Dear friends, I am sorry that I have been a little more distant this week…..or maybe you didn’t notice. No one hardly does. There is no appreciation for the effort of slapping a smile hurriedly on my face whenever expected. So maybe you didn’t notice at all. You didn’t notice how my smile has become barely more than a twitch of my lips, and how all my nervous little habits have come back. My fingernails are chewed down to the nub again, and my fingers twist themselves tightly into knots. And my nervous yawn has come back. Or maybe you didn’t notice those things.

Did you notice perhaps how I cut my hair short again? How the edges jaggedly brush my shoulder blades as I pace the tile in the foyer of my house, clenching my fists and listening to piano music.

Have you noticed that the sweet little index cards, with flower doodles and kind adjectives, have stopped popping up? They don’t peek out of your math textbooks and get stuck in your back pockets anymore.

Do my wrists seem barer, without the usual array of neon bracelets?

Dear friends, have you noticed anything at all?

 

ART

I am not the kind of beautiful that stops you in your tracks. My smile doesn’t cement you where you stand, and my the freckles by the corners of my eyes don’t draw your gaze. The first adjective that comes into your mind when you see me, isn’t beautiful. And I don’t want it to be.

I don’t want to be called beautiful before I am called strong, courageous, or alluring.

I don’t want people to look at my almost-bobbed hair and find it charming. I want them to ask why I keep it at that length. I want to sit down with peppermint hot cocoa and tell them how I lost myself when I was twelve. And how I mourned the only way I knew how: by letting go.

I don’t want people do look at my freckles and find them cute. I want them to stare at my cheeks and hold my wrist, where they form constellations. And I want to tell them of the times that my freckles were cut through with black ink because there was a pain inside of me. And I want to tell them of the days in eighth grade where my hand was covered in doodles because I needed color. And I couldn’t look at my freckles and think that they were beautiful. I want them to ask me so I can tell them of how I ran in the sun and played barefoot in the woods. And I want so badly to close my eyes and tell them of the time I remember being happy. Because once upon a time I was happy when I got these freckles.

I don’t want people to think my laugh is wonderful without hearing the story that shaped it. I want them to tilt their heads, and me to hold their gaze. I want to cling to my fuzzy pink blanket that lays at the end of my bed, and I want to tell them how my laugh was made. How for a long time, I didn’t have a laugh. And this new laugh that I have, was sculpted out of pain, sadness, joy, and freedom. And then they will feel better about making me laugh.

I don’t want people to look at my metallic golden sheen on my nails and think that it is sloppy. Or unique. I want them to grasp my hand, and trace the imperfect paint lines. And I want them to ask why gold. And I want to tell them why.

I don’t people to look at my smile and think that it is wonderful. I want them to ask about the tiny crack on my left front tooth. I want to tell them how I got my smile. How I found out how to smile again, after a time that I swore I would never smile again.

I don’t want to be called beautiful. I want to be called art.

We fall down.

It’s human nature. There are not any of us who have not fallen down.

Bleeding knees in Preschool, etc.

And I know I promised myself that I wouldn’t anymore.

That I couldn’t.

And I know I swore that I would be better, and that I was past it.

But today I couldn’t stop it.

And the worst part was, it was a normal day.

Feelings rose and rose, higher and higher.

Tears clawed at my eyes.

And I told myself I was better, I told myself I was still ok. And I said I would not break again.

But just like glass, I’m gone again.

I had just found my shape, my purpose, and my dream.

And it’s all gone again.

By god, how can someone live like this? How can I? Always fearing relapse, and then when you finally think that you are happy, it just happens all over again.

Is there no end to pain?

I’ve seen my brother cry only a few times in my life.

Showing emotion is not welcomed the older you get into high school as a boy.

And so, I watched him shut off emotion except for anger, irritation, and the arrogant “I’m above everyone else,” he is with his friends.

I watched my brother become an alien.

But today, today was different. I saw the sensitive boy he was taught to hide.

The one who sobs at a funeral for a grandmother he has always loved.

I watched his walls crumble, and his resolve flake off.

I saw him become my brother again.

Glass

My words are glass and steel.

 

They shoot from my lips with an evil intent, and every time hit their target.

 

Merciless.

 

They float out delicate like swirled blown glass shapes, or cut my lips as they fall helpless to the floor.

 

There are so many things I don’t say.

We hugged yesterday.

 

It wasn’t a movie-worthy hug, but an awkward half-hug with a couple hurried words that fell out of my mouth.

I wanted to say I was proud, and that I never had a doubt that you could ever not do it. I wanted to say I loved you as if you didn’t already know. I wanted to say that I missed you, and I would always be there. I wanted to say you didn’t have to drown out your troubles with country music and bitter jokes. I wanted to say that your eyes seemed happy, ever gold bit like a spark that was alighting a blaze. I wanted to say I hoped you were happy. I wanted you to promise that we would talk still, even after you were gone. And most importantly, I wanted you to know that I remember when we started drifting apart………….and I’m sorry.

 

 

But instead, I hugged you and hoped you knew all that already.

And the hug was perfect to me.

 

I’m trying to be the person I needed six months ago.

 

I have been asked why I’ve changed, and I scoff. I haven’t changed, not really.

 

I have changed from being in the shadows, watching people like me walk with a smile painted on their features.

And I am tired of it.

 

I try to be bubbly, sweet, and kind. Because six months ago, that is who I wanted. I wanted someone who noticed my sad little smiles but didn’t really say anything. I wanted someone who made me laugh more than I thought humanly possible. I wanted someone who could handle ups, as well as my downs.

 

Overall, I have just become the person I needed to.