What I Would Have Told Her — A Free Verse


At the end of every year, my mother would put together a picture book to look back on how much happened that year. This started when I was in middle school, and it was the one thing every year I dreaded.

I used to feel disgusted looking at those photos.

I used to see every little agitating detail.
I saw everything as something wrong.
Those photos used to bring back memories I wanted to forget.
My eyebrows would either be whittled down to a point by a spare razor or tweezers.
Yet they weren’t always that way, they were grown out to take a natural shape. I didn’t mind them nor did I think much of them. But a single comment changed my mind and I made an impulse decision.
In photos with beautiful days and exciting events, I would refuse to smile. I’m not the most photogenic person and my smile didn’t appeal to me in the photos that were taken. Being happy made me self conscious.
My shoulders would be hunched almost to my ears. My arms crossed in front of me. My stature slumped, afraid of having a presence in the room. Afraid of being seen.
I see it in almost every single one of them, the fear of not fitting in, the fear of not, the fear of being seen. I used to look back at myself in disgust. Ashamed of how I looked and how I felt like I needed to feel that way.
But now when I look back I see the girl that got me here.
Now when I look at those photos I just want to hug that girl. I want to tell her she doesn’t need to hide. I want to tell her how beautiful she is. I want to tell her she’s good enough. I want to tell her I love her.
I still see her in the mirror and I still see those same insecurities, but I love her no matter what.
Those old photos bring me so much joy now.
I look back on them with compassion. I look back on them with ease. They bring me a feeling of hope.
Just like they should.