July 29, 2008


I want to tell you about:

• the shabby girl with dirty, holey socks who watched another child’s humiliation and, for years, used it as affirmation of her own lack of worth and her secret fear that other would discover that she actually is that shabby little girl.

• the ugly girl who always felt she had to smile—no matter what.

• the impish girl who wants someone who will throw the waffle back.

• the fearful girl who is afraid she’ll put her heart into it and it will still be really stupid or ridiculous or—at best—not nearly good enough.

• the traveling girl who dreamed of jumping out of the boat and swimming in the light.

• the tearful girl who comforted herself by pretending someone was tucking her into bed.

• the skeptical girl who wrote a letter to her minister asking how—if God was so great—he would send people who grew up on a remote and isolated island and had know way of knowing about him to hell for not believing in him. And added that she didn’t buy that Jesus fed all those people with one loaf of bread and one fish.

• the brave girl who is not scared of the dark.

• the earnest girl who cared so much about detail in her drawings that she obsessed over how to draw Santa with enough toys in his sleigh for all the children in the world and who blossomed under her first grade teacher’s praise.

• the silly girl who hides in the closet when she is feeling playful.

• the joyful girl who sings in the shower when she is happy.

• the resourceful girl who is good at taking care of herself.

• the creative girl who took pride in the shoes she colored with magic marker but, after seeing others’ reactions to them, was silently shamed and embarrassed and humiliated and never wore them again.

• the protective girl who never told her friend the terrible things people were saying.

• the dreamy girl who is hopeful. Eternally hopeful.

• the lonely girl who comforted herself by pretending someone was tucking her into bed.

• the sentimental girl who would swallow her gum on the days of important events in an attempt to keep a piece of them with her for seven years.

• the damaged girl who always had one foot out the door.

• the optimistic girl who wants to bring her foot back inside and close the door.

For now, though, I will just tuck them away.

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