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  • I am 8 years old. I am constantly aware that I want my mother to love me. I have been sitting in my room and inspecting myself in a mirror. Am I ugly? Am I bad? Can she see my badness? I do this every day and I still can't put a finger on the reasons why I don't exist. that is me in the mirror, right? Maybe I am insane. Anyway, I smell something cooking and I wonder what we are having for dinner. I smooth my hair off of my face because I know my mother hates it when it's messy.

    I am standing beside her. She moves away from me a few inches. I am a germ. In fact I am a petri dish to her. I can't remember the last time she touched me, held me, even spoke to me unless it was in curt response to a question. She is beyond cold- her emotions, her affectations, her responses are in a deep freeze. She is becoming agitated that I am not leaving. Her icy blast as she puts down her paring knife and stares at the counter is so palpable that I shiver. She asks me what I want. What I want is for her to tell me that she sees me, recognizes me as her own and that maybe she loves me somewhere deep down. I tell her I am just wondering what's for dinner. Porkchops. Oh. Can I help? No. Can I watch? No. Do you love me? Silence.

    In my room I sit in front of the mirror again. I am not looking at myself though. I am unlovable. I don't want to see the girl who is so bad, so irritating, so disgusting. I wrap the dish towel that I absently slipped from the kitchen around my hand and lash at the mirror. It shatters into hundreds of hideous images of me. I am multiplied and it is repulsive and shocking. I had hoped to make myself invisible and instead I am left with a collage of images that make me wretch with disgust. There is only one thing to do.

    The glass is a scalpel as it carves into my skin. I am performing an operation. I am fixing the ugliness. This is something I think I could get good at and I like how it makes me feel- I am successful. I am excited, I am curious- I feel things I have never felt before- I am in control. I am an artist as I carve my graffiti- words like "WHORE" and "BITCH". The most saturated color appears in bubbles and then rivulets and I am in love with my masterpiece. My inner thigh is a mixed media collage of burns and blood. Why have I never thought to do this before? I am a genius. I am a genius because now I don't have to feel anything anymore. But if I want to I can feel the joy of my secret and the power of my own device. I have found my niche. Who cares about anything else.
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