Looking For Something

In every crowd there is a girl with a ghost for a smile, still looking for something she fears she’ll never find.

Photo credit: Pono Akina @photos_by_pono

There’s a girl in every crowd looking for something she fears will never be found. Still, she looks. She looks because every romantic movie and every love song, every couple celebrating their 50th anniversary tells her that she’ll find it someday. And in her heart she kindles a bit of hope that she’s capable of finding it, when her head tells her that she’s not—that she’s damaged. In every crowd there is a girl with a ghost for a smile, still looking for something she fears she’ll never find.

Deep down she’s afraid she doesn’t really know what it is she’s looking for. She’s seen others find it—media-fabricated or not. She believes it exists. But she’s never felt it. Actually, she doesn’t know what it feels like. Not really. What she knows is that this thing she’s looking for must be felt. It must be felt deeply, and passionately, and without those thoughts that kill it when she thinks, maybe…maybe she’s finally found it. Those are the thoughts that destroy.

The thoughts that doubt.

Doubt. She knows more about doubt than love. She knows more about the words that people say when the doubt makes her choices for her. They say she is difficult. That she’s too selective. They say she should have found it by now. That she’ll never find what she’s looking for if she doesn’t let go of her daydreams. But she tells herself they’re wrong. They’re wrong, because if she does dream of it, she dreams of future days when she has finally found it, and felt it deeply enough to discard any doubts from her mind. 

She tells herself that she’ll find it if she just keeps looking.

And as she looks, she catches glimpses of it—momentary and fleeting enough to give her momentary and fleeting outbursts of optimism. Unfortunately, glimpses do not make something found; they only make it glimpsed. So many times she found something with the potential to be what she was looking for, but in her mind she knew that if she ever truly found it, then it wouldn’t have any potential at all. It would just…be found.

She mourns potential. Potential is what gives power to the thoughts that doubt.

Her mother tells her that she is sabotaging herself. She tells her daughter’s past misfortunes in love like a story—that her daughter found it once, but it was taken from her. It was bruised a little, and left unwanted, so she put it in a cage to protect it, and then she went on pretending the bars and locks of the cage weren’t there when she went out looking again. And again. And again. Pretending to look while her eyes were glued to the cage, making sure it was safe, protecting it with her gaze, not really looking when she insisted, really, that she was.

But she doesn’t like the story her mother tells. She thinks it’s a story that sounds less like a reason and more like an excuse—like she could blame someone else for the way she mishandled the glimpses. The one’s with potential. And she’s not the kind of person who would blame someone else for the decisions she made. For doubt, she knows, is a feeling that sprouts from the bed of one’s own insecurities. And how could she blame someone else for that?

Instead, she starts to believe, maybe, that the part of her that’s meant to feel what she’s looking for might be broken. And maybe she feels so much doubt because doubt is just a feeling for people with broken parts. She was tired of looking twice as hard as everyone else to find that thing that so many people had already found. Tired of trying twice as hard not to think the thoughts that destroy. To overlook something with potential for something present. To catch more than glimpses. And for a person that hasn’t felt what is to find what they’re looking for, it’s difficult to feel like looking is really worth twice the effort.

So this girl, the one that exists in every crowd, takes a break from looking for the thing she fears she’ll never find. She goes about searching for the tools to fix that part of her that might be broken, so that maybe one day she won’t have to try twice as hard anymore. But the thing about the tools she needs to fix the parts of her that can’t be seen or touched, she finds them in the forgotten corners of herself. And as she ventures into those forgotten corners, she finds more than she’d ever hoped for. She becomes the mechanic of her own broken bits and pieces, and learns what it takes to be mended from the inside-out.

To be whole. Whole, and no longer looking for the thing she once feared she would never find.

She’s decided, anyway, that if it wants to be found so badly, it will come to her instead. 

Now Reading
Looking For Something