It was never about being pretty.

I always felt the need to be functional. I didn’t need the highest grades, the nicest face or hair. I just wanted to be left in peace.

I had friends. Some were good. Some were bad. Some took advantage of the weakness I was fighting. Many people didn’t know who I was. They had a one note character sheet on the weird quiet girl, with average grades.

I didn’t play sports in teams. I wasn’t invited. I wasn’t wanted. They had their cliques. I tried to fit into mine. I played solo. I danced.

I never wore the makeup my mum encouraged me to wear. I never wore the skirts and dresses that connected my skin with the air. I saved those venerable moments, the quiet pretty times for when I was alone. Sealed within my room, darkened by the curtains I’d had for many moons. I played dress up and pretend to be anyone but me. But that isn’t true. There’s someone I wanted to be.

She was tall and dark and strong. She was powerful but quiet. Who had people listen when she talked. She was impactful, memorable, more than just a face. But she was that too: a simple but pretty face.

She was someone I didn’t believe I could be. Dark and lovely, sweeping mystery. I longed for her with all my heart and yet it never came to be. Because she wasn’t who I thought she was, who I would grow to see. She was closed off, unemotional, though enigmatic it’s true. She was an outershell, the inside of which nobody truly knew. She was withdrawn and quiet, like the girl I was then. She didn’t share her thoughts either, which made her attractive to men.

I grew older and taller and slowly it all changed. I never altered my figure, but my expectations weren’t the same. I would learn to talk with honesty, and fudge the details less. I embraced the femininity and finally embraced the dress. The hair I had longed for, dark, long and lovely, is gone now, replaced with short, bright and funny.

I still have my problem, the wishes I still want to be true. But the woman I am now is more than that little girl knew.


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