My life has been lived backwards,like a subsequent story of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. I can’t quite remember a moment when I made the distinction between child and adult, in the same way I can’t recall my fourth birthday party. My so-called “childhood” memories are so entangled with court cases, custody wars,letters sent back and forth between various base camps. I have been my sister’s keeper for as long as I can remember, telling her to brush her teeth more times than our mother. We are half-siblings. I went to six different elementary schools, becoming better friends with my teachers than my classmates. The only “child-like” part of my growing up was the books lined on my shelf;Fantasy,Science Fiction, Romance,but there wasn’t much time to dwell on these stories when rent was due in a few days and my sister hadn’t even started the homework that was due on the teacher’s desk yesterday.Lighten up.Relax.Don’t be so concerned.These were, are, foreign concepts. But I’m learning. I am now twenty-one years old, and I am learning, for the first time in my life, to play,to speak, to breathe. I am learning that there is time. There is freedom and happiness and joy. Not everything has to be so somber. There is something to gain from gentle living, from finding inner peace and taking time to contemplate about all that is magical and lovely in this world. Don’t break your tenderness. Don’t let this world, these circumstances, your pain harden your heart. I wish I could go back and whisper these things to myself. I am learning that people are good, people can change and everyone deserves love. Including myself.