expect me to pour out my innermost being, to lay bare my deepest feelings on a platter, so that you can serve it to the whole world. You say you admire me, that you respect me; but where is your reverence for my privacy? An open duel is fair enough, but stabbing me from behind is not my idea of friendship. I entreat you, O self-serving friend of mine, tread lightly on my emotions.
III. ‘Blood runs thicker than water’ you say. Yours must be diluted because it runs shallow and false. So, you fed me, nurtured me from a shrieking, wailing infant to this confused, insecure, torn and disillusioned Self that I am today. You say my loyalty lies with you, and I ask what you have done to deserve it. You want to own me, chain me with your expectations, live out your dreams through my life; never liberating, never satiated. I beg of you, O self-satisfied predecessors of mine, tread lightly on my path.
IV. You tell me you love me. You define love the way you see it – on your own terms. You partake of me, you drain me, you abandon me, you leave me bereft, spent and alone. You want me to nourish your ego, to bow down to your dictates, to feed your ever-greedy lust for instant gratification. Well, what if I believe love should give as well as take? And I plead with you, O my self-styled amour, tread lightly on my heart.
V. Finale. You say you care, but you spare me not. You judge and weigh me on your scales and find me wanting; you trample me in the dust, and leave me bruised, broken and battered. You swarm over me, you pick me clean – like vultures over a prey – leaving only the spoils; and when I need you, you desert me, you treat me like an infectious virus. And thus, I ask you, O self-seeking, self-deluding, self-destructive, suffocating but necessary thorn in my flesh, tread lightly on my soul.