I’m not who I was. It has taken many mutations to come to this; you told me I was a butterfly, yet I am finally seeing my wings. I’m beginning to flourish because even the scars are starting to fade. Though I still see midnight days and smell the burnt odor of memories, I don’t choke on the kerosene anymore. I’m stronger than I was. If you stand back up every time you’re knocked down, your stance might wobble, but you’re still standing.
No longer do I feel the need to hide behind metaphors or similes, but I do for flavor. I show my face where before I cowered behind artistic renderings. I’m not scared to leave a mark behind but instead graffiti the world with my words.
My writing voice, my art, is starting to become more vibrant, and I’m falling in love with the person I’m becoming. This morning, I discussed goals, and tonight or tomorrow, I’m going to map out the rest of 2022. I have a friend who has a planner and a plan. Every day is mapped and planned, and though I admire that, I also allow wiggle room. Spontaneity. This is who I’m becoming. I’m bridging the gap between the idealized and the actual self. I’m writing a new autobiography, and this time, I play a starring role.
In the past, things happened to me; now, I’m the dominant force in my life. I’m not who I was. Isabelle from years ago moved out; she doesn’t live here anymore. This is trial and error, crash and burn. I’m tired of whispering, so, now you’re going to hear my voice.
It’s Pride Month, and to be honest, for years, I conflated pride and self-confidence with arrogance, but now, when I look at myself with pride, I no longer feel the need to knock myself down a peg or two. Years ago, when challenged to write three good things about myself, I walked away with a blank piece of paper.
I couldn’t see the good. Any time someone complimented me, I would discount it: Well, they don’t know the real me. Now, I’m showing the real me, and I’m no longer the sycophant, interested in pleasing everyone around me.
This is my life. It’s time for me to focus on discovering (and falling in love with) myself. No longer am I going to demur when confronted with the good in me. If it’s true, I accept it. If not, but it’s something I wish were true, I will work on incorporating it into myself. A friend once told me that there is no point in complaining about the traits we lack but instead, we either figure out how to embody them or drop them, but complaining serves no good.
I’m constantly in flux. That’s the beauty of my mental illness. Yesterday, I was crying because she described me in ways that made me feel weak. I hated myself – eyes red and puffy with tears. But today, I tell myself, “Look how far I’ve come.” I’m mostly stable with situations that drag me down. I’m funny. I’m vivid. I take up space. I’m loud. I’m no longer apologizing for my existence.
Tomorrow, I might hide inside of my shell. I might not speak to anyone, but I accept that is a component of who I am. I might not accomplish every goal, but I’m still accomplishing something and I have people who believe in me.