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Tears streamed down my face, his tiny hands wrapped around my fingers as he held tightly to me. This tender act shocked me from my sorrow. This fragile little boy was gripping me with all of his strength. He was communicating to me and I could hear him. "It's not your fault." the thought raced through my mind but I extinguished it just as quickly as it appeared.

Of course, it was my fault. My body was weak, just as I am weak. I was never strong. I should have seen that before. It was only the guise of strength to hide my weakness. Sorrow gripped me as tightly as he did. I hadn't realized at the time but this moment forever changed my life.

Just as the moment on the playground with Jimmy and his friends had transformed me into a monster, this moment would transform me into someone gentle. I just didn't know it yet. It would take me years to claw my way out of despair. Years to find out who I was meant to become.

The version of myself today is nothing like the version that I have shared with you. Is the mean girl still there? Sure, somewhere inside of me she will always be there, just under the surface. Does she dominate my thoughts, actions, and deeds? Nope. She will be mourned for she gave me strength when I felt helpless but I don't need her anymore. I can tell her that her watch is over. The person that I am today is stronger in her kindness than I ever was in my meanness.

Life...challenges us. If the people in your life are not what you need, find new people. They exist, I assure you. Somewhere, in this world, are people who will pull you up and lend you their strength. It takes a strength to realize you need help and courage to seek it. I have seen people claim they are strong because they endured the suffering but I have always wondered to myself is a strength was really what that was. Why should you have to endure suffering? Shouldn't you be cherished for who you are? Shouldn't you be accepted for who you are? Well, shouldn't you?

I'm asking hard questions and I am making challenging statements. If you have come this far, I commend you. It is not easy to listen to someone telling you that the choices you have made have brought you to where you are. It is much easier to believe that you are powerless. Without power, there is no responsibility. Without power, you simply exist. You sit in the corner alone at your school, wishing that the pretty girls will notice you and want to be your friend. You grow angry at them for ignoring you. You exist! Don't you? You exist and you deserve to be loved but who can love you when you can't love yourself?

When forced to face our own inner demons we find ourselves trapped in our own fears and insecurities. We make excuses for our failures and blame the world for our suffering. There are situations that are painful. There may be things that you have gone through when you had no strength to defend against it.

There may have been moments when everything felt just beyond your control. What did you do? How did you respond? What decisions did you make? You've seen the movies. Women who have gone through terrible, horrible things, some become stronger, and others crumble. What happens after is what defines you. THAT is where those who are strong are separated from those who are weak.

Are you the girl who thinks the world owes you something and that those mean girls are to blame for your unhappiness or are you the girl who decided that you are better than their criticism and you change yourself...for yourself. Never change for someone else. Those changes don't stick. Change because it is what you want to do. Change because you are ready. Don't change for me because I don't care what you do.

Your story doesn't interest me and we are not friends. You may say "But you changed for someone? You changed for your son." I would say that you are correct. I changed for him because he was a part of me and his existence depended on me loving myself enough to not be afraid to cry in front of him. It was a change that demanded submission and self-love. It was a change that screamed "You are worthy!" even when my inner dialog sang a different melody.

I am whatever you say I am. You think I am an insensitive wench who has no idea what you have endured...sure. You think that I am an asshole who doesn't understand that you are a male who is hanging on every word hoping that I will acknowledge you...you bet. You believe, deep within your soul that I know nothing about anything and you have wasted your time.

I'd say "completely...well...probably". In fact, you are most likely correct about that too. I will never be able to walk in your shoes just as you will never be able to walk in mine and I am perfectly comfortable with that. I believe that if you want to find value in these words you will. It isn't complicated.

In fact, it is pretty simple. I am what you think I am. I will be how you see me. In your eyes, it is decidedly so. Just as I write this, I envision a girl sitting alone in the corner...hoping someone will notice she exists. She is tragic. She can never be a mean girl. Is that a bad thing? You tell me. Is it?


Author's Note:

We are almost there.

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