I am still me


Shelly Batterbee

I was so full of energy and laughter as a child

Wispies. Everywhere. My hair is more like a lion’s mane than a young girl’s ponytail. But that is how it always has been.

From a little child, my hair was insane. Though it was brighter than it is now, and much shorter, the energy is still there. 

My eyes were brighter when I was younger. Filled with excitement for every part of my day and with all of the hope possible. Hope for a peaceful future and infinite happiness. Hope that I can help everyone and everything I believe in. They were curious and constantly moving. 

Now, I am more understanding of the world. I have bags under my eyes that could hold the pillows I so often miss. I still have hope for the world, but it is much less. I have seen what we have tried and am stuck wishing there is still something left we might try to save the future. My wonder and curiosity is still there however. I am always trying to find something new to inspire me. I am still finding the weird little objects that most people miss.

My ears were smaller, but still caught all of the secrets people tried to hide from me. I have always been somewhat sneaky and good at figuring things out. 

My mouth has changed—not too much in vocabulary, but in what I choose to say. I used to say whatever thought popped into my head and talking to strangers wasn’t too big of a deal. Now, after years of listening and being acclimated with what is normal and appropriate to say, I try to be more careful with the words that slip out of my mouth. I try to make sure it makes sense, but I often find I am blurting out my silly thoughts. 

I am now months away from eighteen, reminiscing on the days where I was constantly smiling and bubbly. I have changed. 

I am now seventeen, wishing I could talk to my younger self and remember my weird thoughts and ideas that could have changed the world. I wish I could see how no matter what happened, I stood tall and never wavered. Not a tear was shed other than when I was worrying over someone else. 

When did I lose the strength? I know it has just shifted, but how was I so strong back then?

When did I start seeing a stranger when I looked in the mirror? Sometimes I see me, but many times, something is off—even if I can’t tell what. 

I have changed, but who hasn’t? 

Sure, maybe it’s a little strange that I don’t look familiar after seeing myself everyday, but I am so stuck on my little kid self with bright eyes and an innocent hope for the future that I don’t accept the tired girl with bags under her eyes. 

But, I still have wispies, I still listen hard to understand what others are saying, and I still try to put my best foot forward. I still find myself laughing over the smallest things, and I am still me.