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not the story of my youth

I never knew why I was born
besides the usual facts and
the usual suspects
my parents

not even God
nor Buddha
nor Allah
nor the Great Spirit
nor the wise man of the street
nor a whispering cat
has given me
a satisfactory explanation

I was so quiet as a child
mainly I was weary of
explaining myself
there were just too many words
not enough understanding
no adult was listening
though they demanded many answers themselves

I wasn't all that important
but fixing me was

in another version of my life
I have said I was my Mother's vanity project
not so
there so little of pride she had in me
it was more improvement and expectation
I loved her any way
or rather, I hoped she would come to love me

being the first born I ought to have been a blip
on my Father's radar
the first grandchild
but alas the wrong gender
I got a good sturdy name
like an insect who is persistent
I had to be

there were trips to the diet doctors
and trips to camp to loose weight
while other little girls rode horses
I recall how a friend who weighed more than I
named a pony after her favorite horse in a book
I kicked dirt into the sloppy joes and added onions
when the other campers cried foul
they gobbled up dirt and all anyhow
and I got bit by a rabid garter snake for my willfulness

the first trip to the counselor was the last
cleverly I drew large black clouds, black sky. black sun
at six I was cleverer than someone who was thirty-one
in the end I painted a rainbow that spanned the page
I don't know if I was six times smarter or just more
manipulative for someone my age

I had insights into how I might better spend my time
I'd load my bike with necessary supplies and
take a long dark ride
out into the deepest most southern part of town
camp beside a river but not so close so I would fall in
read or draw by flashlight until I wore myself out
it was a better alternative to being afraid of noises in the dark
than in my home

it didn't get much better as I grew up
my Mother volunteered me for social amusements
and self improvements and such
she was the leader of my campfire group
and every Wednesday I did all I could
to avoid attending as a willing member
of this misbegotten troupe

I'd play King of the Hill
and kick a rock or can
and dally and tarry as long as
any little girl can
I'd find long cuts not short cuts
to avoid the bullies going my way
through allies and between houses
and fences along the way

they always got me when I got home
or broke a favorite toy
or tore a book or
stole something from my room
my Mother found fault with me
and not with them
if I had been a more popular girl
and not so difficult
and oh please be more like them

in the beginning when I was born
it was in a storm
I nearly came into the world in the back of a cab
my Father wanted a son
my Mother suffered 58 hours when she was done
and they all missed Christmas
because of my inopportune timing
I was merely priming them
for the years to come

but how I wished
how I wanted
to not be one belonging to anyone
at times
I cannot count the times
I told complete strangers
I was an orphan instead
and in that moment I felt free...

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August 8 2017 8:49 pm PST
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and also for this writer Melissa A. Howells
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Meloo Straingt From Her Tilt-a-World

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not the story of my youth