The Things She is Not

For a while now, the nights of me being happy with myself have become less and less. I don’t understand when I started to doubt myself this much. I’m not sure when I discovered this dusty trunk of unattractive traits boasting piles and piles of musty and tangled faults. My name is now followed by a colon, and the colon followed by all my disadvantages. I now see myself as a disadvantage. Yeah, more often than I see myself as a blessing to those whom I encounter.

But when did this start? I can’t say. Did I suddenly come across the pile of dirty things I am, underneath the bit of nice things that I have to fight more desperately to say I am? Or… were my failings splattered on the walls, but near the floor? So low that on days when I held my head high, I could not see them?

I can’t say I was not aware they were there– my faults –but I think I used to be able to encourage myself to see myself for the good things I was trying to be and the greater things I was yet to become. Then it became harder – the fight to be great, to accept what greatness I had so far achieved. I held my head down a few times, and then a few times more, and then I was mesmerised yet terrified at all the stains I wore.

There were so many.

There are so many.

I notice one more each day. Or two. Or on a very bad day, maybe three. I don’t know when I started wearing a coat of insecurities. It is heavy. And it does not warm me; it makes me shiver from the emptiness of the struggle, from the wrestling. I don’t know when I began feeding my insecurities with doubt. This coat of dissatisfaction is now drenched with tears. It sticks to my skin, clammy and cold, and makes weird noises when I move. So I try to move more carefully, and awkwardly; speaking with stuttering decrescendo; contradicting my own thoughts before anyone else does; hoping no-one can guess that this is a struggling and whimpering young woman trying so hard to find the will to keep trying… so… hard.

This coat is ugly, and ill-fitting, and not suited for the weather I once forecast for myself, and its seams are ripping from the weight of the now bulging pocketfuls of miscellaneous clinking, pricking bits of uselessness.


I don’t know when I started second-guessing my thoughts and my decisions. When I do my best, I am less proud than I used to be. I doubt that I even did my best. You see, for a while now, the nights of me being happy with myself have become less. I sleep earlier now, but I sleep less.

And I despise that I don’t like how I am. Apparently, there are so many reasons not to like me. It’s like picking up cracked shells at the beach. They are countless if you’re really looking. Why won’t I stop looking? See, another one – I despise me for despising me, because it makes my life harder. I despise me for wanting my life to be a little easier. Who do I think I am, not wanting to have to struggle through my story like everyone else? I especially despise me for the time and energy wasted despising me for despising me for despising me.

It’s just that some nights, the picture is so well-lit and so detailed and complex, and it’s so large that it surrounds the room. I painted this picture myself, always leaving room to add more, but I am not proud. More and more, I stare at it everyday and bash myself for doing it.

Look at me looking at it.

Look at me, and what I have become – a pitiful picture of a girl gazing with unblinking eyes at a dark mural –

a mural

of all the things

she is not.


(c) Sihle Atkinson 2018 – All Rights Reserved.

9 Comments Add yours

  1. Matthew White says:

    Perhaps if she could see herself through the eyes of those who love her, the stains might again start to fade.
    And with this new viewpoint, a window just might open letting in rays of light onto the dark mural she’s painted of things she is not.
    Then instead of washing away the painting that represents her unique struggle she can add to it the story that’s still being written– the story of how she overcame it all.
    Instead of attempting to glue together the cracks in the seashell that is her life, she may begin to appreciate the intricate patterns these fractures create.
    And so the focus shifts from the struggling and whimpering young woman, onto the bold warrior she could be if only she could see and know and feel: it’s her scars that make her special and beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hmm, perhaps…
      Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Rajahni Cunningham says:

    A well thought out expression of your struggle with yourself. Why does she struggle with these flaws? Is it because she doesn’t feel loved by those who she encounters? Is it because the world is an ugly, loathsome, despicable place, or is it because she propels the attitude of people around her as her own flaw?

    You are beautiful; a synonym of light in the life of many people. Your mural of ugly, that isn’t who you are. That is simply a representation of the thoughts that cloud your mind, those thoughts that keep you from seeing your own true reflection in the mirror.

    This great coat of insecurity can be your own vest of protection from the cold weather that tries to freeze you. You can turn it into a suit to stop the bullets as you calmly walk with your head held high. You are a blessing, a gift, a reward to those who don’t even deserve it.

    You are YOU. Not someone to be ashamed of, not someone to be hidden away. You are beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s another way to look at it 🙂
      Thank you.


  3. SheQuotes says:

    Hello,,, it’s so sad that you are feeling this way…. The devil lies to us about how we aren’t good enough, beautiful enough, smart enough, lovable enough to strip us of our happiness. But God sees us in a whole different light ; He loves us, He treasures us. That’s is why He sent His one and only son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our salvation John 3:16. Listen to Chris Tomlin’s songs Jesus loves me and Jesus Messiah and Casting Crown’s Who am I. I hope you find out just how much you are loved and how precious you are to our Lord Jesus Christ soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi there. I’m in a better place than I was at the time I made this post. “Who Am I” is one of my favourite Casting Crowns songs actually 🙂 I do believe the love of God surpasses any brokenness of mine that I may dwell on occasionally, but there are times when that truth seems far away. Still, I do overcome these feelings when they present themselves and it gets better. Writing is one of the ways I do that. Thanks for your encouragement.


      1. SheQuotes says:

        You are welcomed darling.


  4. SheQuotes says:

    I have nominated your blog for Liebster award… Check out in my blog

    Liked by 1 person

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