all i need

I've worked my whole life so I wouldn't need to rely on anybody for help, mostly because my family was always there to help me with anything I needed--provided what I needed was money. I hated asking for money even when I was a kid, I think because I knew the answer would be yes. You come to rely on it, after a while, even while you're trying to fight it. I went to college mostly because they insisted, and started working at a coffee shop mostly because it turns out there's not a whole lot you can do with my degree.

And no, I wasn't happy. But I got by. I even made friends--and alienated most of them, but a few. It's as close to living as most people get, right?

But everything started going all wrong. I was happy with my self-reliance, such as it was, when someone beautiful came along--beautiful like as a person, I mean. With everyone else, I kept them at a distance, but her? It was like being a teen again, getting disapproving looks from parents for something I did or didn't do, and that sick, hideous feeling in my gut like the only thing important in the world was pleasing them, making it right.

So I did what anyone else would do in my situation. I abased myself. I let her in. Somehow she even reciprocated for a while. Then I did what normal people don't do in my situation: I completely lost it. I pushed her away, begged her to come back, told her I hated her, told her I loved her, meant it every time, even when I thought that saying it was supposed to be a good way to get her to do what I wanted. I lied and cheated and manipulated, and when she was gone I had never felt so alone--so much like I needed someone.

I wish I could say I started drinking to cope, but I'd started long before that. I was already relying on all the coping mechanisms I had just to get through day-to-day life. Now I'm not sure what to do.

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