I vaguely remember the person I used to be. I know I liked her and I know she smiled a lot without needing a reason. You know the person who’s always the life of every party? That is who she was. I guess I remember her more than I care to admit most of the time. The comparison of her and who I am now feels like losing myself all over again and it hurts like hell to remember the distance of a fall like that; you can’t go back and soften the blow of a landing that ended in a crash course lesson of who you will never be again. You’ll always want to, but you learn how to settle into the cracks of who you are now, as ugly as it is, you plant yourself deep into the dirty parts and you stay there, whether you ever grow or not. Roots like hands trying to claw their way out of a heart that never sees the light of day, you bury it deeper, smothering any chance of escape, this is home now. So I stand in the middle of this garden that has been dead for so long, wave as people walk by like everything is fine, because everything is fine. I Smile like my feet aren’t planted deep in this undoing, as though I can take off running whenever I choose, and I guess it’s believable now. The girl I used to be wouldn’t last an hour on this side. She never liked getting her feet dirty. She was pretty, but she was weak. She never had to fight for anything, had her shit together, like dreams and goals and all those things I stopped reaching for. I remember her. Always competing to be better than the day before, trying to weed out people like me who brought her down. I really hate her sometimes. I really miss her sometimes. But no sense in grieving for things in the past that can’t be changed. So I don’t. I pretend she’s dead. Because if she was still here, she would do nothing more than make me look bad, and I don’t need help with that. I do it good enough on my own. And she would say something stupid anyway like, “the sky’s the limit” without knowing my limit never was the sky, and even if it was, I wouldn’t reach for it. I already hit bottom and made myself at home here, decorated the outside to make it look perfect or normal or whatever that means anyway; it’s good enough. It keeps people from thinking I’m approachable. I like it that way. It’s safe. But I think about her from time to time, like when this garden tries to grow by sprouting some colorful bud. I know it’s her trying to come back. I crush it. Rip it out by the root and crush it some more, like it’s her smile trying to show itself, and I always say, “Not today… princess, not ever again, you had your chance and you failed.” It’s better that way. I always did feel at home in the silence, shoveling through the dirty parts she left me with, no worries of anyone stealing light that doesn’t shine anymore.