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I Before You

By , San Francisco, CA

As I sat in the car on the way home from the cross country finals, you told me I had a problem: I didn’t know how to love. I made mistakes. I lied. I kept secrets. And you convinced me that there was something wrong with me. You convinced me that since I kept things from you, I was now a pathological liar. And you took that upon yourself to fix. I didn’t need fixing.

As I sat on the couch in the therapists office tears streaming off my cheeks, I learned to make a big deal out of nothing. I learned to play the victim. To blame his addiction on my insomnia and lack of appetite. I learned to phrase the story to admit some blame but the sort of blame that victimizes. As in the case of a boy running across a street and getting hit by a drunk driver, you wouldn’t really blame the dead child.

As you lectured me in the car ride home about my relationships, I learned to swallow my tongue and wait for the storm to pass. You thought you knew what I was doing, how I felt, why I did the things I was doing. I sat there biting my cheek not to cry as you told me that I didn’t deserve any real kind of love, that I had forfeited my right to it. You broke me.

You have been through a lot, I understand that and your strength astounds me. But do not place your past baggage upon my shoulders simply because I ceased to be the daughter you wanted me to be. But I don’t need fixing, I am just still learning. I am not a victim, I just make mistakes. You did not break me, I’m just now learning to love myself.






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