Fear. Plunk. Anger. Plunk. Sadness. Plunk. Frustration. Plunk. Abandonment. Plunk.
Every scary feeling of self-doubt was held in each corner of the stars she made. Each new challenge was a jar. And every hope and dream was a star. But like all dreams, they seemed impossibly small hardly able to match up against her trials. Trapped behind glass, they were worthless and . . . not reachable.
She sighed as the last star was popped. Turning from a 2-D to 3-D object.
She dropped it into her small mason jar and sealed it shut.
A piece of paper labeled “No Motivation” was taped on and then put on the shelf with countless other jars, each holding a label of worry.
She closed the blinds slowly, her fingers trailing the string attached to the window, gazing outside. She watched as children played innocently on the empty road, laughing, time having no bounds in their eyes.
Suddenly the blinds snapped shut as she turned around.
“Stupid,” she muttered. She stood there for a while, leaning against her desk, mind wandering. She felt the ache coming again. She bit her lip repressing the painful emotion back inside of herself. Not now, she thought. But it couldn't be avoided. Those hundreds of jars stacked on her countless shelves all shattered and she broke down.
Tears of guilt and pain filled up her eyes. Leaving trails of acid as they slid down her cheeks. She curled up and wrapped her arms around her knees as she fought to control the traitorous tears.
The pain however took over. It was then, finally, she allowed herself the moment of self-pity. She felt abondened. She felt as if no one was there for her. She felt un-loved. She felt stupid. She felt ugly. She felt as if she wasn't worth anything. She felt like the pieces of garbage kids at school leave on the floor of the lunchroom and kick around. She felt like a hollow-shell. And nothing, absolutely nothing, could fill her up.
She slowly uncurled herself as the tears dried up. A dull, persistent ache still present in her chest making it hard to breathe.
It was then she noticed something in one of her jars. A slip of paper. She stood up shakily and plucked the first jar she ever filled off the shelf. She turned it over and read it: Shy.
She remembered now when she started this habit. Sixth grade. New, scary people. The teases. The taunts. The stares . . .
She unscrewed the jar and took out the slip of paper. Bright red stars falling out and scattering on the floor.
It's not a terrible thing.
Being shy means you have more time to listen.
You know people's worries and are an observer.
I wish I had that gift.
Yes you do have to be more open
take your time.
Let yourself come out as you grow to learn
and see your amazing gifts.
Her eyes twitched. Who wrote this? Who even knew about her jars?
She set the jar down with the paper and moved on to the next.
Everything she hated about herself. Every physical feature. Every habit. Every emotion and pain. It was counter-acted on a slip of paper.
Who would do this? This question ran through her head for a long time. She stared at the pieces of paper lying everywhere. She thought they would disappear. They weren't real. They couldn't be.
But here they were. Written out. Clear as day.
She sighed a huge gust of air out. When she breathed back in, she noticed the ache. It was gone. Disappeared.
She breathed again, not daring to believe that the pain was gone. But it was and she felt . . . free.
She stared the pieces of paper again, a small smile on her face.
She went into the closet and grabbed another jar and more pieces of paper. She opened the blinds and watched, her hands weaving the paper together, the children play, their minds not caring about the world around them.
Again she dropped each star into the jar. Plunk. Plunk. Plunk. Only this time, each star was a piece of hope. Each corner holding every feeling and emotion she failed to see in her life.
Happiness. Plunk. Joy. Plunk. Hope. Plunk. Beauty. Plunk. Life. Plunk.
She sealed the last jar and went to the empty shelf she reserved long ago for happy memories. She hesitated for a second as she went to place the jar on the shelf. Took back her arm unsealed the jar and dumped the stars out.
There, She thought. That's better. They're free.
She walked over to her door and gave one look back before backing out and shutting the door.
More making of stars, happy stars, on her mind.