I visited my therapist today. He said something peculiar after I droned on and on about how I hate the scars imprinted on my skin, the lines weaving their way around my waist and stomach. For half an hour; he listened, nodding along as I told stories about how I refuse to live inside this meat sack that continues to push me out.

He said, “don’t burn your own house down, no matter the reason.” I did not know what to reply.  He continued, “people have their reasons but it does not justify the damage or demolition. Sometimes something would break or stop working; a burnt-out lightbulb or a leaky sink. Rather than fix it—” 

“Why would anyone burn it?”  Ignoring the sarcasm poking fun at his insight. He spoke without skipping a beat, “Often, that idea has not popped into their head. There are people who would ignore it, hoping the problem will solve itself. 

But once it becomes too much; the room looks darker even with windows, and there are puddles in the kitchen. They look for quick fixes; duct tape for the pipe or a boat to anchor them as they cook. Maybe even ceasing the lonely room from existence as the light dims. Then they are surprised their floor becomes an ocean carrying their furniture and a chorus of wires losing their spark—”

“Then why don’t they just fix it?” I asked, hoping for a quick answer. “People have their reasons,” he said, “For most, asking for help would be raising a white flag or they feel like an inconvenience. Or they see no point— they have already planned on leaving the house soon. 

And when no other option would present itself, they burn it. Although, some would’ve burned it down a lot sooner. Maybe after the first drop, they light a match. Even those who seek help ask those whose solutions are like bandaids; leaving after one or two mistakes they cannot fix. Leading them to associate each broken part with the entirety of the house —too damaged, no tape or hammered nail can secure. Even if everything looks fine. To them, it looks worn-out, beyond repair, and unlivable.” 

He pauses—looking at me he said, “People forget about painting, plumbers, and electrical wires. They do not see their house as a home. Refusing to nurture; accepting the molds on the sofa, bugs ready to infest, and inviting chaos into dust-covered surfaces. 

Pinning each shatter and splintered floorboard as their identity—” The clock on his desk started to ring, it was the end of our session. As I got up to say goodbye, he added, “Take care of your home and leave the matches here.” Outside his door, it was then I understood what he meant by never burning your house down.

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