I give up. I have lived a lie for the last seventeen years that I believed I could make the truth through force of will. I wear its ravages on my face, but the true toll is internal, where I am brown and mushy and rotted from the effort of it all. Life from the step was more apt than I knew. The step is never truly welcome inside. It remains, by nature, an outsider which only deludes itself that it is part of the whole. It’s just a step, to be crossed over to reach the inside. And I have put myself there. I see now the delusion. My flag is raised.