Guilt? Yeah, I got that.

My mouth is my conscience. I've been grinding my teeth for half a decade. I've been fucking up my life for five years. It's no coincidence. When I'm blowing it, my mouth lets me know. When I sleep, I'm vulnerable to the best parts of me, the ones that know how I ought to be living. As it stands, my molars are flat. Like a third chair choral singer, flat. The noise is so harrowing I've woken up people next to me with the squealing of bone on bone.

Try it. Right now. Bet you can't make the sound. That's because anyone with a basic sense of self-preservation won't voluntarily subject themselves to such abuse. There are built in protections against self-flagellation. Biology is on our side. And when I'm awake, I get a free pass. Rationality, justifications, and bad faith keep my teeth safe when I'm awake. But when it's lights out, the penal correction begins. I can't escape my conscience. It was the tell-tale heart that drove Raskolnikov mad.

I don't believe in God. Believe me, I wish I did. I've fantasized about faith and purpose. Regardless, I reach down and come up empty-handed. As a result, I don't believe in traditional notions of morality. But I do know when I've hurt someone close to me, or when I'm being selfish, unfair, scheming, deceptive, cold, and ugly. When I wake up with a stiff neck and can barely talk because my jaw is exhausted from being wrenched shut for hours on end, I know what I've done. I'm not going to hell, I'll put myself through it.

It doesn't have to be heaven. I'm not asking for eternal salvation. Just to be able to fall asleep and not wake up with lockjaw. I don't know anything about right and wrong, but I want this pain to stop. Let that be my morality: to act in a way that doesn't make me grind my teeth.

I'm going take myself to my church and try and sleep.

Ring the goddamn bells; I'm taking a knee and crossing my heart.

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