Loose Change

I don’t feel pretty or brave.

I must be, in some way, because my roommate seems to think I am.

But I don’t pray anymore for a heart that’s bright and bold.

“Please just guard it,” I beg.

Because it’s made all the wrong choices it can take.

Because I’ve been treating it like loose change.

 

At the CMT Awards Wednesday night a girl stood next to me, hair lighter than mine, body slimmer and skin dark against her spotless white jumpsuit.

If I could look like her, “ I thought, “maybe they wouldn’t have left.” If I looked like that, maybe they wouldn’t choose someone else.”

I picked  girls out of the stands, comparing myself to them-famous girls or girls hanging on the arm of someone that was. I picked others out of the crowd around me, out of the line of backup dancers onstage. One by one, I sized myself up to them. Would he choose her over me? What about her, or her? How do I compare? If I looked like her, I could be confident. If I sang like her, I could be enough.

 

Sitting on the edge of my bed, I hugged myself with my arms, despondent and watching him. “Cell phone, wallet, keys,” he said, methodically grabbing each and shoving them in his pockets. “Love me,” I pleaded to him in my head. “Tell me I’m beautiful.” I never asked him for that out loud. I shouldn’t have had to. He kissed me on the forehead and, eyes looking somewhere past mine, opened the door to leave.

 

Loose change.

 

“…I don’t understand why he’s doing this,” the girl in the white jumpsuit admitted to her friend. Her cheeks were dry, but her eyes  could have been crying.

“Look at you,” I thought to myself. “You’re so beautiful. Forget him.” Then I looked at myself- bitter, jealous, angry. And somewhere, buried underneath a tangled mess,

Beautiful.

I don’t know how to uncover that beautiful, confident part of myself, but I’m praying for the headstrong girl I used to be. I miss the eleven year old who read books in her dad’s tree climber in the backyard, and didn’t care what the neighbors thought of her, perched  4 feet above their privacy fence. She was her own unabashed, weird person with her books and her daydreams and she never cared.

 

What happened to that little girl?

How many told her love was something to earn,

And she wasn’t worth it?

How many did she believe?

 

I’m sifting through the months and moments in my past to contact the lies I chose to believe and replace them with the wonderful, simple truth.

Listen to me now.

You are beautiful.

You are special.

You are loved.

You were worth

Dying for.

You are enough.

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