I have to say that I’ve noticed there are some lessons we aren’t learning right. We’re listening to the wrong voices, making the wrong choices, and if we are the teachers of a class called self-respect, we should all be fired.
Yes, I mean you.
You, the one who on that night when he pressured you for more than you were ready to give could not find the strength in your bones to string two letters together to say no.
And you, the one whose phone stays silent night after night and yet you still try to coax her back by putting on the faces of one-hundred and forty characters that never really fit you just right.
Yes, all of you, the ones who have squeezed into clothes that were too tight to let your lungs breath in the bright air, slathered on makeup to hide the realness of you that you could never accept and believed that he couldn’t either, acted like you didn’t care for her at all while your face was quaking and your heart was aching from the tears you were holding back because real men like you don’t cry like that.
And me. The girl who believed things about myself that were never true. Who has stood on the playground of my life for far too long, holding the heavy coat of another because I believed that was my place.
All of you. All of us. Let us come into whatever room in our house holds a mirror we have not lied into lately, and let’s tell ourselves some sets of three-word truths we’ve been reaching for, aching for: You are beautiful. You are special. You are significant. You are loved. You are needed. You are wonderful.
Oooh. Those words are hard to believe. They’re hard to read right now, theyre hard to even say out loud, and surely when I wrote them down, surely I was not thinking of you?
Remember now, we’re telling ourselves the truth. I am writing these words exactly and purposefully, only and just for you.
Because if you haven’t learned it yet, if you haven’t believed it yet, you need someone to tell you.
And I am learning it for myself too. And I am learning to be unafraid to say it. To say that without makeup and without hairspray, I am beautiful. That although I am flawed and sometimes broken, I believe I am special and I am worthy of someone else believing it too. That although there’s so much I am still unsure of, I am needed in this world of broken hearts to lend some light to the darkness.
I am not afraid to say it, because hope is catching, and maybe you might say it too.
I am not afraid to believe it, because love is contagious, and maybe, just maybe, you might look into your mirror of truth and start believing it too.
-Jessi Sanders 2012