What You See

 

Strength

WHAT YOU SEE
by
Jade A. Waters

There is a girl
Beautiful, broken, bruised, smiling
She is all of these things
She’s got a history
You can never fathom
Though you try.
She’s moved mountains
Swum oceans
Run miles
Through thorns and rocky terrain
That
From the looks of her
You’d never imagine she could have faced.
What you see
When you look at her
Is the beautiful
And the smiling;
You don’t see the black and blue
That’s forever imprinted on her soul
You don’t see the scars
On her heart
Or all the battles she’s won.
You only see the beauty, the afterglow
The radiance she’s worked so hard to keep
Despite the scratches running the length
Of each of her veins
Marring her for an eternity.
She doesn’t flash them often—
She doesn’t need to, doesn’t want to
Because she’s earned these smiles
She’s stolen back this beautiful heart
She’s claimed a lifetime of looking forward
After what was.
But sometimes, when you look at her,
You tell her what you see
Like it’s all there is
And anything she could share with you
Is trivial and mundane,
Petty figments of her imagination
That couldn’t possibly be
Because how could a girl
Who looks like this
Have experienced that?

I hear you
I really do
It’s hard to believe something that ugly
So many things that ugly
Could have happened to one single soul,
But the truth of the matter is
They have.
So
Before you tell me it can’t be that bad
Tell me I’m lovely and happy
I’m lucky
And so it could never have happened
That way
For me,
I want you to look at me
Really look at me,
See the beauty, sure, but see the bruises
And the marks deep inside, too
Please.
I ask of you.
I’ve earned them
I’ve fought through them
They are who I am, part of me, always me
My right to feel and have
Not whatever it is you keep telling me
That you see.
That?
She’s a different girl
Who isn’t
And never was
Me.

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