Before: 10 Minute Writing Challenge

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So many things are “before.” Before, I was younger. Before, I was more naive. Before, I had plans. Before, I had not yet been disappointed. Before, I had no nephews.


There are many points that hover after the befores. There are so many places where you can stop and look back to find a different set of befores. Before that random fact, I believed all of these things; now, I am reshaping my entire philosophy. Before I was impatient, I was working diligently with that student; now, we are struggling to communicate. Before I was anxious, I looked at change with awe and wonder; now, I worry more about what it will destroy than consider what joys it can bring to me.


The biggest before of all: before I met you. Before I met you, I had nothing to lose. Before I met you, I was afraid and choosing things that hurt me. Before I met you, I was gazing at a broad road of options. Before I met you, I did not know the encompassing safety a simple hug could bring. Before I met you, I did not understand completely what it is like to know that safety isn’t yours to keep. Before I met you, I was not so consumed with the question of why I am not good enough when I have all of the things you say you want. Before I met you, I did not know the pain of watching someone I care for so much settle. Before I met you, I did not know how wonderful it could feel to simply hear the words, “You look pretty today.” Before I met you, I did not know what a smile could contain. Before I met you, I had no real understanding of Etta James. Before I met you, I did not feel so inadequate and useless. Before I met you, I had never seen eyes so full of concern for me. Before I met you, I had no idea how tantalizing the illicit could be. Before I met you, I was different. Before I met you, I was not so completely wrapped in complexity and loss and affection.


But like many other points that define “Before,” I would not wish to revisit that point. I do not wish to go back to before I met you. I may be different, but I am enhanced. I may have suffered sorrow, but I have learned to be vulnerable. I may have been burned, but I have gained companionship.


“Before” is filled with so many things; but “before” means the path continues. “Before” means I grow and change. “Before” is so much better than “never.”

Created: Mar 25, 2014

Tags: yearning, prose, writing challenge, before

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