Not Who I Thought I Would Be

Some days, I feel as delicate as a paper lantern, but those days I feel so delicate, it’s not winds that will blow me whichever way they please, it’s my moods.  On days like these, I don’t want to be coddled or sympathized with; I want compassion and empathy.  I don’t want to be babied; I want to be better.  I’m tired of being a stereotype; I’m tired of fitting exactly what you expect of me.  I want to be more.

I’m tired of being myself.  I’d like to try on a different me for size.  I always thought I could change; now, I’m suddenly starting to realize I’m the same as the girl in the framed photograph of my mother and me.  The one where my hair is dyed blonde, my smile is forced, and we played hooky because I was struggling so badly with my emotions.  I’m still forcing smiles at people who hardly know me.  I’m still struggling with my emotions.

Sure, I’ve grown up and changed and blossomed.  The ugly duckling becomes the swan, but still the ugly duckling sees its reflection in the pond, and thinks, “Ugly, ugly, ugly.”  Some habits are hard to kill.

Some are like smoking, and they unfurl themselves inside of your lungs and alter your breathing patterns.  I feel like my self-hatred is like that.  It clenches like a fist and lies dormant for a while, but then, when you least expect it, it comes out at you and strikes like a snake.

Though my feathers may be white and I may be called “swan”, I still look into the shimmering, rippling waters of the pond, and think, “Ugly, ugly, ugly.”

-L.G.

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