I used to believe fragility meant weakness and being brave meant being fearless.
I used to believe if I kept my outer shell from shattering, I wouldn’t fall into a thousand pieces.
I used to believe others’ perception of me was more important than my perception of myself.
I used to believe if I had a smile to show others, they wouldn’t see how broken I felt.
I used to believe if I denied my pain long enough, it would fade away, turn to dust.
I used to believe my vulnerabilities were the parts of me that were unlovable, sheer disgust.
I used to believe the only way through this world, was to hide behind protective armor, forever guarded.
I used to believe it was better to be admired from afar, than be seen up close and risk being unwanted.
I used to believe struggle was a sign of failure and defeat.
I used to believe freedom was found in certainty.
I used to believe never breaking open was the truest sign of strength.
I used to believe perfection was the gatekeeper of pain.
Until I realized the gatekeeper was me;
Perfection, an illusion, had imprisoned me.
I was the one who was being locked out.
Fire and turmoil, friction and self-doubt.
Layers and walls–how long had they been towering?
Stairs and halls–who was I becoming?
Every wall a step further from who I wanted to be.
Every hall echoing, a voice of my false identity.
On the ground I lay; hands and knees.
Reaching for the doorknob, to the gatekeeper in me.
Door upon door–I opened more and more.
Until I came to the last one.
Free to be imperfect.
Free from the lies I could finally forget.
Free to see my worth, burns like fire, shines like stars within.
Free to see darkness is where the light comes in.
Free to see scars are proof of what I’ve overcome.
Free to see that fragility is where true strength comes from.