You were right, Johnny.

I used to think that I could change the world.

I believed in the power of words to change the way people think. I believed that compassion and persistence could alter people’s perceptions. I believed in a society that wanted to do the right thing.

I used to believe I could make a difference.

The realization that I can’t is crushing me.

I cannot make my husband see me. I have exhausted the limits of my vocabulary, and still I cannot forge a connection of genuine understanding. I have run out of ways to explain, and still I cannot see a light in his eyes when I speak to him.

I cannot make my best friend believe that everything will be OK. She reaches out to me, and my attempts to comfort and strengthen her continue to fall short. I am overwhelmed at how futile my words have become. Powerless. The words and I.

I cannot take the darkness away from her. I stand by and watch her stare into the valley, safe on the other side. Safe, and helpless. My experience has given me nothing that will make this journey easier for her.

I cannot give her peace. My empathy is useless in the face of her nightmares.

I cannot make him believe in the good in the world. My attempts to do so leave me feeling like a silly child with unrealistic ideals that hold no weight when compared to reality.

I cannot answer her calls for action. I am overwhelmed by my own inability to be the catalyst for good that she seeks.

There is so much, and I am so small. My inadequacies taunt me, laughing at my old optimism. I never imagined how big my own insignificance could be. I never considered that I would one day find myself completely ineffective.

My words are useless. My desires naive and empty.

I stood in the shower tonight and tried to cry. I imagined that the waters rushing over me would draw out the tears, and with them my soul would awaken and I would see what I have been missing. I would find the words that have escaped me. I pulled at my soul, begging it to come pouring out amidst grief and anger and desperation.

But I could not cry. Nothing flowed, nothing moved. The sweet hiss that signals the pressure release never came. And the water ran cold.

I used to think that I could change the world.

I know better now.

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