Hope by Evelyn Sheldon It's not all bad. It's not all: stares and "sirs" lack of curves quiet late-night mirror hate sessions stupidly hard lessons about how men see me, and how they don't. It's not all: tears in the shower having to ask permission to pee from those in power the crush of years "never being loved again" fears the sick shock of, after a day of grace, coming home and seeing a man's face in the mirror, and wondering about the woman inside, and if anyone can hear her Sometimes it's all that, and more. But sometimes there are days... rare, glorious, hold-on-to-tightly days... Days where: I wake, look in the morning mirror and see ME, a strong woman, smiling back and ready to live through another day Days where: I hang with my girlfriends and, through some loving and mysterious alchemy, I am "one of the girls" Days where: at the coffeehouse, or in a line, or at a show, maybe I find myself talking to a man I've never met, and he looks me in the eye and listens... and talks to me, too Days where: the cashier says, "Here's your change, ma'am." Days where: I don't burden my daughter with my broken self-image, but try to inspire in us a confidence, and humor, and acceptance of who we are. Days where: suicide is just one of many, many options It's not all bad. And it's better than it was. Truthfully, it was my only choice, my only future.