Now that I am free, I can look reflectively at the history that has brought me to this place, and search for the threads that have bound together a story of false dreams, of fool’s gold hope, of ever eluding belonging and a vanishing bosom of a mythical family and community. I search for understanding so that I may somehow stop this cycle of striving for excellence in order to be loved, only to fall so humiliatingly short, to fail so painfully- and through situations beyond my control. Writing may be a sort of therapy- one that, thankfully, will likely be for my eyes only. Silence is what otherwise remains. I sit with my questions, unanswered, my pain shrouded in a blanket of respectability. Hauling up bootstraps once again, too afraid to be real, I pour myself back into the mask designed to protect others from my own grief. If it is true that we are molded by the deeds of preceding generations-that perhaps we are given the option of returning to repair, to atone for the sins of our fathers, then it must be that the hauntingly familiar patterns etched into the looking glass of my life give clues as to nature of those sins. May I have eyes to see and ears to hear, and the courage to respond redemptively. For I am weary with suffering.