We Are All Fixer-Uppers


They’re always playing HGTV
in the waiting room at the therapist’s office.
And when I watch expressions of joy flash
across the faces of couples when they see their new homes,

I can't help but think about how
all of us—the tired-looking woman next to me,
the frowning boy across from me—
all of us are here at therapy
because we can't find homes within our heads

and maybe we are all Chip and Joanna Gaines,
which is to say we are all fixer-uppers.

Here in the therapist's’ office we sit,
wielding our tools and
hammering at our minds
trying to mold these rotted walls,
these decaying floors,
into a livable space—
a home.

I hope one day all of us will be able
to walk into our homes,
burst into happy tears,
cover our mouths in excitement
the way the people on those shows do.

I hope—no,
I know,
that one day I'll love this house,
this brain,
enough that when the contractors ask me
do you like it?

I will not hesitate to say

yes, I really do.


By Julianna Chen

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