My 18th Birthday

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I’ll always remember my 18th birthday, introspecting as I lay on that park bench, reflecting on my ridiculous day. It was on that chilly November night on the streets of Vienna – the first of many to come – that I realized how in the search of liberty and equality, for which I came to Austria, I had again let myself become too reliant on a man. I had let what we had define all that was positive and meaningful in my life and so I felt used. But over time I had used you too, to play the role of everyone I had left behind in Iran. It was hard for me you know, after all I’d been through, and after all that I invested into our relationship to find out you weren’t faithful to me. At that time I thought that my whole world was crumbling down, and that no one would ever love me; it made me doubt myself more than I already did every day. But I did realize that it wasn’t your fault entirely. You had a family here, and a whole life. I had no one and so I projected all my needs onto you. The realization was the tacky coming-of-age stories people associate 18th birthdays with in bad movies. I finally became ‘self-sufficient’, or at least I thought I did. I later realized that in my isolation, I had an obscured sense of independence. I didn’t realize that I was in desperate need for someone to tell me that I’m perfect as I am, and that no man could ever delineate my identity; I needed my family.
It took me a while to understand what I needed. I spent some more time on my own, until it
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