The Weight
rating: +45+x

I gave up my old name yesterday. It was the one thing my dad gave me that I'd never thrown away. But joining the SCP Foundation changes you. You have to give up your past. Become a ghost. If it's the only thing I have left, it can't be worth all that much anyway.

In a way, I think the world must be much more complex than it was when Dad pulled out the label maker and said "Alright. Carmen seems like a good choice". 18 years after that he threw me away, of course. So I suppose I shouldn't feel too guilty.

I like to think now that if he knew he was an asshole he'd probably have thought differently. Or at least been a bit more reasonable. But he thought he was the good guy. I was sitting in a car outside my dad's house with my girlfriend, about to tell him that I liked girls. I knew what would happen next.

You carry so many things around with you when you're young and haven't figured out how to unburden yourself. Most of the weight is tied up in expectations. Family, teachers, your peers. The weight can be crushing. And I got to carry something else around. A lie. Rooted in a fear of disappointing the man who paid for everything I used and ate and loved and never let me forget that.

The truth of who I was got to go up against ten thousand years of crushing cultural pressure and a screaming genetically instinctual need to please my father.

But once upon a time, we were a happy family. Sort of. I guess.

He'd brought me into this world. Kicking and screaming of course, but into the world I came just the same. He looked at me with pride back when I couldn't move an inch on my own. He rocked me to sleep when mom left us. Then I got a little older, and slowly he came to the realization that perhaps this whole single parenting thing was going to be more of a hassle than he'd expected.

He used to tell me a story about when I was 2 and he hadn't fastened my diaper quite well enough and somehow I managed to drag shit all over the living room carpet. He did the parenty thing and picked me up, cleaned me off, put me in my room and cleaned the mess up. He said that even though he was furious, he couldn't help but be a little proud. "I couldn't have made a mess that impressive," he'd said. But in a way he had.

The problem was I'd done the childish thing and decided to grow up. I was taller. More opinionated. Eventually he knew for a fact that if I could vote I definitely wouldn't be voting for the people he liked. Maybe I'd be one of those disengaged kids who didn't care about politics. But no. He was stuck with a daughter that cared.

I kissed a girl when I turned 15 and everything… everything changed. My entire world is split into two epochs. One where I was confused and scared and worried that I was broken somehow and another where I tasted strawberry banana lip gloss.

I realized that the crushing weight of wrongness was replaced with a somewhat more manageable Dad problem. Lies could handle that. Society had been lying to me until then, so what was a little lying back?

Righteousness was the real problem though. He loved me, in his own disappointed way. But he definitely thought he was the hero. A single father raising a kid. We'd get into arguments over the stupidest of things. Because I was a bit of an asshole myself I'd end up insulting him as a parent. He'd say "at least you never went hungry" as if that was an accomplishment. He was right, of course, but fulfilling your basic legal duties isn't the kind of thing you get extra credit for.

So when I walked into the living room and asked him to turn the TV off cause I had something to say, I knew what was coming next. But he didn't say anything. For a long time we just looked at each other. Then he said "You're not my daughter anymore. Get out of my house." And then he turned the TV back on.

I didn't get it then. It took a few years before I finally came to terms with it. But if you think that who you love is something that you can choose… I guess he was at least consistent.

My girlfriend and I packed my things into the back of her car and he never said another word to me. My past has been dead for a long time. Changing my name so I can work for the Foundation just put it into the ground.

Which is good because I'm tired of carrying it around with me.

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