you and me

How Many Layers of Expectations Have to Be Removed to Find Who I Am?


Who am I without this mask that lets me be whoever I think you want to see?

Who am I without this smile that I change for you to like me?

Who am I if I don’t help you?

Who am I without these likes, these comments, and these shares that let you virtually acknowledge me?

Who am I without my story that helps me connect with you on our commonalities?

Who am I without this hair that you say is pretty?

Who am I without writing something that stirs feelings of connection inside you?

Who am I without these breasts, this ass, these feminine curves that you say are my womanhood?

Who am I without this job that you say is a good career?

Who am I without these lips that entice you?

Who am I without being of service in a way that you say is admirable?

Who am I without you?

Who hides underneath everyone’s expectations of me? Who hides under everyone’s perceptions of me?

Who hides here if I take away you and the many, many ways you validate who I am as a person? Who lurks in the shadows feeling invisible, unworthy and unlovable? Who is she? What does she look like? What does she feel like? What does she enjoy? Who does she really want to be?

How does she want to live her life if absolutely nobody tells her how it should be done? How does she want to live her life if the opinions of others are completely inconsequential?

What does that look like?

How much more pain has to be excavated to find out? There is an elusive, mostly undiscovered, very real piece of totally uncharted territory here.

The most real, raw, authentic, transparent part of myself is in there somewhere. She is stuck under piles and piles of rubble. She is broken, bleeding and scarred, not even sure that there is even the energy or the desire to pull herself out anymore, thinking that letting the pain win will be so much easier than trying to figure out what life looks like without it.

How many more layers of outside expectations have to be removed to find the truth of who I am and what I want? And can that even be done on this planet as we are bombarded every single day with what we are supposed to do and who we should be?

If my goal is no longer to connect to anyone ever again, if need be, then what on earth does life look like for me and only me?

I have absolutely no idea. No idea even where to start. There are so many drugs here hindering the truth, clouding my vision, skewing the truth. Detoxing from the drugs, in and of itself, is a momentous job. It might be too much. Maybe I just can’t do it.

Maybe that’s why I pretended it was done long ago. Damn, denial is a fickle lover, but who am I without him?


Christie Del Vesco is a College Administrator and Professor, a Universalist Minister, a member of the RAINN (Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network) Speakers Bureau and single mom. She’s a children’s advocate, a survivor of many forms of sexual violence, and a voice for the survivors who have yet to find their own. Chris is a firm believer that we go through what we do, to help others when they go through the same. She also believes if we would all just “be the change,” we can change the world.


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