From the onset I was told that I had to love them.
They were family.
Their love was unconditional
On the condition that I looked like them.
But I was an odd duck in skin that didn’t fit right.
I could never get my face to form like them.
They never learned to love me,
No matter how hard I loved them.
I built hope out of broken blocks and tangled string
When that hope came undone
I tried to put this life in a bottle of pills
That maybe then
I’d know their love.
I had yet to learn,
Is utterly devoid of love;
And without acceptance.
I am still learning to accept myself.
As for them,
They had never known love.
Never shown love.
Only made merry in the wake
Of the broken bodies
Of every other odd duck laid at their feet
The shrapnel I still pull from my skin
Reminds me of how grateful I am
To be alive.
The mirror no longer reflects them,
Though I still see hints of my father
I am not them.
I will never be him.
I made a choice,
A hard choice,
To break the cycle of cruelty.
To say no to their ugly
To not be the fathers of my father’s father
Their mess I would not take home.
I built a home
Filled with odd ducks
And unconditional love founded on the condition
That there are no conditions
Because there is simply love.
Every part of me, love,
Hates every part of everything
That teaches us
That we are unworthy
Until we can scale each others’ walls.
There is power
In loving your neighbor
And loving yourself.
It strips away every wall raised with the words
It makes us open our arms wide with welcome signs.
Because when we better each other
We better ourselves.
I didn’t have to love them.
They weren’t my family.
The burden of their conditional love
Was one I didn’t have to bear.
And one day I will let them go.
But for now, love,
I will learn love;
And give you a world more free
Which was given to me.