Happy to see this win, congrats! I think the strongest aspect of this piece was taking the phrase "breaking the cycle" and giving it even more emotion and meaning. My favorite part was the idea of someone taking bricks from their own foundation and using it for someone else. Like the statement of how we cannot help tend to others if we don't tend to ourselves first. I also liked the significance of how detrimental it can be to be persuaded to say "yes", or to build up a false image of someone in our mind, so that we are filled with guilt and a thousand other things if we stand up for ourselves or find the courage to say "no". You're calling for a great balance here, and a caution, and I felt that emotion especially in the lines of "Please don't love her like I did / To the point of your own downfall".
Thank you so much as always for such amazing and thoughtful reviews. This is the first thing I’ve ever won. So exciting! I’m so glad it came across on paper the same way it felt in my heart. Thanks again! Hope all is well with you.