To The Girls Who Have Forgotten Their Strength


Lately, she’s been letting the bathroom mirrors fog up whenever she showers. Sure, it’s pretty staggering when she tries to get out, the moisture, the heat. Like she’s trying to get dressed in a sauna. She could open a window, or leave the door a crack.

But then the mirror would clear up.
Then she’d have to look.

And what a sight it would be, one of perfectly imperfect combinations, of skin, of heart, of memories. She just can’t see what a beautiful thing that would be.

Lately, she’s been rewriting definitions of who she thought she’d become. She wants to cry in the middle of the grocery store and isn’t even sure why. She makes a list in her head of all the things she still hasn’t done, all the things she should, all the things she never will.

Funny, she never remembers all the ways she has survived to get here. All the times she has thrived.

She wonders what would happen if she crawled into her bed for 72 hours. She could pull all the drapes shut, put her phone on Do Not Disturb. Maybe she could disappear, just momentarily. Maybe she doesn’t know how to be okay.

How to be in control.
How to be strong.

She thinks back to the last fire to hold her hand. The way he kissed each knuckle and she buckled beneath him. She thought love and vulnerability were synonymous, that within the craziness of falling, she couldn’t also possibly be strong.

She remembers the way he made her doubt, the times he invalidated how she felt and she nodded along.

There is a photo of them in a car sitting on her mantel. He is looking at her in it, and she beams at the camera.

Maybe that’s just how he looks at girls in cars. Looks like they need saving, doesn’t see how she can be her own Superhero. Her kryptonite not his hands, or the galaxy behind his glasses, the promises that fall silent when the sun rises and the sheets are made.

She only falls when she forgets her power, that she is the moon and stars and everything he wishes upon. She thinks, maybe that’s just how he looks at girls in cars. Doesn’t even see she’s the one driving.

She’s always been the one driving.