“She Used To Be Mine” by Sara Bareilles

It becomes clearer with each passing day, every time I answer his cries, every time I look into his sweet smiling face: this is no longer about me.

And I am no longer the same me, anyhow. My heart (not to mention other body parts) have expanded exponentially to make room for all of the “him” there is. And even though he is tiny, his presence is HUGE.

Still I try to make most things about me simply because I am selfish by nature, human, and I have to live in myself and with myself. It’s truly a wonderful gift, as I’ve come to realize, being me. It’s also awkwardly humiliating and downright painful much of the time. Anyone who is human and selfish would know that about themselves, too.

I knew he would change me, this little boy. I’ve always felt his sweet spirit, I’ve always known I would love him fiercely. I just never imagined how natural the pain of loving him could feel, and I did not expect that passion or suffering or sacrifice could begin to feel exceptional and exquisite. That I would be gladly trading in my everything just to sit beside him while he toots in the bouncy chair.

I would do anything within reason (and maybe without) for his safety, his health, his happiness.

There is pain in the sacrifice. Some days, I just want to go to the Sparrows and drink coffee and write or sleep in until it occurs to me to roll out of bed. I used to live like this. I used to love that life.

I still want to be a singer when I grow up. I still want to be a writer when I grow up.

And yet, I would do anything within and without reason to provide what he needs.

The thing is, I want to teach him to be himself and to do the things that bring joy and fulfillment to his life, to live fully alive. This is God’s glory.

When I sing, when I write, I am fully alive.

And it has been years that I’ve convinced myself that grown-ups go to jobs and work all day and make lots of money and have a good benefits package. Grown-ups don’t take voice lessons or audition for musical theater or have band rehearsal in their friend’s garages because they want to write songs and go on a tour. Grown-ups have responsibilities. Grown-ups even have grown up hobbies; watching the news and going to dinner parties and painting their houses. I sold myself on all of this in hopes that one day, I would be “ready” to have this child and “ready” to sacrifice the self. Because, by “growing up,” I had already sacrificed much of myself. I stopped singing and writing for any reason other than my soul had to do it or it would disintegrate.

My baby doesn’t need a mama with a disintegrated soul. My baby needs a mama who is fully alive!

And it’s not just him. Others need me to be fully alive, too. Just like I need to witness and be inspired by the abundant God-glory lives of others. We all do. Even MLK Jr. preached this. It’s the way God designed it.

Who am I to deny such a truth? Who am I to deny any gift or call?

I have done lots of grown up things. And I still am desperate to sing and to write and to perform. It’s what I’ve been called to do in some capacity. And I let myself tell myself that it’s frivolous and silly and if it won’t make me any money, it’s a waste of time.

None of this is true. And Johnny’s mama knows that.

And I am Johnny’s mama.

I never want my boy thinking he must grow out of his God-given talents.

No, I want him to know how to grow into them and through them and how to grow others with them.

I want him to know how to encourage others with those gifts. That’s what they’re for.

It’s time to start leading by example.

Yes, I am a mother. Yes, I work full time. Yes, the hours don’t seem near enough and yes, I am tired.

So what?

I used to be light when I looked in the mirror. I used to wear joy on my face and sing out everywhere and write as if I believed I was writing for someone else to read it someday. Where has that girl gone?

She’s in here somewhere…

And even though she’s grown and even though she’s a mama now, that does not mean her words and her voice and her songs are gone.

They’re all in here somewhere.
She’s still in here somewhere.

And she’s really tired of being ignored.


“She Used To Be Mine”

It’s not simple to say
That most days I don’t recognize me
That these shoes and this apron
That place and its patrons
Have taken more than I gave them
It’s not easy to know
I’m not anything like I used to be
Although it’s true
I was never attention’s sweet center
I still remember that girl

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
She is all of this mixed up
And baked in a beautiful pie
She is gone but she used to be mine

It’s not what I asked for
Sometimes life just slips in through a back door
And carves out a person
And makes you believe it’s all true
And now I’ve got you
And you’re not what I asked for
If I’m honest I know I would give it all back
For a chance to start over
And rewrite an ending or two
For the girl that I knew

Who’ll be reckless just enough
Who’ll get hurt but
Who learns how to toughen up when she’s bruised
And gets used by a man who can’t love
And then she’ll get stuck and be scared
Of the life that’s inside her
Growing stronger each day
‘Til it finally reminds her
To fight just a little
To bring back the fire in her eyes
That’s been gone but it used to be mine

Used to be mine
She is messy but she’s kind
She is lonely most of the time
She is all of this mixed up and baked in a beautiful pie
She is gone but she used to be mine



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