I wrote this recently and submitted it for a show that my college does every year. I'm a little freaked out at the thought of reading it in front of an audience, but I'll get over that.
I’m not delicate.
I do not ever want to be considered delicate.
I am caring and vibrant, but strong.
But when I am crushed, the lines and creases and wrinkles don’t just disappear.
I was 16. He was 20. I should have known it was a mistake from the start.
We met a concert, exchanged phone numbers, got close.
I remember long car rides, kissing at stop lights, being young and driven by hormones.
He made me feel… hot… sexy… beautiful… yet weak, fragile made of paper. An origami figure.
He held my hand with the lightest touch, always careful to be gentle with my paper frame. He stroked my hair as I fell asleep.
He had my trust.
When his father threw him out on the street, he had my empathy, my worry, and I lent him my strength. When I heard he was staying in a homeless shelter, I convinced my mom to let him move in, to lend him our couch, to protect him like he had always protected me.
Things worked well that way for a while. I stayed up late with him every night, woke up early for him every morning. I wanted to be with him. We had fun together.
Until we didn’t.
Until I got home from my best friend’s baseball game, to find my boyfriend gone. He was gone, and his things were gone, and they had both left with his ex.
I didn’t know what to think.
I was paper. I was origami. I was not yesterday’s newspaper, trash to be thrown in the gutter. I was intricate, beautiful, origami, god damn it.
And when I finally got to talk to him again, it was via IM. I asked him why he left without a word, without at least a note, without so much as a thank you or a goodbye to anyone. He said, “S-R-Y.” Sorry.
Sorry? You’re fucking sorry?
I said, “Sorry is what a three year old says when they are caught sneaking cookies before dinner.”
But he didn’t care. I was paper. My moving paper parts were drenched in gutter water. Soggy, breaking, crumbling when pulled, when pushed… Fragile, fucking, paper.
It’s been four years. I struggled for so long, wondering what went wrong. Why was I so wrong? Was I boring? Ugly? Annoying? Was my paper too thin? Too weak from the beginning? Was this always doomed?
I used to think my life was about correcting my past, about finding the next possible love, the person who could refold my broked, crumpled heart. I used to feel empty and alone and unworthy.
And on a particularly low day, a friend said to me, “The only person you need to fall in love with is yourself.”
I could have cried. I had been so stupid. So shallow. So transparent. And he inspired me to be a person I would want to know.
Sometimes, I need to stand naked in front of a mirror, stripped of every disguise, and decide if I can truly love the person I see… that woman, that reflection of myself.
It used to be a struggle, but as time goes on, I love me more and more.
I won’t pretend to be perfect. Sometimes, I still just need someone to cuddle against and feel warm and loved. Sometimes I need to be told I’m pretty. Sometimes I just need the knowledge that someone cares.
And sure, sometimes, I might get drunk and freak out. Because even my self-conscious inhibitions have gone out the window.
And yes, I still feel a little desperate sometimes.
And of course, it still hurts to feel rejected.
But I am origami.
I’m fucking origami.
I am difficult, and complicated, and intriguing, and beautiful.
So, the paper I was made with is full of lines and wrinkles and stains from dirty gutter water, but the beauty shines through, and signs of my past only add to my complex beauty.
I’m paper. I’m origami. And I’m proud of it.