Black Girl: As Is

Writer. Creator. Shapeshifter.

XXII.

Today I woke up to the sun.  I opened my eyes and for the first time in a long time, I didn’t draw pain in at first breath.  It was the first time my skin didn’t scream and pull at me.  I felt like me…and then the wave came and washed my homecoming away. 

Since my mind was free to focus on something other than my “fake it till you make it” oxygen mask, I could actually hear myself think.  I had a lot to say.  I needed to tell myself how utterly I had failed.  I needed to compare myself to my showroom model.  The one I paint over my skin.  The one that has all the things I swear I want until I hold them in my hand.  

I ordered a greasy breakfast because I craved bacon and self-flagellation.  I ignored a bunch of texts that smelled like expectation.  I sat inside because the drugs that gave me back my contours claim my daytime hours.  They demand a three-foot bathroom proximity and a sun shield.  While I wait out my mobility’s tariff, I decide to make myself useful and wash my hair.  It comes out in clumps in my hands.  I think back to last night. “I didn’t recognize you.  I was looking for a bunch of hair…you gonna grow it out?” I think about the showroom model

I wrap the towel around myself and catch my reflection in the mirror.  I study the bruises left by my bra straps.  I study the bruises left by the couch and the subway.  I study the sadness in my face and I lack sympathy.  I launch an assault of “maybe if you hadn’t” and “you didn’t appreciate it when”.  I chastise myself for complaining to myself because I’ve seen so much worse.  It could be so much worse. 

I try to approach each day with wide eyes.  I try to look up and lean in.  But often I fail.  Today I failed.  Recently, I’ve been taught to celebrate failure.  It’s a work in progress.  It’s a pen lying next to a pad. 

Tonight I took a selfie.  It was the first time, in a long time that I didn’t hide my face. No filter. No war paint. No shield.  It wasn't a celebration but it was a step.  I figure, if I keep putting one foot in front of the other, eventually I'll find my way home.  

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