About the Author
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I was born in the middle of July, at 10 pounds and 4 ounces. Like most newborns, I came out red, lumpy, and covered in various bodily fluids. My grandmother liked to joke about how my mother came out the same way, all wrinkly and purple. My mother, like my grandmother when she was born, did not want to hold me.

I won't beat around the bush: I come from a family of addicts. Heroin, meth, coke, alcohol, you name it, I've had a family member go to rehab for it. Now, this isn't to say my entire life is angsty and depressing, it's just that I have very few stories to tell when excluding that information. It’s funny, when people ask me about myself, I tell them about my family. I feel indebted to them, that they sacrificed so much for me, that they struggled for me. Oftentimes it feels like I owe it to them to succeed, to fulfill every dream they couldn't, to do everything in their honor. Other times I feel like I should be absolutely vile and soul crushingly disappointing. Sometimes it feels like a birthright. Being a child of addicts, there's a very small window you must fit into in order to try and grasp at respectability. You have to be the perfect victim, never lashing out, never arguing, never complaining, never lying, and never ever displaying any of your parents' traits. You must be able to be normal with other people, love them casually and not as if one day they'll get up and disappear. You must never let anyone know you think about that possibility constantly. You must never beg not to be abandoned, and you must never leave prematurely, running from what seems like obvious pain to no one but you. You must be articulate, you must be smarter than all your peers, you must be the exception, an inspiration. I say all of this only to say that I've spent so long chasing after an ideal that I've lost myself in the process, more than once.

I am eight years old, sitting on my porch in my navy blue school uniform, covered in mosquito bites. It's dusk, and my mother told me she'd be here 3 hours ago. I’m not sure why I'm still on the porch, as I'd accepted that she wasn't coming ages ago. Maybe if I sit here a bit longer, in this limbo between acceptance and hope, I'd find her. Maybe she’d hear the anxious bouncing of my knee from wherever she was and come back, apologizing for being so late. Maybe. The loud screech of the screen door startles me from my thoughts, and I look behind me to see my grandmother, holding a peanut butter sandwich and a CapriSun. As I sit with her and eat, peanut butter clinging to the roof of my mouth, something shifts. A forceful push towards acceptance. She wraps her arm around me, trying to convey something that neither of us had the words for yet.

Don’t get me wrong, I was a very difficult child. Strange and opinionated, argumentative and angry. I was angry at everything, at my parents and politicians and teachers. Unfortunately, being a short unathletic 15 year old doesn't leave you with a lot of ways to express that. I picked at my skin mostly, the evidence of my resentment for the world culminating in bloody holes in my face. And of course, like many teenage girls, I was a bitch. I remember the time my dad was yelling at me for something I can't remember, and I was yelling back, maybe trying to defend myself at some point. Then, I look at him, and I tell him I wish he'd never gotten sober. After the initial shock wears off, there's a brief moment where his face just drops. It's the most devastated I've ever seen him, and for a moment, he looks 20 years younger. He looks vulnerable. A part of me swells with a sick pride. The moment was short lived, obviously, and I got my door taken off the hinges for that little outburst.

Anyways, I couldn't tell you exactly what kind of person I am now, as I'm certain about very little, but I can tell you that I'm trying to change, in several respects. I want to be kinder, I want to be smarter, I want to be more vulnerable and less vulnerable and skinnier and funnier, but most importantly, I want to learn to stop wanting so much. I want to know and love me. Furthermore, despite not being sure about anything, I am certain that my favorite color is green.

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