My mother was not loving. As a child, I was loved, but she was not loving. I don’t remember hugs and kisses. Perhaps they stopped as soon as I was old enough to comprehend love and affection on a cognitive scale. I always felt like a nuisance. Like I was in the way; not doing something correctly. My mother didn’t beat me, although she slapped me a few times. I think I deserved them all. I threw a tantrum once in a store. My one act of rebellion as a child. I was terrified of my mother, but I did it anyways. She would get this fire in her eyes when she was mad at me…it almost said “You know better.” I wanted a bunny rabbit stuffed animal. I still don’t know if she ended up buying it for me because everyone in the store was staring at me, feeling sorry for me as my mom hauled my sad, tear streaked ass up to the cash registers, but she went back and she got that damn bunny and I slept with it for 5 years. That was one of the few acts of kindness I can remember from my mom.

When we moved into her best friends house because we were broke and homeless, I met my second mother. She was one of the most amazing women I have ever met. She was kind, and strong and beautiful. And she knew everything. One time my stomach hurt really bad and I didn’t want to tell my mom because I knew she would get mad at me. I went to sit by the swimming pool and put my feet in. Lisa was outside too and asked me what was wrong. “Stomach hurts” I said as I doubled over in pain. She told me to fold as much of myself over towards the pool as I could. “It’s probably just gas but it can hurt a lot sometimes.” It went away within 10 minutes. These are the small things I remember from my childhood. Small acts of kindness from others. They were so rare they stick out in my memory like a bookmark. A mark for a time in my life when the world wasn’t so loud. When it wasn’t so angry. When it was simpler because I didn’t know a damn thing about it.

They say the world isn’t a cruel place after all. That it just comes off that way. Like it has a chronic case of resting bitch face. But to me, when I look back, I’ve received so much cruelty from the world it almost starts to outweigh the kindness. It seems no matter where I turn there’s someone waiting to belittle….to disrespect…to try and make me feel small. I am small. I am a dot on this planet. But like every other dot, I feel. I think. I am. And if I lose that then who am I? If I lose that then I am nothing.

The moment I become a doormat is when my life ends. I am a sensitive person. Overly empathetic to some standards. A completely hopeless romantic that doesn’t believe in love. I am all of that and more and yet I feel like I’m nothing most of the time.

I want the world to be quiet for a damn second, so I can finally feel alive.

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