i am a mosaic of all my lived experiences and the choices i make, and then the people, the world which superfluously shapes this. my experience. my own. mine. something so beautiful and singular, that despite never knowing what will remain today, tomorrow, the next year, i know that this one thing will belong to me. it's a funny thing that comes with being alive, that we are our own before we can speak. i am stuck in this body. the things i like, the art i make, the food i cook, the words i form. the voice a reader will imagine. the person i am to my friends, to myself when i am alone, the person i choose to be.

dear mom,

i was born, and when this happened, i was not an offshoot, or another branch to grow off of yours. will you ever know this? have you turned away from all you do not want to be true of me for so long, for an entire lifespan, that when you look at me it will always be to marvel at your decades long construction? your mother wrapped a hand around your wrist. she clung so tight it left imprints of reddened skin, and you could not help but take another little wrist along with you. you swore, how you swore you would not, and yet you still did.

a child that loves you will nail all the boards and patch all the sails.

a child that loves you does not belong to you.

there are a thousand people who see me at a thousand different angles and i am the sum of it all and more. it is forever my own. what i can see, what i cannot see, what they know and do not know. i am parallel to everything around me. you profusely ignore each finger of yours i pry off.

i am not yours. i am not yours to you being your mother's. i wish you could let yourself breathe, and we could be parallel, too. but i do not know all of you. i can only be me.