Once upon a time in Florence, Italy there was young high-school girl travelling out of the country for the first time. This girl looked more like she belonged in Florence, South Carolina, travelling back home , painted with a fresh Myrtle Beach tan. However, this was not the case. Despite her appearance, this girl fancied herself to be much like the city she was touring: slightly in shambles, rich in a history most people didn’t know about, and artistic to a fault. I would say comparing one’s self to the birthplace of the Renaissancee is, well, slightly self-indulgent.
On her second day in the city, this young girl, who by the way, was clothed in a whimsical cloth skirt, stumbled upon a beautiful leather journal at an outdoor flea market. She was enamored. She had to have it so she could write angry poetry, stories of love affairs she was secretly too shy to ignite, and tales of how every bad event from her life was woven with the others, cloaking her in a jaded quilt (rolling my eyes). This journal was the inanimate symbol of everything she stood for. It was distressed, rugged, and made of tough, indestructible, raw leather. It also slightly resembled the journal Sebastian in Cruel Intentions carried, which the girl would deny as a reason for purchase, but I digress. The girl finally had something to carry around with her and write in everyday where everyone could see how pensive, unique, and untouchable she was. She needed everyone to wonder.
About two years ago I found this journal and threw it in the trash. Some might gasp at that. We were all teenagers in our phases at one time or another. I should have kept it, right? No. It wasn’t true. The journal was leather by nature, but I was leather by choice. I spent a lot of time painting a picture of myself I found charming and thought that others would too. The truth is my early life wasn’t easy at times. It was actually an uphill battle a lot of the time, but much to my dismay, I’m more resilient than I wanted to be. Did the hard times make me a better writer, sure, but not by making me somehow “artistically mad” like I found amusing so long. I learned empathy, sympathy, love, hate, loss, and gain. Those are just rites of passage. My waters run deep, but they aren’t so dark anymore. I find sunrise more appealing than sunset. I no longer crave playing the part of the cynic and proclaim I’m a realist for recognizing a half-empty glass. The hell of it is, a lot of times the glass is just half-full, and life is a beautiful gift that doesn’t have to know darkness every second of the day to charm us all. I’m not made of leather. I’m just made of human skin like everyone else. Sometimes it’s calloused, but sometimes it’s soft. The best part is sometimes it bleeds, pure, mortal, warm, mammal blood and I feel it now because I’m strong enough not to be so tough.