So this is the last of my throwback posts. This one was written on March 10, 2014.
If you held a mirror up to my heart, I’d cringe.
Somewhere along the way, I stopped being honest. When I started Everyday Isa, I was a broken girl just trying to make sense of things. I was lost in the middle of a great and important search.
Then I healed. Got stronger. Wrote better stuff. Started a movement.
In the earlier days, I’d get e-mails from girls who were caught up in a sea of questions. They saw themselves in the chaos of my own life and started looking at me for answers.
Be a hero, I told myself. Make the loss count.
I’d reply to each of them, trying my best to be wise, trying my best to offer words that could be a life raft to them in dark times.
I wanted to be a lighthouse to every broken girl, an unmovable force in an ocean of loss. I was desperate to shine, shine, shine, so convinced that the raging light inside of me would never run out.
I’ve been lying to myself. This is the problem of eternal optimists. That light, I’ve found, is finite. That light is now a dying pinprick, dancing on the needle of all I’ve got left.
I’ve outgrown the story of the broken girl, outgrown the heartbreak that has proven to be the single most influential event of my early 20’s.
I realized all of this when a guy — a reader of my blog — started messaging me. He had this idea in his head that I was brilliant and that I had it altogether. Because of the words I had put out into the world, because I had taken it upon myself to be a damn lighthouse, he said that he was ‘ready to take me for all that I was’.
And he had never even met me.
(Consequently, he never will.)
Stop telling the world an old story, Isa.
The hero is not always strong or wise. The hero doesn’t have everything figured out for sure. The hero is not the lighthouse that the lost boats look to when they need to feel less afraid.
Perhaps the real hero is in another boat too, rowing alongside them. The real hero is fallible and vulnerable and has many, many, many moments of absolute non-brilliance.
She knows deep in her soul that she is not the answer. She carries that truth in her pocket and thumbs it like a rosary when the expectations of the people around her begin to rise.
The hero cuts and bleeds, is fragile and human just like the rest of them. Sometimes all the hero can give is a box of silence rather than the bouquet of words she thought she’d never run out of.
The hero crumbles.
The hero rebuilds.
The light is fading because I am changing. In the short span of time it took me to write this letter, a million cells in my body have died and regenerated. This, I suppose, is one of those moments where the illusion has to give way for something real to be born.
So here I am. Trying to be honest.
This non-lighthouse is building up a new light. God’s holding up the mirror and I’m learning to look without cringing. To look, to see and to smile.