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My Eyes Tell a Story

Frau Feuerameise once said, “My eyes are my favorite part of me; not for how they look, but for how they see.”


This past week, a stranger approached me and blatantly said, “Your eyes tell a story.”

He then smiled and proceeded in the direction he was headed in. No explanation, no elaboration.

I was left wondering what he meant and why he said it. I then got to thinking about what kind of story he thought he saw. Did it have a happy ending? Was it a comedy? A horror film?


All of our eyes tell different stories and I want nothing more than to share some of those with you.


My eyes tell the story of a girl who is quiet and keeps to herself. She puts a smile on her face when she helps a stranger. She is always there to be a shoulder to cry on if a friend is in need. Yet that is the same shoulder she cries herself to sleep on.

She has built up walls and locked herself away, too afraid to tear them down because every time she has, it has left her broken and alone, feeling like she will never quite be enough. But eventually, she will pick herself up and begin rebuilding those walls, keeping the hope that one day she can stop building and let her walls fade away, because she will be enough.


My eyes tell the story of a girl who lost a part of her soul when she was 15. At least, that’s what it felt like. I grew up fairly sheltered with my older brother as my closest friend. We did everything together, from eating to watching TV, to playing house, church or even spaceships. We even tried our hand at directing a few times and made an unofficial Jurassic Park IV. Nothing was too silly for us, and there was nothing we couldn’t tell each other, even as we grew up and expanded our social circles. We had that kind of bond only siblings can have, where you can fight over food or the remote control one minute and be laughing together the next.

Until we didn’t.

I woke up one morning and he was gone. An accident had taken my 17 year old brother away from me – the person who was supposed to be a friend for life and an uncle to my future children. My eyes tell the story of a girl who watched that bond shatter into a million pieces on a Sunday morning and of a girl who is holding onto the people she has left, because she can’t stand the thought of waking up to an emptier world again.


My eyes tell the story of a girl who grew up too soon. When both the men in your family are drug addicts, someone has to take care of the kids. So at fourteen I became the parent my sister needed. My dad eventually got clean, while my brother’s drug use intensified, but I was happy for the most part. My sister was safe – that was all that mattered. Until the day five cops threw a search warrant in my face, pointing their guns directly at me, hoping to find my drugged-out brother. I woke up that morning to my sister screaming and hiding while they raided the house.

She was ten years old and was dragged out of the house. Alone and without me there to protect her.

Our parents tried to be what they always should have been after that, but it’s hard to parent children after a decade of failing them. And while I may have failed to protect her that day, I refuse to fail her again.


My eyes tell a story of a girl who has been through hell and back the past month. A lot can change in 30 days – you could get a new haircut, pass a really hard test or even meet the person you’ll spend the rest of your life with. The last 30 days of my life have not looked this way. When you look in my eyes, I hope you can’t tell that I’m breaking. I hope you can’t tell that in the first 30 days of my teaching career, I had to attend two of my students’ funerals. I hope you can’t tell I’m hiding the faint bruise under my right cheek from where the “love of my life” hit me during an argument. I hope you can’t tell that my best friend is actually dying from a terminal illness. When you look in my eyes, I hope you don’t notice the dark bags under my lids from the sleepless nights, the constant redness from wiping away tears, and the gleam of hope that tries to sparkle through when I occasionally think it MIGHT get better.

If you look at me and my eyes tell you a story, then that’s a really good thing.

That means I’m still here.


My eyes tell the story of a girl who carries herself with just enough pride so that no one will ever know that sometimes she’s collapsing in on herself. Who at the small age of 8 years old, contemplated suicide because her parents’ divorce and remarriage was too stressful. I’m the girl who cries not because of what happened to me, but because I can’t physically deal with it by myself anymore. But it’s not all rain clouds and tears. My eyes also tell a story of a girl who loves her family. She’s torn that she’s never home anymore, but it’s okay because she’s busy pursuing her career, getting a degree and doing what she loves most in life. She loves animals so much that she screams in excitement after finding a single baby turtle by the creek. She’s a girl who may have pain, but who gets to dance it all away, surrounded by girls she loves (maybe more than animals). She is a girl who lives her best life beside her best friend, who she believes is her life partner.


My eyes tell the story of a girl who is constantly looking for approval.

Am I smart enough? Is my makeup okay? What about my hair? My body?

