I have been learning a lot about who I am and who I have been simply by talking to my twelve year old daughter. She sees things in a very straight forward way. She asks questions about life and especially about the parts of human nature that often confuses her. Her questions are occasionally embarrassing and often thought provoking. For years I fumbled through life because I was more worried about how people saw me or the way people would react to me to allow myself the freedom of being completely comfortable in my own skin. I kept my secrets; My religion, my sexuality, my survival to myself.
Part of the reason was because I was afraid. I spoke of my abuse. I was called a liar. I was told I was crazy. A heart can only handle so many blows before it closes itself off. Then as I grew older, I found that I cared less. I surrounded myself with supporters who didn’t care about those things which seemed so bad before. That helped.
I lost the innocence my daughter has too soon. I grew cynical because I needed a defense. I still clung to my desires to be a dreamer, even as I lived in a world made of nightmares. I used the ability to read to bury myself in places where the pain was not mine. I used the ability to write to speak with impunity my fear and struggle. After all, my poems didn’t have to be what I was. At twelve, I tried to run away from home for the second time. For my daughter, home is where she is certain of the fact that she is loved. I am proud of that fact. She still has many of the issues I had in dealing with her peers. She is very mature for her age, so she doesn’t understand conversation topics that amuse them. Also she has the same lack of filter I do. If it is on her mind, she speaks it. Yet for all that we are alike, her mind is far quicker than mine. She has a brilliant sense of humor and more self confidence than I ever did.