There is a girl I used to know

Various+pictures+of+the+girl+I+used+to+know+and+the+girl+I+know+now

Rebekah McDowell

Various pictures of the girl I used to know and the girl I know now

There is this girl I used to know. She was confident and happy. When she was ten, she could smile, and her whole face would light up. Her happiness was the only thing that mattered, and anyone else’s was just an added bonus.

There is this girl I used to know who would sit in her lavender bedroom with a slanted ceiling, her only company being the Barbies she was playing with. She didn’t need anyone else to make her happy because she did that herself. She only lived in the present; the past and the future didn’t matter.

There is this girl I used to know. She could laugh off any mistake she made. She only cried if there was a reason. Sure, those reasons were trivial, but they were genuine reasons. There were not constant tears rolling down her face; she knew how to keep it together.

There is this girl I used to know. She loved every little thing. A ladybug crawling up her arm excited her, and new school supplies were the best thing you could buy her. The digger in the sandbox at her elementary school was the best thing in the world, and if she got to choose what was for dinner, she was eating McDonald’s chicken nuggets.

There is this girl I used to know. The hardest things she ever had to do were learn how to ride a bike and puzzle through drawing letters. When she was eight, her best friend didn’t want to play with her at recess, and she thought the world would end.

There is this girl I used to know. She has grown up now, and she’s writing these words as an escape. She doesn’t have it as simple as Barbies and playground arguments anymore.

There is this girl I know now. She has so much anxiety and fear weighing her down; she doesn’t know what to do with it all. She’s working on it, but she’s struggling.

There is this girl I know now. She finds her happiness in making music. Even on the worst day, sitting in the stands at a Friday night football game will make her smile. Playing songs like “Hey, Baby” and “Seven Nation Army” are some of her fondest memories. This is all she has anymore. She found it a lot easier to be four years old, playing in the sandbox; the world didn’t end when her friend wouldn’t play with her, but they haven’t played together since.

There is this girl I know now. She is scared of the future. She entered high school with a group of friends. Now, she is almost through her junior year, and she has watched them come and go. She cries over trivial things now, such as someone moving schools.

There is this girl I know now. She worries about her grades, and her GPA will never be high enough. She is worried about college and wonders if she will be able to get into the ones she wants to. She has people now who don’t believe in her.

There is this girl I know now. She wishes she could be eight years old again; she wishes she could run around until the street lights came on and then color at the kitchen table. She didn’t have her worries controlling her. Nothing mattered except who she would be playing with in 45 minutes.

There is this girl I know now. She is proud of how far she’s come, but looks forward to how far she will go.”

There is this girl I know now. She turned 16 almost six months ago, but she still wonders what this year will bring. She wonders who she will be in a year, or five, or ten. She is trying so hard to figure out who she is because that’s what the world wants from her. She has finally come to terms with the fact that life isn’t fair, and some people have it better. She has lost and gained friends. She has lived through a lot of things, and she’s working through it.

There is this girl I know now. She is strong, but she’s exhausted. She is getting better, but she’s lost. There are days she wishes she could sleep all day. She wonders what it will be like when she turns 18 and goes to college. She wonders if the people who doubt her are right. What if she can’t achieve her dreams? She tries hard not to think about what people say—though she finds it harder and harder as it presses in on all sides.

There is this girl I know now. She is proud of how far she’s come, but looks forward to how far she will go.