Ever since I listened to the first piano notes in this heartbreaking Sara Bareilles tune, it felt like home. I never truly realized how much these lyrics hit me like a brick until this past year. This past year, I grew up. I shed layers of a personality people had loved and I, honestly, loved too. I also regretted some of the personality this certain girl had created over the past few years. I grew on hard shell I never knew existed inside of me. I pushed people away and pushed the girl I used to know to the side.
When I first listened to Sara Bareilles sing these lyrics, it was a video on Youtube from from one concerts she did. She wrote this song for the musical Waitress, a factor I instantly loved due to my history of passion for musical theatre. I distinctly remember hearing the first lyrics, “it's not simple to say that most days I don't recognize me”, and feeling like a knife had stabbed me in the chest. After fighting of depression and anxiety, I realized someone else was feeling the same feelings I felt. Most days, I look in the mirror and can’t match my personality with the face in the mirror. I’m different than the girl who looked into that same mirror yesterday. After years of listening to this song on repeat, it still makes me feel broken but, at the same time, complete. I’ve been listening to Sara Bareilles for almost a decade and I’ve never related to a song of hers like this before. Every lyric feels gut wrenching but feels like it was written just for me. It’s funny, isn’t it? How a song can make us have tears streaming down our faces over heartbreak but also due to happiness?
In the scene that the song takes place in the musical Waitress, Jenna is reflecting on the person she has become over the years. She laments over the woman she used to be and who she wished she would have become instead of the person she is now. Over the past couple of months, I’ve turned into a girl I honestly can’t believe I’ve become. I used to be a girl who stuck by the book and did what she was told. The girl I am now is a reckless, free spirit. She stopped caring less about school and more on what this new girl would do during her senior year of high school. I miss the girl who colored inside the lines and followed the rules. She never lied to her parents about who she was with or where she was going. I know that, in the end, this new personality growing is for the best. But, as Sara Bareilles says, she prays to “rewrite an ending or two for the girl that I knew”. I wish I could rewrite a lot of things differently about who I am as the person writing this essay. I wish I could write a new ending where instead of letting go, she fought for the best friend she loved instead of letting her slip away. I wish I stopped caring about what people thought of me instead of what I think of myself. I wish that with a snap of my fingers I could let go of the daily insecurities, paranoia, and senioritis that I face daily. As Jenna says in the song, “she's imperfect but she tries, she is good but she lies, she is hard on herself, she is broken and won't ask for help, she is messy but she's kind, she is lonely most of the time” and I feel all of those lyrics every second of every day. I live, breathe, and think every word Sara Bareilles wrote for that verse. It makes me feel like Sara might have performed a Freaky Friday routine with me and lived in my shoes for a day.
With my mental illness, I can’t control who I am and who I become in the end. I can’t control the thoughts that send me to my doom. I can only control the fact that I can try to be happy and that I “fight to put back the fire in her eyes” as Sara Bareilles wrote in the song. Although I’m having a hard time growing accustomed to the woman I’ve become, I know it’s who I’m meant to be in the long run. I will always remember the girl who was scared to put her feelings on the line, not strong enough to leave the toxic five year environment on her own, and who was innocent and naive. She was a beautiful soul and I would give anything to have that personality back. On April 17th 2017, I’m more rigid and broken than the girl I was yesterday. I’ve gone through more experiences and changed than the girl I was a week ago. Every day, the world changes and we grow with it.
To the old me, I hope you can be proud of the girl you’ve become.