She was a little girl once, beautiful and innocent. Then life happened. She got hurt. And somehow, somewhere along the way, long before I knew her, that little girl figured out how to cope with herself and the people and world around her in a way that kept it all at a safe distance. She created her own reality.

And now she is locked in there, and that reality seems very rational. To her. It has pieces of what the rest of us experience, but it’s much like the mirrors at a fun house. Distorted versions of what stands before them. Including me.

I spent my life trying to figure out how to make sense of fun house mirrors, attempting to please them while simultaneously struggling to figure out what reality truly was. Confusion. Ambiguity. Always questioning myself, wondering what is real.

Over time the mirrors took over and the ground ceased to exist and I floated in a nebulous darkness. Which way is up? I groped around, grasping for anything to help me orient myself. How do I get out of here?

Eventually, miraculously, I found a way out of the fun house. There were people who fought for me, who loved me. But what made the biggest difference was when I decided to fight for me, too. To do everything I could to find out who I really am, not whom the mirrors say I am.

Now I am out. The force of gravity tells me the ground is down and the sky is up. And I love knowing those basic things.

And I desperately want to bring the little girl who led me into the fun house out and show her the ground and the sky. I want to show her the mirrors lie. They distort and trick.

But she has been in there so long that gravity and ground and sky are petrifying to her and the mirrors have become safe. And while all I want to do is help her, love her, that’s not what it looks like in the house of mirrors.

So she remains out of my reach.