This is the story of a girl who doubted herself.

Who didn’t trust him at age six. Who compared him to a rattlesnake once.

Who can still pull up the memory of that shocked face–the way she turned around in the car, while driving no less, and the look of horror when that eight year old voiced the comparison…one she’d mulled over saying for weeks.

Who had panic attacks on planes, because something had to be broken to feel that distant about a family that never did anything well, bad.

Who is an adult now.

Who feels too adult.

But adults get praised for having boundaries. For being so perceptive, for handling it so well. Even as they think, what’s changed? 

And it’s that adult woman with boundaries and understanding and maturity, who sometimes hates that word, because she was used to be mature enough to use big words, but not mature enough to talk about who belonged in the circle of people who knew about her life.  It’s that woman who wants to find the six year old, the eight year old, the ten year old girl who thought she was wrong, who doubted her feelings. Who thought something was wrong in her. And she wants to just hold her.

To say that yes, you’re doing the right thing. That you can create an entire persona, that you can protect yourself and feel numb and cold and someday it’ll be as if the happiness dial suddenly turned all the way up.

That it won’t feel like having a home, but it will feel like freedom. And that in a decade, in three thousand, six hundred and fifty two days, there will be friends who become family, who ask how therapy went, who wrap blankets around you when you’re anxious and wrap you in hugs because they know you. Who ask if you want company when they see the caller ID, who will let you show up on the doorstep.

And that when things start to be okay, when it starts being brave and not mean to say ‘He didn’t care. He doesn’t want to know me.’ the adult woman will be angry on behalf of the eight year old who knew.


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