She used to love running around the neighborhood or riding bicycles with her friend across the street. She used to smile with her missing bottom teeth when Mom made frozen toast with cream and strawberries on top, and hurdle down the stairs and give a big hug to Dad when he came home from work. She used to be a big, fluffy cloud of energy and imagination—the sky was the limit. She used to never cry, at most whining a bit about going to bed at eight because she wanted to watch one more toy unboxing video before brushing her teeth. She used to wear tank tops and shorts; they were her uniform. She used to get A’s on every assignment, because who didn’t? She used to be happy. 

Something changed.

She doesn’t have time to run around the neighborhood or have friends across the street to ride bikes with. She doesn’t eat frozen toast with cream and strawberries anymore because she’ll get fat if she does. Hugs are immature so she waves and goes. She doesn’t see herself as a big, fluffy cloud—no, she is now a heavy rain cloud, uncontrollably spilling hopes and dreams on the ground. She doesn’t want people to know she cries, so she’ll blast videos while she stifles her sobs and brushes her teeth and retreats to bed as the clock resets to 00:00. She doesn’t wear tank tops in case men look, and shorts because who wants to see her hideous legs? She doesn’t get good grades on assignments anymore—she’s learned to settle for a 70. She isn’t happy.

Something will change.

She will have time to run around the neighborhood and ride bikes with her kids one day. She will make frozen toast with cream and strawberries and smile as she watches her family enjoy it.She will give a hug to her spouse when they come home from work. She will become the sky, as free as can be with dreams extending to the outskirts of the universe. She will be okay crying because they have evolved into happy tears. She will stay up late, but it’s because she finally became a lawyer and is working on her first court case. She will graduate from the tank tops and shorts for a tee and mom jeans. She will be successful, with or without the honor roll. She will be happy.

Photo Credit: Productive Fish