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I never asked to be your rival

Typically, before starting a competition, the interested parties agree on terms and conditions that must be followed in order to have fair competition. Unfortunately, I was never informed that I should be ready to compete.

It’s impossible for me to know when my defense had to begin. Probably much farther back than I can fathom. It feels like I am constantly caught on my back foot and fumbling around for stability when a competition begins. I feel disoriented and confused as to what is occurring. Because you choose when to ring that starting bell, as I’m forcibly thrown into the ring.

I never wanted to compete with you.

I am 26 years old and I thought I was independent and strong enough to know what I wanted for myself. Unfortunately, each decision I make is non-consensually critiqued and shot down. The terms and conditions on which I live my life have been reinterpreted by her in a constant and subversive fashion. Her self-declared supremacy over my life has gone too far. She doesn’t even need to be present anymore for me to feel that voice of shame quietly telling me ‘this isn’t good enough’.

When I laid on your couch I did not ask for your cold fingers to explore my face and determine that the bags under my eyes looked ‘not horrible’ that day. I did not verbally invite you to comment on how dry my heels were, nor did I invite the text saying that your Qigong instructor told you that you and I are different. But ‘no offense’ because it’s okay we are different, your perceived superiority took this to mean I am lesser than you. You made sure to make that clear to me.

When did I sign up to be ranked either with or against you?

Why does your rationale for congratulating me have to come through a third party telling you of my accomplishments after you pry and determine that for once I did something that you are proud of? But not too proud, because remember, you can’t be surpassed.

The problem is, I am not on the same playing field as you.

I am playing an entirely different sport, on a different continent. And one that has a rulebook in a language you do not choose to learn. Because it is inherently lesser than yours, right? I do not enjoy your game. Nor the fluidity of your rulebook. My autonomy in deciding which competitions I sign up for is returning to me. I want to walk out of this ring.

I want to be removed from the roster, from the heavyweight fight that you so firmly continue to be a part of, against me. Your daughter.

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