I’m people-watching at a corner table at Starbucks right now.
There’s the group of four older people, taking pictures with their phones of a woodpecker outside the window beside them.
There’s the employee with the afro, and the woman wiping the counters. And I wonder if they’re happy. I wonder if people love them.
There’s the young couple, he with rubber bracelets on his arm, stacked halfway up to his elbow, and her with the Seahawks t-shirt and long, black ponytail.
There’s the couple at the table to my left, too. Their earphones in, their laptops open before them, papers strewn all over the table.
There’s the four-year-old with the mop of curls atop her head, crying because she spilled her hot chocolate. There’s her parents, drying off her seat and reassuring her there’s still some left in the cup.
And I wonder, if someone was people watching me, what would they see? Would they wonder why I don’t do my hair? Would they wonder why I’m sitting in a public chair with my feet on the seat and my knees up to my chest? Would they see the tears brimming in my eyes? Would they see the child within me reflected in my face?
At work the other day, my coworkers were talking about a client with BPD.
“What is that?” one of them asked.
“It means she’s a drama queen,” another one of them responded.
“Oh,” said the first person. “Then I feel less worried about how she’s doing. She’s probably just making it up for attention.”
I wonder if my coworkers see me.
I am tired eyes and a tender heart.
I am unruly hair and chipped fingernail polish.
I am “one day at a time” and sobbing myself to sleep.
I’m “throwing my head back laughing” and “aching for someone to hold my hand and never let go”.
I’m “pull the blankets up to my chin” and “kiss Arlow’s face until he pulls away”.
I’m picky about books and doesn’t drink enough water.
I’m “I know you love me” and “Tell me again you’ll never leave me.”
I’m so grateful and so scared.
I still sleep with my baby blanket.
I fall asleep every night with its worn fabric clenched in my hand, and wake up every morning with it still there, woven between my fingers. If I lose it during the course of the night, it wakes me up and I search for it, not falling back asleep until it’s been recovered from under my pillow or lost within the mess of other blankets on my bed.
I have never, not since the day of my birth, been without my blanket.
And I don’t know what it says about me that I, a thirty-year-old woman, still needs an fraying piece of yellow cloth, but I do know there’s a parallel between how I feel about my blanket and how I relate to others. There’s a desire to hold on, to grab on tight, to hold them close to my chest, to never let them go.
I don’t think any part of me is a mistake.
I don’t think my big eyes and baby-fine hair and innocence are a mistake.
I don’t think it’s a mistake that I sleep with a baby blanket and that I would rather have a mom than a husband.
I don’t think the ache of my heart and the way I love with all of me are mistakes either.
It would be a mistake, however, to minimize who I am. To decide that because I’m different, I’m less than. It would be a mistake to overlook the fact that I have been pieced together by a divine hand.
It would also be a mistake to take the screaming need inside of me and try to fit people into that ache.
It would be a mistake to not appreciate people for exactly who they are. It would me a mistake to try to make them be something to me that they are simply incapable of being.
It would be a mistake to overlook the fact that I’m in this place now, not because my relationships are somehow lacking, but because there’s something inside of me that is lacking.
It would be a mistake to give in to despair, rather than give in to God, letting Him grow me through the discomfort.
I’m “sleeps with a baby blanket” and “stops to move a caterpillar off of the sidewalk”.
I’m quick to hug and forever needing to be held.
I’m long walks and green tea lattes.
I’m yellow Converse and depression.
I’m thirty and I’m three.
I’m “It will all be okay” and “Tell me it’s going to be okay.”
I’m “I don’t know how to be a person apart from other people” and “Lord, teach me.”
I’m struggling to live and refusing to give up.