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If I Leave Here Tomorrow: Filling Empty Spaces

If I Leave Here Tomorrow: Filling Empty Spaces

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Published by Brad King
Invictus writer Kelly Shea's essay is a rumination on her journey to break free of the expectations she felt upon her. This isn’t a story that comes complete with a wrapped, happy ending. This is the story of a journey.
Invictus writer Kelly Shea's essay is a rumination on her journey to break free of the expectations she felt upon her. This isn’t a story that comes complete with a wrapped, happy ending. This is the story of a journey.

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Published by: Brad King on Jun 20, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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11/30/2013

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by KELLY SHEA
FILLINGEMPTYSPACES
 
For Brad and Jenn: wo amazing proessors that have mademe a better worker and taught me much, as well as opened the doors to some o my greatest opportunities so ar. I amvery indebted to each o you or believing in me.For Mom, who laughs with me like a sister and has beenthere without judgment through my ups and downs. For Dad, who reminds me that I am strong in weak moments,and has ully unded various vacations that I may not havedeserved to take. For Robby, whose creativity, dry wit and old soul never ails to bring me joy.For Ashlee, the older sister I never had, who has been mymost fercely loyal riend despite the miles between us. Your open heart and unbreakable spirit have been an endlesssource o inspiration to me, and I am lucky to know you.For Jess, my frst true lielong riend: Tank you or welcoming me into a world that changed me orever. And fnally, or anyone eeling trapped by others’ expectations: Don’t hesitate to shatter the pedestals built beneath you. Find your bliss and write your own damn story.
 
n a bleak night in May 2006, I opened my eyes to a pitch-black bed-room lled with silence. I strained to ocus on the numbers glow-ing rom my alarm clock: 10 p.m. Something elt wrong. I wasn’tsupposed to be here.
Why am I in bed this early? onight was prom night.
My stomach sank. As I clutched my pillow or support, the ashbacks crept up,each one worse than the last.In the dramatic ways that teenagers sometimes do, I realized that my lie wasover. At least the lie I’d built so careully beore. I had almost made it throughmy junior year o high school, but aer this, things would never be the same.As I played the coming day in my head, I ell into despair. Haunted already, Icried mysel to sleep.* * *Four months earlier, I’d been lying on my best riend Anna’s bed lookingthrough an old box o photographs. I giggled at the pictures o us rom just aew years back. She was 50 pounds overweight, and I was resh out o a back brace. As I ipped through the pictures, Anna was at her desk, working herphone like a stockbroker, throwing glances my way between conversations toll me in on party plans that really didn’t concern me at all.My stomach tightened when the doorbell rang. She ran downstairs to answerit with excited eyes, ying out o the room in a ash o shiny black hair. I heardher ootsteps returning and shoved the box o photographs in a drawer, earulthat one o the guests might ask to browse through them. Since then, Anna hadlost the weight and blossomed into a 17-year-old socialite. I’d lost the brace buthadn’t ound similar condence.
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