When I was a little girl, I thought snowflakes were a gift from God. In the winter I would stand near the willow tree by my grandparent’s house, lift my face to the sky, and watch as they swirled closer in no discernible pattern.
The snow would hide me. Envelope me. Make me feel safe. But the snow could never stay for long, and the little girl couldn’t stay little.
I turned eleven and started middle school. Every day was a new way to make me feel small. Gum in my hair, gym clothes stolen, but what was most recurrent were the notes I found in my locker telling me to kill myself. In the crude handwriting of sixth grade boys and girls I found pain I didn’t know existed.
The leaves changed, the flowers died, and the little girl did, too. When winter came, I was relieved. I was ready to feel pure again.
But purity is such an outdated concept and the curtain of snow that was crisp and white became heavy black drapes that reflected shame for everything I did.
You always hear “pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.” but what about the young girl?
“Pay no attention” to the girl who had panic attacks every time she heard the word “note” for months after she stopped finding them.
“Pay no attention” to the girl who still can’t eat in public because she was always told that when she ate, others felt ill.
“Pay no attention” to the girl who never wears shorts because she is afraid of the judgement that will come from the scars hidden on the inside of her thighs.
Pay no attention to the girl with the thick black curtains following her every move.
You know, those black drapes I had could hide a lot of things but it’s never been able to hide the fact that I grew up too quickly.
Inside, I am still that little girl who wants to be pure. That eleven year old child who hides behind her thick black drapes as the world swallows her whole.
But now --- NOW --- my curtain is not there. In its place is an open window that lets the sunshine stream in.
What had been an unbearable pain is now an acceptance and strength that cannot be hidden behind anything.
I find comfort in the scars I left on my body but as they fade my sense of purpose and who I am renews with every day. I know who I am and what I’m meant to do and even if the path on how to get there is still a little shaky that’s part of growing up and that’s okay.
My curtain is no more. And when the snowflakes return, I see them through the window, and I feel pure again.