Poisonous words hammer their clenched fists into my soft belly. I recoil from the blows, looking for help, for relief. “You’re fat. Seriously, your stomach makes you look pregnant. You had your first kid at twenty, and you were too young and too damaged to handle this. You are a terrible mother, and are systematically demolishing your children every day. You have no friends because you’re an awful person. I mean, come on. Your own family can’t stand you, won’t even try to be a part of your life. You don’t matter. So what if you’re graduating from college next week? We all know that you didn’t work as hard as you could have, and that your degree will be meaningless. No one will hire you. No one cares. YOU DON’T MATTER. YOU DON’T MATTER. Give up. Go away.” I curl up into a tight ball of pain, wanting to escape, to hide. Instead, I plaster a fake smile on my face, and pretend everything is coming up roses. I have no choice, there is no escape: I cannot hide from myself.