Chapter 1: Care About Me, Please.

My English teacher, my favorite authors and all of those people online told me that the most important thing to do when telling a story is to make the reader care about the characters. Well, I'm the character in this case, but the problem is that I do want you to care about me – all I ever wanted was for you to care about me, whoever you are – but I don't know how to accomplish that. Maybe it's miscellany. I'm a strawberry blonde, I was born six pounds and no change; I'm four-feet and eleven inches tall; I like skirts and sewing a feminine things, but I still prefer my hair short because it's practical, but still cute.

Maybe what you like are mentality changes? When I was in high-school, girls began filling out. Some of them just ate too much, but some of them, I thought, were just lucky. Their breasts ballooned like they were being filled with helium while mine didn't. I remember worrying that I'd always have a flat chest and that no guy would ever like me. Well, I'm 28 now, still flat chested, but I don't really have a problem with it anymore. It's practical to have a flat chest. It makes jogging easier, and muscle-ups. That was a mentality change that didn't come from trauma or some sort of epiphany. I just grew up and stopped caring because it stopped seeming important. What kind of person would dislike another because of an attribute like breast size?

I don't think you care much about me. These are just words. I could be anyone with these mundane facts, right? What girl didn't worry about that kind of thing, at least a little? Plenty of girls have short hair and plenty of girls are four feet and eleven inches tall. It's banal, uninteresting. That's how I've always thought of myself too, so we have common ground, there.

I mentioned that I wanted you to care about me. I said you. It will sound impersonal, but it's not really you, or rather, not necessarily you. Whoever is reading this will always be "you," but the name and face are irrelevant. I don't need everyone to care about me, just anyone.

I said care about, too. Not love. I've got plenty of people who love me. Family. Friends. They're all wonderful, but they don't care about me the way I want to be cared about. They love me, but they don't understand – or I guess they just don't believe. I don't want you to think I'm talking like a teenager. "You don't get me, man." I went through those years, although the years were distinctly less beatnik-like than I just now portrayed.

There was an event in my life. Everyone has had events. I don't know if anyone ever had one like this, though. It was – unbelievable, and I don't mean that like amazing or fantastic. I mean it was literally unbelievable, to anyone but me. I didn't even believe it for a while, but then I gave birth to several dozen things and now I believe it. I am repulsed with myself. I don't think I'll ever be able to have sex. That might seem like an odd thing to suddenly divulge, but it's the most visceral, revealing thing I can think to say to explain how much I despise myself.

It isn't unwitting, though. I know that my hatred of myself is irrational, and I think it's the thing that has kept me sane. I can distance myself from the disgust, from the pain of the event, and even from the guilt. "It's not your fault," I tell myself. "Then why do I feel so guilty?" I implore, hoping I'll give myself a great answer. I'm sure I will, eventually; I've just got to think a bit more. I've only had three years to contemplate so far, and you know how these kinds of things take time. Maybe I should read more. I bet there's an explanation in a book somewhere. I hope it's in a fantasy novel.

I'm running out of paper and running out of thoughts. I'm afraid that you won't believe me. What I've said so far is so ridiculous that you're probably already reading this more out of curiosity of what absurd thing I'm going to tell you, what fantastical story I'm going to fabricate. Please, don't be the same as those around me. You're my reader. You're special. I want you to be special. Please believe me, and please care. I just need someone to cradle me and say that the crustaceans that came out of my gut were not at all my fault. It was the result of a vile, despicable act of cruelty, or maybe some alien inability to comprehend human emotions. It wasn't my fault. Even if I did crawl into that cavern. . . .