I always aspired to be one of those mystery girls. The ones you see in the school hallways and as they pass by you that little annoying internal voice of yourself goes, Damn, there struts a girl who doesn’t cry into her bowl of Fruit Loops in the morning. I am a hot mess by nature, as I have no patience and a tendency to lose it at the slightest disarray. I have long draping hair that will absolutely never blow out the direction I want it to go, and these two little sticks of side bangs that cling flat to my forehead when I don’t fix my hair properly. To top it all off, my skin is composed of over active sweat glands, my face gets lobster colored when I get flustered, and whenever I try to speak up in class I get this hoarse man voice that often cracks like a prepubescent teenage boy. In summation, I live my life in a perpetual state of calamity.
I used to really love myself too much. Narcissism was my downfall; I was prideful to the point of looking in the trophy cabinet at school and casually shaking out my curls and knowing that I thought I was perfect. I see pictures of myself from that time, and I was so fearless. No abash for the opinions of others, no concern over what I was or was not doing with my weekends. I felt pretty and because of that I was. I dared other people to doubt who I was and stared them down when they did. I enjoyed the control I realized I could empower over those around me, and I began to realize the potential that simmered through my bones. I knew I was flawed, but I didn’t notice and I just pretended no one else did either.
Then slowly there was a gradual but noticeable shift, as I began to age and started to truly open my eyes to those around me. With enough time there will be fall out, and there certainly was for me. All of my so-called glorious perfection began to dissolve around me, dissipating into the air and taking with it all of my spunky confidence and joy. It was a sluggish leak, but once the knob was twisted I would never feel the same way about myself again. There was once a light in my eyes, a glossy shine exuded into the atmosphere, but with each tear down and disappointment, the light dimmed.
I grew up in Louisiana, and spent my summers frolicking up and down the white coasts of the Florida beaches. I had never seen a mountain until I was around the age of seven. I asked my dad as we drove up to Tennessee what a mountain looked like, as I mistook the rolling hills of Georgia for true summits. My dad had laughed and smiled at me. These aren’t the real mountains. The further we drove the more substantial the peaks became, until I truly understood what he meant. His words launched back into my life as the infinitesimal dilemmas of my teenage life began to evolve. Each new hurdle was a little bit steeper, the rocks fell upon me a little bit more painfully, and the slow leak morphed into a consistent seeping. At first it was just school related, learning to manage high school classes and accept my educational imperfections. Then it was about my friends and feeling lonely, and I’d lose my footing as I climbed the slope, having to regroup on a new ledge. Then I learned what it truly means to lose, and I began to accept a torrential downpour of boulders upon my head. I even learned to open the umbrella to this and shield myself from the bitter stabs. At some point I finally will reach the pinnacle, but I ask myself at what cost? I will reach the top as everyone eventually does, but what will I have lost and suffered along the way?