Just A Girl

I’m the girl… 

The one you think is pretty enough to take home to meet your mother, until you realize I’m a complete mess. And your mother is going to hate me for one of two reasons. The first perception and reason is she’ll judge the picture in front of her. She’ll think my life has been buckets of lemonade served on silver platters in golden chalices because blonde hair and blue eyes are a deception. Estee Lauder’s “Bone” matte foundation hides all the cracks and paints a flawless portrait, accented and with highlighted bronzed cheekbones. Precision drawn eyeliner and eyelashes covered in black, looking like they may reach heaven. Almost angelic.

The other reason your mom will hate me is she’ll recognize a wounded animal. She won’t like my fierce determination. The spitfire misfit which refuses to electronically scoot dirt over her tracks in order to hide her dirty, seedy past. The one who writes so openly and freely about her life, the mistakes she made.

She’ll think her son can do better than just another blogging, writing freak-show:

I see too much pain in her eyes. She’s unstable. She could combust. We can’t have that. Her smile, although bright and wide-eyed, is hiding scars she can’t heal. Some people, well… some people ya just can’t save or help or love, son. Kiss their foreheads and pray. It’s all we can do. She’s a sweet girl. But not your kind. We expected you to marry better. To do better. Don’t go sniffing down in the west end with those kind of girls. You know the kind; the trashy, easy ones. That’s what she is, ya know. Trash. She’s a good writer and she’s done real well for herself despite where she came from. But she’s went as far as she can go.” 

I know the narrative. I know some people think I’ll just bat my eyes and boys swoon. I know others have read the words. They see the nervous anticipation I can’t hide. They see the way my hands sometimes shake with trepidation. They see how I jump when a noise is too loud or I pull away when people come too close. They see the way I shy away from fatherly men because I have trust issues. Maybe they’ll notice, I can spot a belt in the room a mile away. I know where that belt is at all times. You get a few lashings with leather and you know exactly how far to keep your distance. A good belt can reach at about an extra arm and half’s length. It can tear flesh if the edges catch right. It can leave scars.

I’m the girl… 

The one who has been told she’s a bitch, cunt, and a whore. 

Daddy was the first man to tell me I was a whore. By the age of 9, he’d told me the reason our family had to get a divorce was because of me. It’s my fault. All my fault. Today, I’m the girl who sits in therapy once every two weeks and therapist lady does the Good Will Hunting thing and tells me how it wasn’t my fault.

And I go home, my head spinning, trying to make sense of how adults can hate their own blood, their own children, so much?

By the time I arrive home, I know I don’t need anyone. I’m better off alone. I like my solitude. I like being able to read my books and write my words. I like not having to worry about other people because ultimately every one is just living their life anyway. Mama says, “Everyone has their own chunk to haul”. That’s what people are really concerned with: their chunks and their hauling.

I finally got my own room with my own bed again. I hide there a lot. Sometimes I cry myself to sleep because I’m lonely. But I figure the whole world is probably lonely. I tell myself to stop being a sensitive, blubbery mess. To straighten up. Toughen up. I pray. I pray to God and to angels and to pretty much anything in heaven willing to listen.

Most nights, I miss the pills. I really do.

I miss turning off the world and the words, and shutting it all off. I miss not knowing who my husband really is. I miss thinking one person cared about me. I miss my sissy. Just her and me, driving through town, getting a bite to eat, skipping classes, and having friends over. Drinking vodka and Everclear. People coming by with their acoustic guitars and playing songs. Some of the songs we knew, some they’d make up on the spot and we’d laugh. Eventually one of us ended the night crying. Sometimes we’d end the night with fighting or laying out on the lawn not noticing the mosquito bites or the coldness nipping at our hands and arms.

I’m too old for all that shit.
I’m not that girl anymore.

I’m the girl… 

Who just wants to write and buy a house in Charleston, South Carolina. Who wants to go to farmer’s markets and read books. Who wants so much more out of life. I want to see Versailles and Paris. I want to know what the old French countryside smells like. I want to know the sounds in Paris before the sun rises. I want to stand on Sullivan’s Island in South Carolina and drop to my knees. I never want to leave there unless they are bringing my body back to West Virginia to bury it.

I’m the girl…

The one people say is such a talented writer. And I pray every day my son will be something other than a writer. I don’t want him becoming a freak. I don’t want to be a freak anymore. I don’t want to be Gonzo or pretty or misfit. I don’t want to feel like my life will wind down, and people will read my thoughts, never understanding their true meanings.

All and all…

I’m just an Appalachian, hardworking girl. Because that’s the way God made Appalachian women. 

At the end of each day, all I am is just another girl in sea filled with girls.

Nothing special.

Nothing unique.

Just a girl. 

Just a stupid, naive, hurt girl. 




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6 Comments on "Just A Girl"

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David Ellis
If your son doesn’t end up being a writer, I’m sure he will follow another creative path. My father is an artist and I can’t draw to save my life but the creativity found another outlet, just as I’m sure it will be the same for your son too, since he will share your passion, sparks and spirit. I’m also sure that Paris and Versailles will welcome you when the time is right for you to go, the Misfit Queen of Appalachia with friendly open arms. I can’t wait for the day when you get to see them both and… Read more »
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