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P r o l o g u e

Pale shades of brown litter her hair, the color still fading.

Her hazelnut eyes are tired, her expression grim.

She’s trying so hard to remain positive of her future, yet still perplexed by how she got to where she is in the first place.

She’s scared of change, but willing to accommodate it. She wants to be free-spirited, open-minded, everything that makes up a wonderful human being. She wants to be relevant, and smiled upon.

Her emotions are like a tasteless under shirt. She wears a different shade every single day, yet nobody can ever see it. They’re hidden. They’re guarded.

Her mind soars with different thoughts and ideas, yet her lips remain sealed. She’s constantly contemplating every decision she makes, all the while, praying for an easy way out.

She’s smart, focused even, yet not many people have ever had the pleasuring of learning this about her. They see her as shy, weak, and someone who lacks basic social skills.

They overlook her.

Sure, they’ll smile while passing her in the hallway, they’ll even hold a door open for her, but as far as stopping to talk to her, or getting to know her? They overlook that.

It’s not their fault though. She’s quiet, reserved, and maybe even a little stand-offish.

She was born that way, and she’s never quite grown out of that.

Her face showcases a friendly smile, yet late at night the tears in her eyes have a different story to tell. She doesn’t cry because she’s sad, she cries because she’s tired.

She’s tired of holding everything in. She’s tired of always trying to put on a brave face. She’s tired of always being the positive one, but all the while she feels more doubt than the rest of us.

She wants to be normal. She wants to fit in. She’s desperate for human contact, and even more desperate for approval. She doesn’t want people to pity her, so she always embodies an “I don’t care” attitude, or an “I’m perfectly fine” aura.

Every single day is a struggle for her, yet she glides through the day with grace. She sees the world as just a place she lives, a place for her body to wander around aimlessly until it finds something worth discovering.

Until it finds a deeper meaning.

She was lucky enough to find love, and yet, she still finds herself full of doubt. She doubts herself, her life, and those around her. She doesn’t mean to, but it’s a natural reflex designed by her brain, specifically trying to distance herself from the world around her.

Her guard is constantly up, only allowing it to falter for a small handful of people, but still within reason.

She’s moody some days, but usually she keeps that to herself. She doesn’t try to be in the spotlight, in fact, she hates being the center of any attention. When she knows that eyes are staring at her, it makes her feel uneasy, almost as if she’s done something wrong.

Her life isn’t always so disappointing, often times she even finds herself enjoying some days. Those days, are the days she spends with friends or family. Her family is an interesting topic, but she typically steers clear of the drama.

She’s never liked drama, she hates confrontation. Even the smallest infraction could send her into a spiral. She feeds off the approval of others, unknowingly.

There’s a dim light lost somewhere deep inside of her, and every day it gradually becomes brighter. Still, she’s scared. She’s scared that one day that light’s going to die. She’s scared that she’ll end up surrounded in a dark pit of nothingness, doomed to remain in the dark forever.

That fear is what keeps her on her toes. That fear is what ignites the fire inside of her heart, and keeps her pushing to the next day. That fear keeps her from falling into a despair that she knows she may never recover from.

She’s brave, braver than she ever gives herself credit for. She tries to see the good in everyone, despite logic telling her otherwise, despite being told not to worry about lost causes.

She wants everyone to be happy, even if it’s at the expense of her own happiness. She puts everyone else’s needs before her own, leaving only the necessities to herself.

She would give the shirt off her back to someone in need, while that very same person would turn their noses to her if the opportunity ever surfaced for them to return the favor.

She’s independent, and likes to do things for herself, yet she constantly wishes someone would ask her if she needs help. She wants to be acknowledged, not just seen.

She’s contradicting, and very stubborn, but she has a heart of pure gold that hides beneath the surface.

She blooms whether you water her or not, whether you give her light or not. She exists without your existence. She doesn’t need anyone, yet she craves for someone to care.

And even when people do show her that they care, she still doesn’t believe it’s real. Her entire life has been about coexisting with fake-ness. She’s used to it, so forgive her if she doesn’t see how genuine you are at first glance. She’s learning. Respect that.

She’s fierce, but not always strong. She wasn’t simple, yet she was always calm. Some nights, she barely slept, but she still managed to get up the next day to get all of her tasks done. Whenever she was knocked down, she managed to always get right back up, even if some people laughed at her misfortune. She lived her life as best as she could, and she always took everything with a smile.

She was beautiful, but in the way a forest fire was beautiful. Energetic, powerful, determined, absolute.

You hated to see how powerful she was, but you could never find the will to look away.

She’s living proof that you can walk through hell, and still be an angel.

Don’t take these words lightly. Feel them. Consider them. Trust them.

Because these words, they’re me. They’re who I am. They’re the person that I’ve grown to be.

It’s not always pretty, and it’s not always perfect, but it’s real. It’s harsh. It’s accurate.

It’s okay to hide from your emotions and even your life for a while, but don’t make that hiding place a permanent residence.

Walk into the light every once in a while. Soak it all in.

Just be you, because a little self-recognition goes a long way.

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