the pandora box of ugly thoughts

I hope you will go out and let stories happen to you, and that you will work them, water them with your blood and tears and you laughter till they bloom, till you yourself burst into bloom.
- Clarissa Pinkola Estes

facebook has that nifty memory-sharing widget (forgive me, i forget its name) and on february 11, i looked through all the memories that i had posted on that day, or that friends had posted with me in mind.

february 11 is my birthday.

image is mine. please ask permission if you intend on using it.
you know, ive never felt myself aging.  ive never felt the slow growth that getting older provides. ive never felt older. ive never felt like im becoming more than i was before.

but as i scrolled through the memories, the birthday wishes and photos of the years past...
i could see it. 

on my 16th year, i thought i was so grown up.  i had everything that i needed to make my own way in this world. sure, i was a self-conscience baby who wasn't so certain about how to link my own fears and insecurities to the fact that i felt like i should've been complete by now.  i still had acne, wasn't that supposed to clear up by the time i was an 'adult'?

on my 17th year, i realized how young i was.  16 is a step forward and 18 is a step forward...but 17 is just...there.  and thats how i felt. just there. i suffered feelings of self-worth. i let myself bully myself.  i let myself hold myself back.  'i can't wear that, it makes my arms fat'.  'i cant wear my hair up, it doesn't hide my acne'.  oh beautiful girl.  why do you punish yourself for something you can't control?

this is also mine.
on my 18th year, i lifted my head up and stepped over the physical insecurities. 'you don't get to get me', i said.  but lo, i discovered a new insecurity.  i started nannying, and as good as it was for me, the fear of failure wrecked me.  i kicked myself for every wrong step i made and bullied myself even harder as name calling slipped into my head. 'you are so lame' i said to myself as i served leftovers to the children when i had wanted to make home cooked soup, but between errands, school, ballet classes, karate lessons, playing at the park, homework, or whatever it was that day that stole my attentions...i never had the time.  i feared judgement that i wasn't good enough, and in a way, it was worse then the crippling physical insecurities...because there was no outward sign that i was suffering from it.

on my 19th year, i learned to bottle the insecurities that told me i wasn't good enough, that i was a failure.  i learned to wait to open them until i couldn't contain them anymore. i made a pandora box in my soul, a nasty thing of self-hate that i refused to touch until i couldn't hold back anymore.  it kept me happy, it kept me smiling...until it was opened. i allowed myself to have a nasty little bit of my soul so that the rest of me could pretend to be alright.

on my 20th year, i hope to cleanse out that box.  i hope to deal with every mean thought towards myself, each cruel thing with a swift spray of soul-cleanser.  i hope that in my 20th year, i learn to treat myself as i would treat others.  to remember that its ok to make mistakes as long as you learn from them, it is alright to not finish everything on your list as long as you aren't giving up and to open myself to the sun without hesitations or fear of failure. 
i will treat myself kindly. flowers don't bloom without sunshine.


  1. This...this is so beautiful. The circumstances of the last couple years have shaken open my own Pandora's box, one I didn't know I had. I'm sitting through the contents these days. Heart work isn't easy. I hope this year is a cleansing one for both of us! <3

  2. Beautiful words, I have done a lot of self reflecting this year, and I think I have wrestled some of my demons and won. Self contempt being one of them, and I'm sure it will raise it's ugly head again, but for now I'm smiling. Hang in there!

  3. happy birthday, beautiful friend.
    this post is important... and i am proud of you <3


Kind words do not cost much. Yet they accomplish much.
- Blaise Pascal