Seeing C is difficult. I think it is not going to be difficult, and then it is. I completely understand why she cannot come to my house or even pick up the phone, because I am walking up the hill to see her and I am a grown woman and I think, “I can’t do it.”

I don’t know why exactly, but maybe it will help to write about it.

It was easier at school, because I had to go there anyway, but I am going somewhere especially to see her. And basically I just don’t deserve good things in my life. I should not even be alive. It suddenly got worse, because IT Ma’am was saying C must be feeling happy and proud and I think I had the assumption I was the embarrassing parent who keeps showing up just when she wants to be grown up. I was a lot more comfortable with that.

But I think IT Ma’am is right. It is her culture, and she knows it. C feels shy to see me not because I am the embarrassing parent figure—which is what my Western lens tells me—but because she feels she doesn’t deserve someone who loves her so much or gives her so much attention. She isn’t necessarily feeling happy and proud. She is worried she is being criticized. But she feels worried she is being criticized that she wants something she doesn’t deserve and she is getting something she doesn’t deserve. She is looking at me and thinking, “I don’t deserve to have you.”

And I have to see myself as a person someone else might feel is so special she might not deserve me.

It’s awful and overwhelming, and I wasn’t quite prepared for it to hit me so hard today. It is hitting me so hard nothing seems real. I feel I will walk up the hill and find C does not even exist.