I compartmentalized my traumas in hopes to bury them in the mess. In hopes they’d get lost in a stack of loose leaf memories or between the lines. I labeled them “Madison Heights” and thought those 7 sq miles would keep the secrets I wasn’t ready to tell New York, a self storage for the shame I’m still not ready to feel my way through to get to the other side. The shame I don’t even speak to the therapist I pay to listen. Because acknowledgement is confirmation and what difference does the distance and determination make if I’m confirmed the daughter of a drunk who’s beat every woman he’s ever loved whether it be with words or his actual fists. A daughter with the same quick tongue and self defeating sympathy. What’s years of kindness when cruelty comes in zero to sixty, insecurities coming to light through what I’d label self preservation. Groupthink at it’s best boasting “you do what you have to do” because they can’t understand choosing to do what you want to do, that struggle isn’t always strength and that cycles aren’t broken by following what came before. But crabs in a bucket, back to the bottom we go. To a world where we struggle to see the light because it only ever signified the end of another dark period.