Weeks ago, sitting in a coffee shop, spinning words for a deadline as if I were back in college, I paused and looked up from my screen.
And a man was staring at me.
In the space between breaths, he looked away and back again. I sipped my coffee and pretended our eyes hadn’t met, the ever familiar flush of pink coloring my skin. Minutes later, his order was ready at the counter and he disappeared through the door.
And though it was the most insignificant of moments, I write about it now because I’d completely forgotten.
I’d forgotten that I could be the sort of woman that a man might want to look at, to ask for a number, a date, a life. The sort of woman that he might want to sink into conversation with. To let the hours drift by, watching me smile in that way I do when I’m absolutely scared out of my mind.
I think the worst parts about this past year weren’t the momentous heartbreaks or the nights I thought, Surely, this will be the end of me; the worst of it was the slow, steady erosion of my confidence.
The quiet disappearance of any belief in myself, my choices, my passions.
But that night, just for a moment, I remembered that I deserve more. The truth. Maybe even dinner instead of drinks, someone taking me on a trip and wanting to do it again. Someone hearing that I write at night and love the smell of a good rainstorm, and thinking, Shit, I’m in over my head with this one.
Because I believe every girl deserves a partner who can’t believe what they’ve found, can’t believe how fucking lucky they are–as someone once told my date at a wedding. (Rather drunkenly, but nevertheless.)
And if I believe all this to be true for every woman, how could I possibly have forgotten about it for myself?
That night so many weeks ago, thankfully, I remembered.
That my life isn’t an apology for its shortcomings. That my quirks and weaknesses and inability to perform simple math without using my fingers and my love for old books make me…me. That my destiny is my own and the beauty of it lies in finding my path and making it up as I go along. Which all sounds so glaringly obvious and very much like something a grown woman should probably know by now, but damn what a year it’s been.
So, in remembering my resolution for this year (to trust), I think there is more to it.
I think that it’s time to find my spirit again.
To become the girl I used to be–a fiery redhead who didn’t take any kind of bullshit and knew exactly what she wanted and wasn’t afraid to say, beer in hand, With all due respect, I couldn’t care less what you think. The girl who got into a car with her friends and drove to climb Enchanted Rock just to watch the sunset, to see the stars come alive. The girl who stripped down in broad daylight and jumped into the frigid waters of a Swiss mountain lake for the hell of it. Who decided, at twelve years old, that she’d be a writer and never, not once, apologize for it.
Somewhere along the way, that girl got a little lost.
But she’s here, and these past months I’ve felt her so powerfully. She goes dancing and scribbles furiously into the night and belly laughs until tears fall and she’s starting to look right back at the men who catch her eye. And on occasion, she forgets to be wary and feels courage surge through her like wildfire.
And in those moments, she cocks her head and she smiles.
So I’m finding that girl. Every day, slowly, I’m becoming her again.
And this lengthy series of delicious revelations is owed entirely to a stranger who stood in line, awaiting a cappuccino.
A man I just happened to catch staring.
[image source: Emily Lauren Alleman]
Kristennnnnn you are becoming an awesome writer!!!! After reading this it makes even more sense to me than ever that you and Emily are such good friends hahaha 🙂 She’s told me a bit about some of y’all’s entrepreneurship dreams and I wish you the best with that. Write on 😉
Ah! Thank you so much! I’ve been writing more and more every day, and hopefully I can keep it up with how crazy life gets. Congratulations on the engagement! You’re going to be a beautiful bride. <3
This popped up in my feed and I decided to read it because I have not seen you in forever. I am really glad that I did. Keep up the great work. Be the fiery little redhead we all know and love. Keep writing and be wary of men huddled under blankets…they might be venom.
Hahaha. Oh my goodness, so good to hear from you, Chuck. I will NEVER forget that rehearsal. Thanks for your sweet and hilarious feedback.
That was awesome! You are truly gifted. Keep writing and living for yourself. I remember the fiery little redhead that would kick ass so keep it up.
Mr. Woodard, you have no idea how much that means to me, coming from you. I have to say your class definitely solidified what I knew I wanted to do. Thank you for being an amazing teacher and for keeping up with this little redhead. 🙂
You write beautifully!!! Just reading this made me feel strong and inspired by your words!! Never stop writing, you are amazing!!!
Thank you so much, Sarah. I am so humbled that I could inspire even one person. And to empower you–someone so inspirational to ME–is beyond words. I love love love that you’re reading.
Oh, thank you!! I really can’t stop reading. You have an a true talent with words, everything is so fluid!