(no, it doesn't rhyme)

i can't count the number of times i've been treated like the worst piece of shit child on the planet, deserving of less than nothing
i can't count

it was so regular an occurrence that i didn't know until very recently that it wasn't normal or acceptable
i thought it was normal

i've never cried from happiness before
turns out it feels much the same as crying from sadness
or maybe that's because it's both right now
either way,
i've never cried from happiness,

i'm so happy
i'm terrified of suddenly losing everything, as is common in people who have, indeed, lost everything, over and over
but i'm so happy

i feel more like me now
i like myself, now
i'm proud of myself and my accomplishments, now
i feel like me
i like me

thank you
i hope you know
just how much it means
and how you've changed my world and life in ways i never could've imagined
i didn't see it coming
i couldn't have asked for more

"Engagement in the community can be pivotal in a young person's life."

October 2, 2019