Lies My Momma Told Me

I wish I could draw a portrait--
            Two smiling faces,
            Brows without fray or concern.

   The little girl hasn't smiled in years.
           Hasn't found the will to exist outside of herself.
         She trembles at the idea of connection--
            afraid of the outside world
                                                  Of noise.
    She guards herself, despite her age
    Stuck in her youth
               Unable to enjoy simple pleasures and whims.
        I am a mother to my past
                    A rich expanse of anxiety and depression.
         The girl weeps and I wipe the tears with
                 Compulsions and self-loathing.
What sadder a thing,
                                      than a mother unable to care for her child.
          Unable to sate fears.
           Unable to give comfort in the conundrum that is our lives.

The little girl hasn't smiled in years--
        Blank faced to every emotion,
                   Somber in the face of excitement,
        Unsure if her excitement will be met with
                   gratitude, or more pain.
             She's afraid that her feelings aren't the right ones.
          because they've never been, the right ones.
         And in that portrait, if she smiles,
                 It's not because she's happy.
                        It's because she was told she was supposed to be.

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