There once was a girl, a young little girl, with long and straight dirty blonde hair. This girl wanted everyone to love her, so everything she did was to make other people happy. She tried to follow the rules, but no one had explained them to her, so sometimes she got in trouble and didn't know why. She wanted to ask questions so she could understand what was happing, but that made people angry at her and she got in even more trouble, so she learned to be quiet. Whenever anyone yelled at her, she just looked at the floor and played with her finger nails. No matter what awful things they said, even if they weren't true, she just listened and agreed with them and didn't fight back. She thought that was what everyone wanted. She discovered that things went better when she did her best to protect everybody so she made that her job, because if everyone else was okay, then she had to be okay too. All she did was always try to be better. She worked hard at everything she did. She got good grades, she practiced all of her instruments very diligently, she stayed on top of things at her job, she studied her bible, prayed, and not only attended (on time) but participated regularly in church and volunteered with children every chance she got. Above all else she kept her heart filled with compassion for others. She never did drugs, she never smoked, and she never even kissed a boy or snuck out. She was the model student, worker, Christian, and daughter. She was a teenager, so sometimes she made mistakes or did something stupid, but it was only so that people would like her. All she wanted was for people to love her.

But she was hiding a secret, something no one else could ever know, because then they wouldn't like her, and if they didn't like her, they wouldn't love her, which meant they would hate her and that scared her; she never wanted anyone to hate her because then her life would be over. You see, she put on a brave face, a pretty smile and a loud, confident laugh. She acted happy, like she had everything together, like everything was okay and she was fine. But she wasn't fine, she wasn't okay, and she certainly wasn't happy. She wasn't happy because no one else around her was happy, and it was her job to keep them together and happy so she knew she must be a failure. She must have failed in everything, and no matter how hard she tried to put things back together and make things work out, they never did. All it led to was more failure and more pain, but she couldn't show it, because that would prove it and make it all true and then there really would never be a chance of anybody loving her. She knew there must be something wrong with her, and she wanted to be better. So she worked even harder, she kept overachieving in everything she ever did, she changed her hair, making it red and short and curly, she became obsessed with this orange mask that blinded everyone so they couldn't see through her lies, hiding her true thoughts and feelings deep inside herself, never showing a weakness. (But it wasn't enough) It didn't blind her though; no it was always there, eating away at her from the inside, making her so tired all the time. She wanted to make it go away, but it wouldn't. She knew she was bad for feeling this way. And when a person is bad, they deserve to be punished. So she would hurt herself, any time she felt angry or sad or lonely or rejected or whenever anyone was angry with her, anytime she had failed at something. She tried over and over to cut all the bad things inside her away. She usually felt better afterwards, and it was easier to get up and try again to be perfect like everyone wanted and expected her to be, because that would make them happy. She wanted everyone to be happy, no matter what happened to her, because everyone else was more important than her, because that was what she was supposed to do. Her secret worked, for awhile. But it got harder, and it kept asking for more things that she was afraid to give and yet couldn't manage to keep. Still, not everyone was happy, not everyone always liked her. And she didn't like herself. In fact, she didn't even know who she was anymore. And she knew she would always keep failing, and if she kept failing no one would ever love her, and that was all she wanted was to be loved. But she couldn't be loved. She couldn't be loved because she wasn't perfect. So she told everyone she was sorry, thinking, hoping, that maybe they would forgive her and help her, rescue her from herself. But nobody listened, and still nobody loved her. I'm sorry, she said. I'm sorry I couldn't save you. I'm sorry I wasn't who you wanted, who you needed. I'm sorry for being me.

And then the little girl cried, her last red tears pouring out, and she was finally free.

Once there was a girl, a young little girl, who did everything she could to make everyone love her, but nothing worked…