A candid conversation...with myself
She speaks. She speaks because I allow her to. The brightness in her eyes unmatched by any other human being I've ever set my own eyes upon. Her big, beautiful, innocent brown eyes: one hundred percent pure joy...perhaps with a slight air of mischievousness in the even darker limbal rings that frame them.
"You're hindering me," she whispered, marked desperation in her almost silent tone.
Her hair, naturally almost as brown as her eyes and with more hints of copper than blonde, cropped short months ago, and is growing ragged.
She even has facial hair.
"You're hindering me." She spoke louder. "Look me in the eyes and tell me that you're not."
I was taken aback by her declaration. "How so?"
"Look at yourself." She was becoming angry, but not in a violent way. She was becoming intense. "Look at what you're doing to me."
I was silent for a moment, pondering all the courage it took to get to where I am, and how lazy I have been about it. For all I let myself know, I wanted to be a man. I wanted to be big and strong and protective. I wanted to be free from the chains of the past that have been holding me down my entire life.
Here I was, looking myself in the mirror, no shield from the honesty, and no other soul around to tell me what to think, how to feel, or how much medication I should take for any of my current...problems.
"Problems." It was all I could say.
"Yes, a lot of them. But zero if you let me out. I know what you're trying to do, and I'm suffocating because of it."
I whip-lashed inside my head. Colors spewed everywhere. It was as if I was shaking my own dust off of the tarnished chains I'd imagined myself to have removed years ago. "I am so confused."
"All my life," she stopped. Then started, "all your life, you've been running away from a monster that isn't even there anymore. You've been protecting me by doing to me exactly what they did to you. You keep me closed off, you don't address my needs, you don't put me first. And all of that keeps you closed off, your needs are not addressed, and YOU are put last. You're so confused about what's right and what's real that you don't even know what's right and what's real."
I began to cry. In unison, she began to cry, too. "I don't need help, I just want out."
"I'm sorry." I was sincere. I felt bad. Really bad. I really did think this was something that I'd always wanted. I wouldn't have endured the hate, the fracturing from my family, the estrangement from my church, the alienation from people and places I once held so dear to myself...I wouldn't have allowed myself to become an outcast if I didn't believe this was something I'd always wanted.
"I love you." again, I was sincere. The words choked out of me but they were true. "I know you're better than this. I know you can go back. But I'm scared."
"Of course you are scared. You're scared of what they're going to think. You're scared of moving forward. You're walking on eggshells around yourself. You're scared of being hurt again. But I promise you that you're much stronger than you believe. You have to believe me."
I was sobbing now. And so was she. "Please forgive me." It was something I always wanted from myself. Not for myself, but from myself. Forgiveness for the pain I endured as a child, forgiveness for not knowing how to cope as an adult. Forgiveness for not doing things right by me, forgiveness for not knowing how to do things right by me.
"I forgive you. You were doing the best you could do where you were at the time. But you're smarter, now. You're more conditioned, now. You're callous and bruised, but you're not dead. Just stronger. I forgive you."
I looked at that beautiful girl in the mirror. I adore her, stubbled chin, frazzled hair and all. I adore her fatness, her oversized everything. I adore her intelligence and her desire to better herself, even when it's the most far-fetched idea she's ever come up with, even when others disagree with her ideas. I adore her intentions. But most of all, I adore the fact that she is a fighter. If she wasn't, I wouldn't be here looking her in the mirror.
And I wouldn't have been able to say "thank you."
"For what?" She asked.
"For being here when I tried to put you up. For being here when I tried to hide you from fears that were not true. For being here when I didn't want you to be. For being here when I was ashamed of you. For being here when I wanted to die. Maybe for telling my mom, 800 miles away, that something was wrong that night. For being here when I didn't know where I was supposed to be. And for being strong enough to love me even after all of the things I have done to you."
She smiled through the tears, even laughed a little bit. "You are audacious. You wouldn't be here if it wasn't for me. But you forget that you and me are the same person. You're talking to yourself in a mirror. Look at you. Apologizing to yourself, loving yourself, forgiving yourself, and thanking yourself in a mirror. Where nobody gets to see this. Where nobody gets to appreciate your work. Nobody gets to come near this. Only you."
"And only me."
She flung her frizzy hair back and paraded out of the bathroom, into the kitchen for a cup of 3am coffee and a paper towel for the tears that were still coming, but now accompanied with laughter. "Too strong, as usual, I love it."
"Hey, maybe we should work on a new favorites list, or one of those goofy online surveys," I suggested.
"Maybe we should clean the house," she shot back with a grin. We did that, today, since she is in charge, now.