Becoming You

Dad, they say money is the root of all evil, clearly they’ve never met you.
You’re a different breed; a quiet kind of vile. You’re water that creeps to a boil
and I’m the guileless toad. Dad, they say little girls everywhere
fall in love with their fathers
I didn’t realize that I was falling in love with your absence. The hole you left in my heart burned black
and with a singed soul
I looked for your approval in every boy I’ve ever loved. There’s a reason I repel validation.
I grew up thinking neglect was beautiful,
that one sided love was the only kind of love.

Dad, Your poison is embedded
into my DNA.
Despite countless efforts,
I’ll never rid myself of your toxicity. I’ve spent lifetimes justifying

the fact that you treat doormats with more respect than you do me.

Dad, you’ve made a mess of me.
I used to be afraid of the dark
because all of my worst monsters looked and sounded like you.
I used to be afraid of silence
because I didn’t know what to expect when you weren’t screaming. In fact, I used to be afraid of every sound I made,
I thought my giggles were gunshots.
I thought I was afraid of me.
You said I was afraid of everything,
just like mom.

It took me seventeen years to realize I am afraid of becoming you.

By Deirdre

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