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NOTE: This article is written in the form of a long poem, originated by the author.

I was a naïve little girl making my way into the world.

Once upon a time, I was trapped in a cage. In a place that should’ve been home, I was locked, sheltered, hidden.

It was a house; four walls and a roof that used to snatch my dreams and mess with my head every night, with claws coming from the people close to me.

I loved them and I love them, but I was like every symbolized bird in the sky: I desired to set my wings free.

So with a singular bag and a predicted plan in hand, I hopped on a plane and decided to start my life.

I wanted to feel powerful and free, not worried of where the journey will take me. I was ready to make decisions and face consequences, as long as it’s all up to me.

But like every growing child forced to be an adult, reality is harsh and it whips its fists where it doesn’t belong. It takes us by surprise and shock and it breaks us down to see who we really are.

I wish I was never afraid of discovery because who I can become to be should be something beautiful.

But it wasn’t always pure or joyful or graceful; it was tears and sweat of war.

I met a boy who understood my struggles and through them he could make me smile.

But friends are a token and that was more valuable than quickly giving my heart away; but when I told him he ran away, and I became an enemy for causing him that pain.

I knew this girl who I stitched to my side, so when one of us tips we at least fall together. Worst came to worst and our wounds bled through the stitches. 

She denied the band-aid I wanted to use to keep us afloat, grabbing the scissors to make us bleed more. But now we were bruised alone.

I wear protective gear but I enjoy rushing to the front lines. I throw myself in the fire in hopes of keeping others alive. I don’t do it to feel selfless, but I do it because I was once selfish. I know what it’s like to be filled to the brim with hurt and hold a body that is a void of emptiness. 

It’s a kind of pain that can only be caused by my own doing, by my own hands.

A night to let loose with music setting the mood, I caught the eye of someone new. With one simple smile, I was on cloud 9 and allowed myself to feel the affection that never seems real.

I still glare at my reflection but when I think of his words that sound like a lullaby floating through my ears, I convince myself that not everything I see in the mirror is worth hating. 

But then came another night where secrets were revealed, and I had to take a moment to really know who I was seeing in the mirror.

Was I a shell of the girl I always was, still locked away in that tiny dark room? Or was I peeled from my skin into someone I hardly knew?

I cried tears of gold but they weren’t for me.

They were for the boy who loved me more than I loved him, for the girl who was learning how to knit her pain, for the one who made me believe in fantasies. 

It wasn’t terrible to have because life is about the good and the bad; but that moment I realized that I never really learned.

Never learned how to understand my struggles.

Never learned how to get back on my feet myself.

Never learned how to grasp the moments we can only dream of for myself.

Never learned how to sacrifice and cry for myself.

So today I’ll continue to sit in front of the mirror, break it and smash it and rip the hairs from my head. 

I’ll cry and I’ll cry until my tears feel like rust.

But then tomorrow I’ll teach myself to smile, because it’s about time I learn how to love myself.

And then maybe I’ll find the friend who grows on me, find the boy who is willing to learn about the deepest part of me, find the one who’ll live the dreams with me. 

But for now, learn how to love yourself.


RIT Communications student and Marketing/Publicity Director for Her Campus at RIT! Blogger, writer, and designer by day, latina and disability advocate by night. Blog: BeTheAesthetic.wordpress.com; art/designing account IG: @betheaesthetic
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