Despite this RBF and these arms that almost (so close) rival Michelle Obama, Regina King, and Angela Bassett. Despite my ability to bounce back and figure things out and always look put together. Despite my laughter and my proud stance and consistently even tone of voice. Despite all of that… I am delicate. I am sensitive. I am (sometimes) grasping. I was asked who I want to be, how I want others to see me.
And the truth is, I want to be and be seen as all of those things I first mentioned. I don’t want anyone to know how deeply I need to be loved and understood and accepted. So I give. I don’t want anyone to know that I have moments of complete and utter weakness. So I laugh. I don’t want anyone to know that I’m failing. So I never ask. I battle ferociously so that I can suffer silently. It’s the malfunction associated with pride. My malady is my strong chin.
I feel it crumbling. My lips quake and my eyes twitch. My ears burn red. My fingers twist into fists to keep from trembling. I can’t run fast enough from the questions. Questions are the needles that stab voraciously at the vessel that holds my pain and my tears and every ounce of resolve that I have squeezed from this life. I am not all the things that you thought and I’m not sorry.
There is a tiny person who looks to me, though. Who needs to be allowed to cry for no reason and be held. Whose forehead and cheeks and owie need to be kissed. Whose lip and chin will tremble, looking for comfort. And I will soften for her. Brows furrowed with concern, lashes damp with vicarious distress. She will grow up and own her emotions. Her tears will spill in sorrow, indignation, joy. Her joy will spill in happiness, fulfillment, satisfaction. Her anger will erupt with injustice, betrayal, dishonor. She will know how to control those feelings, yet never hide them.
She will be different. She will be known.
And by then, I hope that I am too.