Toss your crumpled life up in the air then watch a glossy white sheet of paper float and glide down slowly, a soft silhouette against the setting sun.
A clean slate from heaven is a delightful espresso shot until you feel your heart pounding with the realization that nothing’s figured out…yet.
Most of the time, I feel like a toddler playing dress-up. I walk around drowning in my Mom’s trench coat; both feet stuck deep in a pair of oversized stilettos. Twenty-three feels like a hundred little lightning bolt striking down my spine. It thunders connotations that are way too serious, too definite, too responsible.
Coming to terms with a not-so-put-together version of myself, I’ve learned gentleness that still knows strength. I’ve learned to forgive myself, to embrace and love her despite the imperfections. I’ve learned comfort in solitude. I’ve wandered streets and came across kind-hearted strangers who gave me three Krispy Kreme doughnuts for the price of two; a free warm cup of black coffee to complement my breakfast; and some polite remarks about my contagious smile.
This year, I am Miss Congeniality taking her time. I am pacing myself and keeping my circle small. I am tackling life in bite sizes, not swallowing it whole. When emotions ring the bell, I open my front door and welcome them in. I hand them names written on sticker paper cut outs as I sit on the dinner table, listening to their rants. I let them stay for as long as they want, until they’re ready to go.
Some who saw it as indolence, or fear, or pessimism crossed the yellow caution lines only to make the burden heavier. They spilled alcohol over open wounds, dragged me by my broken arm, and uttered words that weren’t encouraging at all. They kept themselves busy jotting down prescriptions, even suggested I give myself a deadline. I shrugged.
For the entirety of my life, I’ve always bent down so people could have a platform to stand on; I’ve torn the pages of my book so they could have a story in theirs; I’ve set myself on fire so they could stay warm. How is charity even a virtue if it threatens self-love, if it compromises one’s value, if it makes you a giant pile of spare things people only go to, to get fixed?
This year, I was the one who needed fixing but I didn’t slay people’s lives in order to get even, or demand they pay me back for the times they stressed me out. I kept it low-key. I remained silent while I try to put my shit together. I wasn’t a self-entitled brat stepping on people’s backs, or tearing pages out of their books, or setting them on fire so I could stay warm. I just sit before this giant pile of broken glass.
The know-it-alls were avoided. The huggers, back-patters, and the ones who have the widest smiles were welcomed. God knows how much I’m grateful for having them.
They’ve seen sweat and tears; cuts and blood; and their company made it a little bearable. Around them, I didn’t have to walk on tiptoes. I can snort before the punch line. I can order the biggest meal and finish it off with a dessert. I can wear honesty like a broken-in classic white Chuck Taylor.
They listen; they look me in the eyes; they grip my hand with reassurance. There weren’t any condescending advice or snide remarks. No how-tos; no formula. They only sit with me as I tell stories. They welcome my quirks and they don’t mind the heart hanging by the sleeve. They are the ones who truly know. They cheer me on. They get excited whenever I pick another broken piece.
For coming off so real, so honest and so dependable, they are given access to this huge stained glass mosaic I’ve been working on.
They think it’s a sight to behold. They think it will turn heads.