The first thing I remember loving was my cat-
My first best friend.
And my baby brother,
And dinosaurs.
I loved my stuffed animals,
And worms on the sidewalk.
I loved the people in movies,
And cried when they got hurt.
I loved the tree at the park across the street,
Where I learned how to climb.
Where I got sap on my clothes and cobwebs in my hair.
Where I felt free, and brave, and strong.
I loved to run until I couldn't breathe.
I wanted to fly, and that felt pretty close.
I was faster than the fastest boy at our school.
We raced and raced, and I beat them all every time,
But it was okay, because I didn't count.
Anyway, he got me back freshman year.
He took my sketchbook and finished my drawing,
And stole a kiss I didn't want to give.
I was nauseous for a week.
When I finally told my mom about it,
She laughed.
Something about it being "cute" that I was so upset about something so small.
I don't think they meant to hurt me.
Sometimes when I was little, my dad would catch me crying in my room.
When I couldn't tell him why,
He'd get frustrated.
Call me a selfish, spoiled, little brat,
Who never cared about anyone but myself.
Later he'd hug me and cry,
Say he didn't mean to start a fight.
I wonder if the man who raped me
Meant to do it?
I wonder if he planned it,
I wonder if he knew what he was doing while he was doing it,
I wonder if he regrets it.
How many times does someone you love get to hurt you?
How many times do you owe them forgiveness?
I used to love the way it felt to shave my head.
I used to love my eyebrows, and my peach fuzz upper lip.
I used to love the Goodwill wardrobe that taught me what comfortable felt like.
My mom would ask things like;
"Do you try to make yourself unattractive because you're afraid of men?"
And tell me I looked like I had cancer,
And I was making her sad.
And buy me acne pads and razors for christmas.
I still love those things,
But now, they hurt, too.
How much is love supposed to hurt?
How many times can you make a mistake
Before it becomes a choice?
How much suffering do I have to swallow to pay them back?
For bringing me into the world,
For having food and a bed,
For all the ways it wasn't worse?
How much guilt should I carry in my heart
For the pieces of myself I couldn't mold into the shapes they'd hoped for,
And all of the pain that's caused them?
Do I have to choose between destroying myself
And breaking their hearts?
Is that how to love someone?
I don't know the rules anymore
When I was little, I loved everything.
And I loved everyone.
It was so easy.
I wonder if I'll ever love myself.
I wonder if I'll ever earn that
I wonder why I have to
I wonder if it will hurt
I wonder if it's worth it


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