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I can't remember anything being effortless.

I've had plenty of excuses, and plenty of fears ("It wouldn't have lasted" or "I won't be here for much longer anyway" or "what good is an experience if I'm just going to lose everything I ever gain"). But the bottom line is that I have a lot to give, and I haven't given much of it.

It's a sin this not being ready, this not being up to it.

Guilt will not redeem you. You cannot construct it to scale. You cannot translate the blueprint into a real structure, it simply can't support its own weight. For all the mistakes you've made, the worst thing you can do is continue to let them swell within you. It's possible to learn from your mistakes without letting them hold you back. This seems so obvious, but sometimes the most obvious things can take the longest time to learn.

They're drunk on disappointment. Silence is more wounding than any word to a girl with expectations. And it's not their fault.

I can see a girl with a black hat in an alley in France. I see a girl from High School who was molested as a child. I see my best friend, at the time, who was so afraid of coming out to me. I see a girl who was so hurt when I let her push me away. I see a girl who lights up when I call her an angel. I see a coworker who sat and waited all night for me. I see the first love triangle, and I see the years that it took me before I felt okay again.

Yes, they all wanted your attention, at the time. The way you remember them, the way they're frozen in your mind. But what do you think they want from you now? They don't want you to find them. They don't need or expect you to redeem yourself, what is there to be fixed? What they want is for you to stop hiding. They want you to learn how to give the things they wanted from you. But not for themselves, for you. For the next girl who's willing to wait for you. They want you to try.

You can't just construct these huge fortification walls for a big hollow space. You won't be able to keep anything in. You need floors and shelves, columns and primary walls, entrances and exits and bridges. You need support, and you need openings.

I can still change. I can still believe in love and I can be strong enough to educate myself and I can take my own advice and I can walk back to that shoddy little McDonald's and find that girl behind the counter and tell her "smile--you're beautiful" no matter what comes of it because I need to say it. I can't do anything about what I've done in the past. But I won't be disappointing anymore. You don't have to keep drinking, you're going to get what you want this time. Let's throw away the maps and charts and the pencils too, I'm ready to give you the oldest drug.

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