In all the deep-cleaning we were doing last week, I came across my old poetry journal. You know I just had to stop everything I was doing and look through the pages, and in doing so I realized two things.
#1: I wrote some very depressing stuff.
#2: I wasn't very good at it.
Part of me, the part that remembers how purportedly intelligent and "gifted" I was in my younger years, is embarrassed. Almost embarrassed enough to chuck the thing into the woodstove to ensure that no one else ever reads it. And yet, I know I will do no such thing. Because another part of me, a surprisingly large part, not only remembers that lonely young girl, it realizes an undeniable truth.
I still am that lonely young girl.
Sitting here at the ripe old age of forty-one, I can look beyond the years back to that miserable little teenage girl and see her with perfect clarity. There she goes, scurrying down the hallway like a frightened mouse surrounded by traps, trying to navigate her way through a sea of humanity without making contact with it. Shoulders hunched, books clutched to her chest like a shield, she silently passes through the crowd of light and sound like a silent shadow. Her eyes are kept downcast lest anyone see the desperate pain of sheer longing she fancies would show...if anyone would be bothered to look. Her hair is un-stylish, her clothes unflattering. She has neither the means nor the skill to change either. In a world of Saks Fifth Avenue sweaters and Gucci handbags, she will always be an outsider.
I'm about a million miles away from that world now, but that girl still lives and breathes inside me.