“I am not my weakness”

Recently I’ve found myself telling stories about you, the man responsible for the last name I want to shed, hundreds of bedtime lullabies and my antipathy to loud noises. I’ve found myself with words on my face that tell you what I hate most about myself, that I still miss you and that I shouldn’t.

I spent four years of high school writing terrible poetry that chronicled the many shades of red your face turned when you yelled and I spent the summer of my eighteenth year being tutored alongside fifth graders, making up for it. I smiled at the first boy to give me your love, grew my hair to my elbows for him and cut it all off when he disappeared with my smile on his face. I learned my voice talking to the twenty two therapists you brought me to, and my teachers used to say I was “expressive” but not “emotive”. And still, I missed you.

I wake up in the morning now to your brown eyes in the mirror and I want to ask you if you started going gray at twenty, too. I do my homework to the songs you used to sing me to sleep with and I remember being too scared to ask you to strum a little quieter. Everything about you was too loud and I spent the next ten years having to repeat myself because they said I spoke too softly, still trying to make up for all the quiet you disturbed.

I mourn you and I miss you, and while you are perhaps