Warning: naughty language ahead!
To the woman I wanted to become,
You are so beautiful and pure. Naively untainted. You made all of the right decisions and are ambitious as hell. You resisted all of the things they taught you to say “no” to—every parent’s dream, while in reality I was the one saying “why the hell not?”
You are amazing and you are beautiful. Someone your family is proud of, someone worthy of being looked up to. You don’t have scars that you have to keep hidden because you do not bare any scars—you are porcelain.
Although you are porcelain and you are beautiful, I have come to find that you do have a weakness: you are fragile. No matter how bright your crystallized, untainted white soul may shine, you are naive. There is so much that you don’t understand. There is still so much that you have yet to feel because you have lived your life within a bubble of perfection, trying to please everyone.
While the beautifully paved and landscaped path that you walk makes you feel safe and comfortable, there is so much that you will not see without romping through the dark and ominous forests from time to time. Yes, your straight and narrow is ideal, but is ideal really a way to live? Doesn’t it sound exciting to go out on a limb—to do something crazy?
You are pure and you carry a childlike innocence. I am the leather to your lace. You are beautiful, soft, and spotless. I, on the other hand, am beautifully bad-ass. I am leather: tough, resilient, and beautiful in my own way. I am not perfect as I once longed to be, but I am real and I have lived. I have experienced things that the woman I hoped to be would never experience. I have laughed, cried, and felt immeasurable joy from stupid mistakes that I have made. I have let myself be wild and free when my soul calls me to be—I have grown and I have learned.
I am calloused, while you are baby smooth.
I can stand the heat of the sun while you must be carefully watched as to not get burned. Because, unlike me, you are painfully delicate.
I stand here today with ugly scars marking my skin, and the ugliest of my scars adorning my tortured and beautiful mind. Ideally, I saw myself being perfect, being you. But with my scars come stories and with those stories come lessons. Every scar I wear on my body and my heart marks me as a fighter. I am a woman who has experienced and who has overcome. A woman who has stories to tell. A woman who has felt the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows.
As they say, you can’t appreciate sunlight without the rain—and, in my mind, you never seemed to experience any rain—so how could you truly ever appreciate the sun?
I wanted to be perfect. I wanted to be everything they wished for me to become—but here I am, just me. An imperfect mess with big dreams. A woman much stronger than she could have ever dreamt herself to be. A woman who has experienced and made enough mistakes to cover three generations of her bloodline, but also a woman who is strong. A woman who knows how to appreciate beauty—because all of my days have not been beautiful.
I am not you, ideal woman, not even close.
But here I stand: tattered and patched together, stronger, wiser, more accepting, and more loving. I am so much more for my realness—for everything that has happened in my life that could not be anticipated. I am stronger than you, the woman I was in my dreams, because I am real and I am broken in. Just like a favorite pair of shoes, I am lived in and I am unconventionally perfect.
The woman I became.
We cannot live our lives trying to be what everyone else wants us to be, not even ourselves. We just have to go with the flow of each day—love others and love ourselves along the way. Throw our preconceived notions for ourselves out the window; we are going to be something even more beautiful than we could possibly imagine.
Make mistakes. Get in trouble from time to time. Stay safe. Be smart. Be free. And always love yourself.
Be bad-ass and be real.
Author: Emily Cutshaw
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Image: Ales Motyl/Flickr