My father would always say “getting you to do blank
is like pulling teeth” and to any kid still with his
first pair of incisors, the simile stuck. From waking up
in the morning, to cleaning up my room, all
the way to exercise, my stubbornness preceded me. 
If I didn’t want to do it, by god, you and your army’d
have to make me, and my emotionally manipulative
phalanx is bigger than yours. 

It’s taken me years to even attempt to undo all that.
Relearning who I am, and what I can be, not being told
my dislike is meaningless, my discomfort invalid,
my desire unworthy. my defects irresolvable.
My obstinance was but a mirror that later
learned to reflect upon itself, to
project the outside in, and
reason a reason for 

He wasn’t necessarily wrong, my father. But statements
such as those are reflections of the sayer as much
as they are indictments of the said-to. He taught me
to be my own worst judge, jury and executioner,
killing off any belief in my own perspective of the case.
One is taught one’s self before the self is even
conceived, with the weight of everything else that has come
before, at equal odds with the escheresque
bootstrapping of the soul. 

I now know that
the pen is in my hand.
I must go write myself
into existence.