Perhaps my greatest fear is not that I shall fail. I have proven myself a renowned failure, highly distinguished in the practice of rising from my demolition with renewed perspective. Destruction is comfortable… But of greatness, that is an entirely different matter. And should fate or design be so mad as to allow me to achieve all I have set out to why, that makes me quite fearful indeed.
I can’t keep shrinking myself in places that I have outgrown just because there is comfort. Living slowly and simply is a privilege.
Some want simple love, but I don’t want a love that can light a fire without striking a match. I want love that is so loud it can fill the emptiest of stadiums, love that scares me but keeps me safe and will always keep me wild, love that doesn’t come easy but won’t leave easy either, the kind of love that finds a home in your bones, the kind that never lets butterflies fly away.
I lived to please. The smile from my teachers when they said her work was good made my heart squeeze. Because of the work, the smarts were all she had. I never really noticed when it started getting bad—pulling all-nighters to get it perfect, because otherwise, it wouldn’t be worthy enough to submit. Then I joined sports and said it was because I wanted to stay fit. I couldn’t say the truth, that I wanted the body all those other girls seem to have. When I heard a giggle at lunch, I realized I couldn’t remember when I last laughed. There were bags under my eyes and a black cloud permanently situated overhead. But my grades were still perfect, and that is all that mattered, even if I bled.
June: Hot Girl Summer
Part of me feels guilty for hiding myself from the world, but it’s a privilege to know me. They have not earned that right or trust with me. It is a bummer for them not to know the special parts of me. It is not my problem; it’s called boundaries and loving myself.
I am lucky I’m pretty because if I weren’t, no guys would like me. I lose value the minute I stop nodding and smiling at whatever they want to tell me. Because when I talk, I lose my best quality. Because when I’m just pretty, I’m timid and quiet and calm and agreeable and shy and innocent. All the best things about a woman: when they get to know me, they realize quickly that I’m not any of those things and never will be. So they love me till I speak, and they want me until they see that I won’t cook for them. I won’t clean for them; I won’t laugh at jokes that aren’t funny. I won’t hear condescending explanations of all the things that I’ve studied. And I know this because every time I wear a push-up bra, someone gives me their number, and every time I kill my dark hair with bleach, I get more guy followers. And my opinions are met with anger, even if mine were the same as theirs, because they rather I shut up and be pretty.
You can always leave because you are not the soul trapped in this flesh I call me. I would leave her too if my soul didn’t so intricately weave her into my being. I too wish for an escape from the voices that seem to be never-ending. So how can I blame you for wanting to find someone less challenging? I seek the escape you took so easily, it is why I cannot believe others would want to make an effort to water the vines of my spirit to allow her to grow again gracefully, for I am a withered up rose whose thorns are still strong because that is where the water goes. The parts of me that I don’t want to see that affect my ability to scream for the love I so desperately need seem to be my foes. It’s like cancer that you cannot see with some medical screen, but I can feel it every day. It drowns me, scares me, and makes me feel unease. Sadly unlike the doctors with their tools, this kind of disease is not one I can freeze.
I exist as a shadow, always in a corner, never to be seen. Sometimes I want to be, but it is a screen separating their view from her and me. She shines like the sun, and I can’t help but feel like the moon. Only glowing because of her light, she dimmed focus on me, making others see me in the room. I hide in the pages of novels while she can smile and draw anyone close. People probably think she is weird, but little do they know how hard I shake when I see anyone come near. I want to be loud and possess that radiance all of them seem to have if only it were something I could stuff in a bottle and pull out of my bag when needed. But it is not compact blush or lipstick I can carry with ease. It’s something I used to have that extinguished after what happened, which had then felt like I was drowning in the seas. I came out soaked, my heartbeat weak, and my pulse faint. It’s funny because my talkative ways were always their main complaint.
Repeat after me, falling in love with yourself is falling out of love of who you should be.