I still remember the day I realized, truly realized, that life had no restart button. For a smart kid, I was surprisingly good at detaching myself from reality.

I sat, in my father's cigarette-smoke-filled recliner, talking on that off-white, corded phone to Gabe. He was my soon-to-be boyfriend, or my ex-boyfriend, or whatever the fuck we were for that year. We were discussing his ex-girlfriend and her past, a rare moment in which he was not speaking derisively of her. He told me of her father and the sexual abuse she'd endured, and despite the fact that my entire life was littered with abuse, that I grew up in the eighties and nineties with after-school specials and VERY SPECIAL EPISODES teaching my peers and I to tell a trusted adult if we were harmed, this information shocked me. The living room almost seemed to spin in the dusk, and the rock, the one that had somehow bounced around inside of me for years as the constant barrage of food and music protected me from accepting its presence, finally hit the pit of my stomach and shook me. From a young age, I'd fought against various injustices on the playground and at home, desperately wanting to heal the wounds of my life, the lives of other children, and of the world. Yet until that night at the age of sixteen, I had never allowed it all to truly connect.

Looking back, I suppose that conversation is what triggered the crumbling of the wall I'd put up in order to survive the reality of my own life, a wall that I keep thinking is completely down but seems to magically edify itself again on a regular basis, if at a shorter stature.
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