Last night in the mirror I saw her again.
The other, stronger, edgier me. The one who is comfortable in her skin. The one who loves herself unconditionally.
She is the one who loves ME unconditionally. She loved me enough to leave dangerous relationships. She helps me love myself unconditionally. She is me. When she is in the driver’s seat I love myself. I am strong. Her smile, my smile, when she shines out of it, is so strong, so confident and so beautiful. I do not know why I don’t see that beauty when she is buried deep inside me, sleeping.
Though I can always feel her crying out, beating down the doors, trying to get out again.
The first time I saw her I was afraid of her,  afraid of becoming her. I was afraid of her fire, of her power, her storm. I had been broken for so long that I could not comprehend or envision what a whole, strong, powerful me might be. In a way, I was afraid to put myself back together. I was afraid of who I could be if I were whole.
When I was younger, a teenager, I was so completely myself. I was an individual, not like anyone else at all. People had no idea what to do with me. I refused to be boxed neatly–there was no box that could hold me. As the years went by, through the rape and abuse I suffered at the hands of my first boyfriend and later with my ex-husband, I was broken and boxed and shelved.
It has been a difficult journey back to myself. To wholeness. Breaking out of that box again has been a slow process. Sometimes now I find it challenging to live without allowing myself to be boxed and shelved all over again. It can feel simpler to take the easy way and be who others think I should be.
But I know, I’ve always known in my heart of hearts that it is infinitely better and more rewarding to be the butterfly storm I was always meant to be than to jam myself back into that tiny, ill-fitting cocoon.

I am meant to fly.

I am an artist.

I am that dark and shining, smiling woman I saw in the mirror.

I am beautiful.

I am a storm and I do not belong in a box.
Rebirth