the girl I once was.

the girls we once were are coming back to us now. 

when you tell me that the girls we once were are coming back to us, my instinct is not excitement.  I do not want to open my arms to her. I do not see the version of me that is innocent and starry-eyed.

I see the girl I used to be. the me that I am slowly, steadily stepping away from.

the girl full of fear and anxiety.
the girl that views her beauty as the inverse measure of her thighs.
the girl that yells at God in anger and then feels guilty, because she doesn’t yet know that she’s allowed to wrestle.
the girl that feels numb.
the girl that swallows her doubts and lets them poison her insides.

she is not a girl that I want to come back to me. I’ve been trying to forget her.

aren’t you supposed to remember the beauty and not the pain? aren’t there rosy glasses of nostalgia? but I see brokenness. I see a scotch-taped heart falling apart.

I’ve been working on that. I’ve been trying to fix that. I’ve been working real real hard to love my thighs and not be scared of the darkness and I’ve been wrestling with God plenty and growing through the questioning space and learning that there’s no way to feel numb when I am aware of the fact that the skies are so blue.

so why would I want to let this broken child come back to me?

but behind her…oh, there is the girl that she once was.

she’s been hiding, forgotten, locked away with her older self in a corner of my memory.

the girl with starry eyes. the girl with innocence in her footsteps. the girl who believes that she is beautiful, can be beautiful, can be part of something beautiful. the girl who laughs without fear.

is she still there?

I forgot about her. I forgot that I used to chase fireflies and dream about tutus. I forgot that my imagination ran wild and I played in paint like I believed I was an artist. I forgot the stories I would spin in my mind.

and she is coming back, too.

I see her, hiding in the shadow of her hurting sister. she’s a little shy. I can understand why.

I’m letting them back in, both of them. I’m not hiding away from the hurt. It’s there. It happened. I’ve been hurt. we all have.

and these girls, they are me.

I’m letting this little dreamer come alongside, slip her fingers through mine. I’ll shorten my strides to match hers, and we’ll walk slowly into this dreaming-thing. We’ll rediscover this starry-eyes and catching-fireflies thing.

I am wrapping my arms around this me that I keep pushing away, this broken and hurting she-me. Not to try and hold her together – no, I’m done with trying to keep all the shards inside the span of my arms – but to let her know that there is healing, and hope.

I’m holding out my hands, I am standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the girl I was once was – the girls I once was. All of them. All of the beauty and the brokenness, all of the bathroom-floor-tears and all the days of bubbly joy. They are all a part of me. We’ve walked through these years together, but somewhere along the way I left them behind. They got lost in a haze of New Year’s Resolutions and self-improvement-plans and blank pages.

but these girls, they were never truly lost. they’ve been here all along.

the girl I once was, she’s coming back to me.  and we are standing together. because it’s only together that we can become the girl I am going to be.


we’re welcoming back the girls we once were. join us. say hello to yourself. she’s got some wisdom for you. 


13 thoughts on “the girl I once was.

  1. this is precious, friend of mine. this is powerful, these words are redemptive and holy. you have the mightiest permission in the world to feel, to BE, exactly what you need. let her slip her fingers into yours.

    this is holy ground.

  2. hear your words and so understand them, its hard to look back when all you see is brokenness, but yet we must I order to move forward I think. In that looking back though I’m trying to focus on the good because you see it was there too.

  3. This is the fourth time I have tried to comment ;/
    What I wanted to say is that maybe that girl still exsits for you to draw her forward and allow Jesus to love her as you are coninually learning to love Hannah today. I know I have several “girls I once were” and they would still be stuck in shame without that rememptive power of Jesus that Rachelspoke about above.

  4. I wondered if anybody would bring up the fact there are Girls We Have Been we wouldn’t want to be again. There is so much goodness here, so much wisdom.

    I hope someday I like my thighs, too.

  5. This is great! I had similar reactions to girls we once were theme…but I chickened out and didn’t write it. Kudos to you, brave girl.

  6. This whole integration thing — beautiful and so profound. This is so lovely, Hannah. I love your journey of discovering and accepting these girls. Of owning that they’re all you. Love you.

  7. I love your perspective. I wrestled with this too – sorting through the parts of me I don’t want to come back and the ones that need awakening. It’s all part of our story though. It’s all holy. Thank you for your words.

  8. Beautiful. I know what you mean about finding the younger version of you hidden in the shadow of another. It is freeing to hold her in your arms, as you say, not to hold her together but to bring healing and hope. Sometimes we need to fall apart to be able to heal.

  9. Oh, yes. This is an echo of my heart. I wanted to participate in this. So much, to remember the girl who was innocent and full of twirling dances and song. It used to be she was the only one I saw when I looked back. But the girl that is coming back to me now is the hurting one who was never allowed to feel. And I’m making room for her, but I don’t know how to talk about her… yet.

    Thank you for reminding me that it doesn’t have to be one or the other. It must be both. I must embrace them both, no matter how grey it feels.

    Thank you.

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