This girl. The one with the lopsided pigtails. The one with the slightly crooked smile. I miss her. Sure, parts of her still exist within me. Her innocence. Her curiosity. Her empathy. And her innate need to always root for the underdog. Those things will never change.
But other things do change. It's inevitable...
I look at her face - smiling and proud - and I want to tell her so much. Be careful. Love hard, but protect your heart. Trust, but not too much. But maybe those are lessons we need to learn through experience. Maybe she needs to feel the pain and the loss in order to...what? Be who I am today? I smile, but not as much as I used to. I laugh, but sometimes I hesitate. I think way too much. I dissect people's words and try to decipher meanings when I should just accept them and the feelings they bring me.
These are the changes within me that I don't like, the ones I've been forced to face. The ones I'm working on reversing. It is difficult, and I truly have to work at it. The first time I caught myself laughing after my marriage ended was the strangest sound. It had been so long that I almost didn't recognize myself. Living in the moment is hard when you're waiting for the other shoe to drop. I tell Griffin every day to love hard. Take the risk because the benefits are so worth it! But I am not so good at taking my own advice. I hide behind my fear of rejection and my fear of not being good enough for someone again...and I hide behind my books, and writing, and words. It's safe here. But it's not what I want.
I want the laughs that come from your toes. I want to believe what people tell me. I want to shut off my brain and live in the moment. I want to open my heart and love hard, and not worry about rejection.
I'm a work in progress - we all are, really. It will take time and some work, but I have faith I will get there. And when I do...this girl will be whole again.