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This is How

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I’ve tried so many times to escape my own body: in other bodies, in bottles of beer, on stage, and in my own head.

I’ve tried so hard to keep going. I’ve succeeded so far.

There is a part of me that doubts my own success. I remember the first time I wrote my thoughts down and thought to myself, “this is forever.” I also remember the first time I doubted myself. I was too young, but already too big for the world. I was already being told I didn’t belong by every man that catcalled me while walking down the street in my too short high school uniform skirt. By the stories of college student rape in the news. By the way my mother never seemed satisfied with how I looked or what I wore.

When I was a little girl I was such a daddy’s girl. I would follow him wherever we went. I’d wait till he came to pick up, fake sleeping so that I could inhale the sweet smell of his cigar breath as he kissed my cheek good night.

Daddy.

Safety.

The first time I actually conceived my mother’s drinking as being what it was, I cringed.  I asked my school counselor how to help the woman who had brought me into this world, and she said, “Tell the truth.”

Like it was that easy. Was it?

The first time I lied, it was to get attention from a girl I liked. The second time was because I wasn’t sure of who I was and I was seeking some kind of refuge. By the third, I lost count of my “whys”.

Fast forward to now, and I’m honest.  I am good. Today, someone thanked me for writing these words and I almost didn’t and then I just knew I had to. Come back to basics. Come back here. Keep going. As if there is another choice for me.

This is how I keep breathing.

Here and now.

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