I was a brightly colored girl of 6. The one who loved her Pocahontas Barbie doll. You know, the one with the deerskin dress that had the hidden leaves, the colorful leaves that would show up when you took her out in the sun. It was hard not to lose her blue, iconic necklace. It was hard not to lose patience while trying to brush the tangles and leaves out of her hair. Painting with the colors of the wind sure left a lot of tangles.
I was the smiling girl of 10. Making cardboard houses in the backyard with my sister. Calling over our dachshund puppy, Oscar. That wet nose and warm tongue brought so much joy to my heart. From the time we brought him home, to the Halloween were he was my detective tracking job, to the years were we made him dog treat “cakes” for his birthday. Oscar was just one of my the many reasons.
I was the adventures young lady of 13. I hit a “rebelious” and tomboy phase all at the same time. My purple eyeliner, bright red lip sitck, and blue plaid sleeveless vest was my favorite outfit. The red streaks in my hair would wash out, and I would use the tube bought from Hot Topic to reapply them day after day. The biggest concern was not snagging my new cartilage piercing when I brushed my hair. It was a “phase” my mom said, as she promised my worried, younger sister that I would grow out of it.
I was the black clad, studded belt, thick eyeliner, depressed, and lonely high school youth of 17. Pocohontas was in a shoebox with the rest of my barbie dolls. I still loved my dog. That warm tongue wiped away my tears as I laid on my bed in my darkened room. The bright orange walls were a remnant of the colorful child I had once been. My bright purple eye shadow as replaced with heavy eyeliner and black mascara. My heart had fallen into a dark pit, and part of me did not want to climb out. I did, eventually, and I am glad I did.
I would not change a thing. High school, the good and the bad, shaped me into the person I am today. The battles that I fought against my emotions and my depression made me strong. The dark days made me appreciate the colors and the beauty that this world still has. If I could go back and change one thing? Nothing. The only thing I wish I could do was to tell my young self that it will get better. My rebellious, quirky, tomboy, colorful self would come back around again. I would show her my bright purple converse and the lack of scars on my wrist. I would let her know that I am loved. My husband wipes away my tears and we have a real house, not a cardboard one. I would let her know that even after Oscar chases his last rabbit, I will enjoy the company of a pet hedgehog.
Life may look bleak now, but wait until the sun comes out and the colors will show themselves again.