We’re the invisible ones. When someone walks into a room, their gaze floats right over us. There’s no pause, not even for a fraction of a second. Their breath doesn’t hitch in their throat, their heart doesn’t beat a little faster than before. There’s no change. We’ve grown up reading stories and watching movies about girls that make time stop. We’re not one of them.
We don’t make heads turn. It doesn’t have anything to do with being pretty. We just don’t have that sort of presence — we’re not sunlight, we’re not solid gold with a dash of heat. We’re the faint touch of cool, the pale darkness, the lonely moon. We’re silence, while they are laughter.
We don’t have gardens growing inside our rib cage, just wilted flowers. This heart of ours, it pumps more than blood, it breathes fire. Our heartbeat is like the sound of thunder. Our world is made of blacks and whites — there’s no room for grey. We don’t do things halfway.
We were never taught to feel less, were never taught to hold back. We were never taught to give ourselves in pieces, to hold onto fragments. It’s all or nothing. We have no time for in betweens. We don’t want a few stars, or a few cups of water. We want the entire ocean, the complete galaxy.
We don’t hate ourselves. We stopped doing that a long time ago. We’re a patchwork of qualities — some good, some bad — but we cherish them all. We’ve struggled accepting ourselves the way we are — so different, so strange. But now that we have, we’re never going back.
We’ve loved, we’ve lost, we’ve learnt. We’ve learnt to stand up again. But we don’t jump in front of moving cars anymore. We don’t teeter at the edge of mountains, waiting for ourselves to fall. We hold onto the ground. We’ve buried our anchor far deep into the Earth. We’re not yet ready to soar into the sky. Our wings still hurt, we’re not yet ready to fly.
We’re made of steel. Our heart is wrapped in layers of obsidian. It hadn’t always been this way. Our hearts used to stand unguarded, fierce and brave. But years and years of vulnerability have left it battered and bruised. It cannot stand unprotected. Now it’s surrounded by walls after walls, walls you cannot break. There’s a secret path that you must take, a path that will open only if you ask.
We’ve mastered the art of leaving and letting go. It’s not easy. It’s never easy. But we’re better at it now. We let ourselves burn, and out of the ashes we rise — stronger, harder, a little less of what we used to be. We’re mere shadows of our past selves. It’s too late to go back to how things were so we keep moving forward, being the best we can be.
We don’t have a hole in our hearts, waiting to be filled. Our souls aren’t empty. We’re not waiting for someone to rescue us from ourselves, we’re not waiting for someone to save us. We made a map of all that we lack, demarcated all the portions that are devoid of life. And then we nurtured them. We still are. We’re struggling and growing.