I remember thinking, I will do it all on my own. I don’t need anyone.

Always making survival plans. Always protecting little-me. The teenager didn’t want to make those plans constantly. She wanted help.

But no one came, in the way she needed.

Why is no one coming? I remember wondering. Followed by the regular flood of reasons why I must not be good enough.

One time I overheard my dad say, we’ve never needed to worry about her. Feelings of pride shot through me, quickly followed by overwhelming sadness. I am so lonely. It’s always going to be like this.

My only choice was to survive. I didn’t know that’s what I was doing then. But it seems rather obvious in hindsight.

Teen-me thinks she must do life alone. She doesn’t want your hugs. Or your empty promises. She wants to keep protecting the terrified little girl inside of her at all costs.

Teen-me does not know safety for herself.

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