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My World This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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My dad has a severe case of dementia. The decline usually takes two to five years. His case looks more like two.

Right now, his mental ability is like that of a three-year-old. He's 54 and looks 84. He gave up on life 20 years ago when he had cancer. Now he's got another disease, and all he wants is pity.

And taking care of my dad … it's like taking care of a body, a body that you know, but has a stranger in it. He becomes less of my dad every day. In fact, he isn't my dad anymore.

Just … I wish I could have had time with my dad. Never really did. I can't remember. I was never there to see him being him.

I guess I'm just unlucky.

To the people who don't understand what's happening, I'll say it plainly. My dad doesn't know who I am.

My sisters and I are a set of three, but I lost my individuality a long time ago, and so did they. No matter what difference there is between us – hair color and weight, height or age – for him, there's no difference.

I'm anything but “Dorothy” to him.

I'm just another person to boss around.

Do you have any idea how depressing it is to have your father, your own father who has been with you since the moment you where born, look at you and ask “Which one are you?”

Do you have any idea how depressing it is?

It doesn't seem fair.

It's not fair.

Why don't I get anything in return? With all I've dealt with, I deserve a whole lot, but everything I get – a friend, a comfort – falls apart in my hands.

This is what I'm stuck with.

I can't really make friends because I ­always expect too much from them. I'm waiting, just waiting for some hero, some dashing anyone to take me away from this hell I call home.

Can I even call it home anymore?

It's not home when I'm scared every second I'm there.

But that's why I expect so much.

Because I found a way out.

The only way – a door. The one that is not under our noses but guiding us, the one that everyone has but only few actually use. It's so obvious, so amazingly, painstakingly obvious, and yet it took me so long for it to think of itself.

My mind.

I enter my world, my own world. Thoughts and images, pictures, words, phrases: it's beautiful there, and it's mine. It's an escape. I'd take you with me, and now I am, the only way I can, by putting down these words and phrases that race around beside each other in my world of what could or could not be, of nightmares and dreams – and a wild, wild imagination.

I'm never giving up my escape.

Yet the more I escape, the more lost I am in the real world.

The people in my mind are caring and helpful. They know what to do and they'll do whatever they can to fix the things about me that are broken. I put my faith in them, these imaginary, wonderful people, and I expect, think, and believe that everyone is like this.

But the world is a cruel place.

And I plunge back into it, finding my escape every time I begin to drown. Each time, it's harder for the kindness to stitch me up, and each time I'm more broken, more rough around the edges.

But I keep trying, keep leaving to get broken again.

Maybe one day I won't be able to fix myself, and no one else will.

Not my sisters.

Not my mom.

And especially not my dad.

He's the thing I'm escaping from, and I'm never coming back.

Not until I've fixed myself again.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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EricaPersolutaThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
today at 9:50 pm:
Thank you for sharing your experience. After your honesty in this article, I can't lie and pretend to know how you're feeling or promise everything will be okay. I can say I am sorry for the trials you are undergoing, and I hope you can find some friends to help in the mending of your boken heart; through the honesty, emotions, dedication, and kindness you've displayed through this article, I can tell you are a great girl who deserves some support from some equally amazing people.
 
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