Broken Glass/Not Yet Formed
By Caitlin Levy
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about being myself—and what that means for me as a young woman. I wanted to write something that reflected being free in my ability to dream and imagine any life for myself as a girl in the twenty-first century.
She stumbled through cobblestone streets of baskets of citrus, ripe with spring and the gentle touch of strangers, streets of green and gold from small-town trees, and the urban lights that peek through. Her whole body gasped at the familiarity of it all, like she had always meant to be in this rural pocket of America, but the feeling never quite passed through some white blood cell deep down. It was the summer before ninth grade. From the ages of four through eight, she had imagined, quite vividly, that she was destined to stay as a city girl, that she would pursue some career sentencing criminals and climb to positions far higher than that ladder given to small children. Pieces of broken glass surrounded her. They gleamed from the smiles of her nana, from politicians who came before her, and from young women who had sought to shatter something above. She wanted to pick them up and fit the pieces, each little curve and ridge of glass, into each other. They could make a mosaic, one of stone and color, and make her reflection clear. It was this little interlude of sea salt and sleep in which she teetered on the edge of high school and wondered if this life she imagined belonged to her. She began to dream of something that may be different. Maybe a life that felt right in her hands and feet. She thought about helping people who struggle with sadness. She wanted to lift people from the rubble of ceilings that were crashing down. She dreamed of mothering guinea pigs. She wanted to smell piles and piles of tattered books and pages that she could write all over. She thought of dancing and karaoke at little bars down the street until her hair was clouds of gray. The girl swam in loose-leaf homework, stories in pencil of young women who were property. She had been told, as a child, of women cramped in spheres of influence and worlds not made for them. Her eyes were also alight with stories in the news of women who fluttered to heights, like blue jays and swallows of a broken country. Politicians and paramedics, women who could finally pursue the ancient prophecy of the American Dream. Their hearts beat collectively to the song of their ambition. But, she knew she was not exactly these women. Their minds were unalike, as unique as eyebrows and insects and planets. She was not an expectation. The world belonged to her, and no one would pick-pocket her life away. This, to her, was some flower in a dark forest, a bit of rain in a barren place. It was the twenty-first century, and in any weird and wonderful way she liked, she could individually dream.
Caitlin is a mentee with a love for poetry, arts and crafts, and puns. She can often be found geeking out about science with her friends, writing spontaneous songs, or reading by a window. She spent last summer studying slam poetry with Urban Word, and she's soon going to return as a counselor at her book club camp. Above all, she's immensely grateful for the Girls Write Now community.