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Today, I am used and tainted. Yesterday, I was young and pure.

Today, I am trapped. No roads are open to me, except the one I've always been on. Yesterday, I dreamed of going where I always wanted, of having finally arrived.

Today, I pull my baggage with me, years that cannot be escaped. Some I'm grateful for and won't abandon, to be sure, but others that are now too late to take back. Yesterday was full of open possibilities. Each choice would be a chance to build a better future, when we worked together because we were on a common road.

Today, only my children I can be sure of. Even through their anger and frustration, they are the one thing I don't want to leave behind. Yesterday, everything was so new, and so precious. Every memory was so special. Everything I wanted to keep forever.

Today, there are so many things I wish I could forget, because it hurts to think about them, yet I can't banish them from my mind whenever I pass something that used to be important to us. Yesterday, the future was all I cared about, because that was what we were building. The past was something we had already escaped and could not hurt us anymore.

Today, the past has caught up to me and has made itself known on my body and my life. The years are obvious now and I struggle to keep them at bay. Yesterday, time meant nothing to me, everything could only improve, and hope was something so abundant, it drowned out every voice of caution.

Today, I feel like a fool, for having been led down the wrong direction for so long. Ever deeper into a pit from which the possibility for escape was constantly decreasing. Why didn't I see the warning signs in the beginning? Were there even any for me to see? Yesterday, I knew so little of the world, expected everyone to be so good. I knew storms would come from time to time, but I had always expected we would be on the same side against them.

Today, I look back on one loss after another, and wonder where I went wrong, where I took a wrong turn, and how I could have lived a different life. Yesterday, I believed we could always work things out, that we would succeed where others failed, that we would be special enough to be happy. That together we would overcome.

Today, I am humbled but not in the way I wanted. I wonder why I've given up on my dreams. No, I don't actually wonder that. I know exactly why. I don't want to admit I'm incapable of accomplishing them. Yesterday, I could do anything. I was invincible, because success after success could only mean better things were always coming.

Today, I wander the wasteland trying to protect my children. I'm lucky just to have made it to the end of the month. Life was not supposed to have turned out this way. Yesterday, we were on an upward trajectory. Nothing was going to slow us down. We painted big dreams and drew up blueprints for all of them.

Today, I'm ashamed of the scraps I have to settle for. What I would have looked down on in the past, are things I feel lucky to have now. Oh how the mighty have fallen. I was such a fool to believe I was mighty at all. Yesterday, we had so much in abundance. I expected it to last forever. I was judging the book by its cover, and the cover shined with a golden brilliance that swept me away.

Today, I look at the reality around me and it is gray, cracked, and dusty. Reality has settled into my face and my outlook on life. The sun no longer rises on a day full of promise, but rather illuminates a minefield of pain and barbed wire. Yesterday, I jumped out of bed in the mornings, charged into the day because it was going where I had thought I wanted it to go.

Today, I open my eyes and stare out into emptiness. And if not for my kids to wake me, I would be staring still. Why couldn't I have known then what I know now? Why did it have to take so long? Now that I've actually learned something, it is too late. Yesterday, I saw us in a movie. The kind of movie that never ends. Where everybody lives happily ever after.

Today, I struggle to prove to myself and others that I am still worthy of something. But I'm not giving up so easily.

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