I used to look like this.
I used to stand on my hands,
And wear bikinis that hardly passed as clothing.
I used to wake up when I pleased
And eat when I felt like it.
I used to sip my coffee slowly as the sun inched peacefully from the horizon to the sky.
I used to lay on the beach for hours
Reading tattered hardcovers I found at thrift stores for three dollars and a smile.
I used to forgo undergarments because it made me feel freer than I already was.
I used to walk with my head high, shoulders back, and the corners of my lips curled toward the clouds.
I used to drink even if it wasn’t five o’clock somewhere.
I used to lounge in my underwear while watching countless hours of “Sex and the City” reruns eating Biscoff from the jar.
I would waste far too much time exfoliating with homemade coffee scrub, removing every last hair below my neck, moisturizing, and primping—
All for a Wednesday night.
I used to carelessly toss my clothing about my room when I knew damn well I would wear something black and skimpy.
I would drive with my windows down and music loud.
I used to feel sexy as the scent of coconut oil on my bronzed skin filled the car.
I used to frequent the bar at our local Italian restaurant and drink red wine until my lips were the color of this dress.
I used to write things that I thought people gave a damn about.
I used to write things that I thought I gave a damn about—
Things that I thought were important.
But, the truth is, I knew nothing of anything of importance until I met her.
Until my abdomen was cut in half and my daughter took her first breath.
Then all of the things I used to be faded, like putting creamer in coffee.
I used to be sexy, bold, and confident.
Now, I am a gentle creator,
A soft healer,
A patient teacher,
An eager student,
A fierce protector.
Now, I sustain the life of a human being with my own body.
Now, I am a mother—
My most important role.
Now, I am strong.
Author: Shawn Rae
Image: Author’s Own; Courtesy of Brittany Borders
Editor: Leah Sugerman