Who I Want to Be

“I can be anyone I want to be,” they told me.

But I wanted not to be me, to be someone stronger, and I tried.

I ran my mouth until I pushed my friends away, and I looked strong, but I was lonely.

Then I wanted to be someone stoic, who didn’t feel pain.

So I squeezed my heart, wrung out the feelings until I felt no pain, but I lost my joy as well.

I wanted to be someone with a family who was kind, and I struggled.

I squinted and strained and crossed my eyes, until I couldn’t see their flaws and more until I couldn’t see my pain.

“I could be anyone I wanted to be,” they said, and I wanted to be someone else, but they lied. And now I need to make peace with the truth:

I can only be me.

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