See me when you look at me

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Samantha's POV

I thought I would feel like a complete failure for checking myself in at the center, but somehow I didn't feel like that. After sleeping for twelve hours straight, I could finally think a little bit more rational. That's how I realised how unaware I was of the effect of my triggers.

It was not only aunt Laurel surprise that pushed me over the edge. Telling Alexander about my mom and the incident with Emma was hard for me. The hatred and anger that I felt towards my mom was still there. I still felt the pain that she caused and that pain fed by anger. I was stuck in a vicious cycle.

That's how I felt when I was sitting in my new room and staring at the white walls. It felt like I was back in the isolation room at the old center, after I tried to harm myself. White walls were surrounding me there, paralysing me and that happened again.

I couldn't speak, I couldn't move and for a moment I couldn't breath. I was paralysed while I had my panic attack. I don't know how much time went by before I could move again. I don't know when I made the decision to go to the center. I don't even remember how I got here. All I know was that I needed help and I went to the safest place I knew.

The center was not far from town and at first I went when my uncle had a shift there. I spoke about going by myself with Dr. Gray and he encouraged it. It would be good for me to see how far I've come and while I kept working on myself, I could maybe help out with the other kids that were staying at the center.

So I started to combine my workouts with volunteering at the center. Meeting kids that were also dealing with difficult things made me feel more normal then ever, so I liked being there. Although I never thought I would be staying there myself.

''Samantha, Dr. Gray is ready for your session. He is waiting for you in the garden.''

''Thank you, Caleb.''

Caleb salutes me and I can't help to smile a little. Caleb was one the instructors at the center. He didn't had a military or some kind of law enforcement background, like most of the other instructors or volunteers. Caleb was a tutor who used to work with special need children. He came into contact with the center after one of the kids he was tutoring, was placed here. That's how Caleb ended up as one of the instructors here.

''Onward, Jones. I will see you for smash and play when you're done!''

I chuckle and I get up. Caleb always made fun of the 'military manner' of the other instructions. He said that his main job was to not let us forget that we were kids and I loved that about him. I think most us here don't even realise that fact or knows what it means to just be a kid.

Dr. Gray is waiting for me bye the benches and he smiles when he sees me.

''Good morning, Samantha. It's such a lovely day, so I hope you don't mind to have our session outside.''

''I don't mind,'' I say and take a seat on the bench.

''Good, lets start then. You had time to think about everything that happened. Can you tell me now what you could do differently next time? In other words, how can you prevent ending up in a place like this again?''

''By facing my problems and stop trying to do everything on my own?''

''It's not a right or wrong answer, Samantha. So, don't sound so insecure and just explain it to me. Are you not facing your problems?''

I shrug my shoulders and I start to twirl a lose curl around my finger, while I think about Dr. Gray's question.

''To be honest, I feel like I'm doing halve of the work. I work on my temper and my triggers, but I don't want to face the cause of them.''

''And why is that?''

''Because then the anger and pain take over.''

Dr. Gray nods and he writes something down in his notebook.

''Why do you think that you feel those feelings now so intense, Samantha?''

''Because I now know how screwed up my life was and I feel cheated! My uncle told me that he begged my mom to let me stay with them, but she just took off with me. If my mom let me stay with my aunt and uncle, I could had have a normal life and then all of those things would not have happened!''

I ball my fists until I feel the familiar pain.

''Hurting yourself will not make the pain go away, Samantha. You are going to have to deal with it all and I think you realise now that you can't do that on your own. You need a solid support system and you have that. Your family can support you if you let them in.''

''Maybe,'' I mutter.

''We could ask your aunt and uncle to come in for a session or maybe we could start with just one of them. Is that something you can think about?''

I nod and I let out a deep sigh, before I relax my hands again.

''Now lets talk about something else. How is the rest of your family doing with you here.''

I smile when I think of the care package Tyler send me. A box filled with KitKat, M&M's, an old hoodie of his and the best thing. Tyler found me fluffy Cookie Monster socks!''

''My uncle understands it, but the rest of them have a hard time dealing with it. My aunt still blames herself for me being here. The girls miss me and they keep asking me to come home. Tyler send me a care package with a card that said: 'Get well soon, I'm fucking bored.'

Dr. Gray chuckles and he looks at his notebook.

''And how is that boyfriend of yours doing?''

''He is not my boyfriend!''

''Then how is your not boyfriend doing?''

I roll my eyes at Dr. Gray and I shrug my shoulders.

''He is who he is. Kind, patience and understanding.''

''You say it like those are bad things, Samantha.''

''It just confuses me, I guess. He only knows me like this and he likes me. Not once has he made me feel like I was not good enough. Not once did he let me down. He is there for me and he fights for us, even when I'm ready to walk away and give up.''

''It sounds like you find yourself a keeper,'' Dr. Gray says with a smile. ''You seem to have a healthy relationship with your not boyfriend and I'm glad to hear that.''

''Yes, but what if he changes his mind about me when I tell him everything? What if he decides that he doesn't want to be with me anymore?''

''Then you took a risk and however it plays out, you will not have to wonder anymore. No more fear of him finding out about your past. No more wondering if he is with you because he likes this version of you. You will know and guess what, Samantha?''


''If it doesn't work out, the world will not end. Your happiness doesn't depend on a boy and you know that. You are still a smart and strong, young lady. You still have your whole life ahead of you and that's exciting! So think about that and think about if you want to ask your family to come in for a session.''

Dr. Gray stands up and he gather his things.

''I do have some homework for you.''

I groan and let out a sigh. ''What would that be?''

''You have to watch the Lion King, that's all.''

''That is a movie for little children, so what would be the point of that?''

''The mandrill will tell you. Let me know what you decide, Samantha and enjoy the rest of your day.''

Samantha's POV

Smash and play was exactly that. Four people smashing things and after that we played a few games. It was fun, but I kept thinking about the homework Dr. Gray gave me. Now I have to know, so I walk to the media room and I open the closet. We had a lot of movies and there it is, the Lion King.
I bring the DVD with me to my room and I set everything up. Some snacks a soda and I'm ready, although I don't know what for. The movie starts and I just watch. Baby Simba is still adorable. Timo and Pumba still make me laugh. I just keep watching, waiting for the moment where this all would make sense to me.
''The pass can hurt, but the way I see it. You can either run from it or learn from it.''
I press pause and I stare at the screen. Rafiki is about to hit Simba and I feel tears rolling down my cheeks, but I'm also smiling.
Dammit! A year and a halve in a YCF program, countless sessions with Dr. Gray and I have a fucking breakthrough because of what that stupid monkey just said?!!
''Freaking unbelievable,'' I mutter and wipe away the tears, before I press play again.
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