I have a paralyzing fear of failure, and this is no accident. Each experience I have lived, each relationship I have cultivated, struggled to keep alive and lost, each rejection, failure and accident has taught me that I have to work to be worthy of others.

“You’re so put together!” they say.

What they don’t see is the emotional toll it takes to look that way. How carefully calculated this appearance is. Every time I work out, I think about the times I’ve been told that I’m chunky or a little overweight. Every time I put on makeup, I think about the times I’ve been called pizza face. Every time I reach for a baggy t-shirt instead of a crop top, I think about the times I’ve been called a whore. Every decision I make is based on what others have thought of me. And make no mistake: I am not alone. There are so many other girls who have been consumed by society, as it continues to eat away their ambition, their willpower and their self-confidence.

You don’t have to earn society’s approval, and neither do I.


My eyes tell the story of a girl who is unfamiliar with fulfillment. I’ve come to a realization that everything I put a lot of work into always leads to me feeling disappointed. As an artist, I put months of hard work into pieces, and I look back at them and feel like I could do better. With romantic relationships, I always put in so much effort, expecting to find my soul mate, as naive as that sounds. I always come home at the end of the day to an empty bed, wondering what it is like to have that person next to you. When I’m lying there, I go on Facebook and see new relationship statuses of my friends getting engaged. I also see happy families who just took pictures together on vacation. I never really knew what it was like to have a family that wasn’t emotionally divided. My eyes don’t show fulfillment, but I don’t let it get me down since I am only 21 years old. I have nothing but the future to better my art, my passions, my love and my future family.


My eyes tell the story of a girl who resonates with Robin Williams. I’d do anything to make you laugh or even smile. I’ll go out of my way to hold the door open for you, or pick up the pencil you dropped in class. I’ll never forget your birthday. I’ll walk you home after a party even if it’s out of my way and means I’ll have to walk home alone. If you text me for a ride home in the rain, I’ll drop what I’m doing, and I’ll be there. I’m sure you think I’m nice and that I would be fun to hang out with, and yet you’ll never ask. When I get home, it’s cold and it’s lonely. I’ll sit alone for what feels like hours on the bathroom floor and wonder, “Why you don’t like me? Why wasn’t I invited? Why am I not good enough?” But I’ll never ask you.

I’ll see you in class, and I’ll smile. I’ll ask you how your sister is, and if you miss your mom. I’ll listen. We’ll joke. And you’ll never know how truly broken I feel once I’m the only one left in the room. I make you laugh so that I don’t cry. My eyes are the ones you see every day, and you would be shocked to hear that I’ve been struggling with depression for months.

But don’t worry. I’ll see you in class tomorrow.


My eyes tell the story of a girl who wants to see the good in people. I want to give everyone who wrongs me the benefit of the doubt. I look past the person you try to be and the version of you that you think everyone would approve of. I look past the flaws. You could disappoint me multiple times, and I would still believe in you. It may not be the healthiest method because people always say it’s so easy to just let someone go. But I believe in people. My eyes tell the story of a girl who’s been let down. A lot. In every way you could imagine. But she still smiles with her entire face as she approaches you because she knows deep down there’s greatness in everyone. I’ve fought my battles but persevered and came back stronger than ever. I believe that you are stronger than you think, and I’m the girl who will drop everything to stand by your side if you need someone. Because I know fighting battles can’t always be done on your own. My eyes tell the story of a girl who takes chances.

And even though you weren’t’t able to come through, I don’t regret taking a chance on you.


My eyes tell the story of a girl who is fixated on excellence. Perfection, in other words. I am the girl who works hard every single day to be great at what I do. To make my parents proud and to be the best version of myself. I make sure that I am on the Dean’s List, cook well-balanced meals, clean my home on a regular basis, and participate in several extracurriculars.

But there’s still one thing that I have continuously failed to be perfect at… and that is to keep a steady, worthwhile relationship. Do you know how hard it is to be impeccable at everything in life, except getting a guy? It’s hard, and even worse, it hurts. I can’t help but wake up every morning and ask myself, “What’s wrong with me?” As the years and emotionally or physically abusive relationships pass, I have learned to spend less time searching for enough-ness, and spend more time on realizing my own self-worth.

My eyes tell the story of a girl who is imperfectly perfect. A beautiful disaster. Chaos and a masterpiece. A work in progress.





What story do your eyes tell?


Building my life on God's love, choosing joy, embracing family, ceaselessly writing, constantly dancing, raising my pitbull chihuahua, and teaching tiny humans all things.
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