There once was a little girl.
Her head was full of dreams, her closet was full of jelly sandals, and her feet were full of rhythm every time ABBA came on in the kitchen, especially during "Dancing Queen."
With a wild spirit and a kind heart, she began to learn things about the world, things that were beautiful, and things that were sometimes ugly.
She learned that when the sun rose, it would glow, sometimes pink and sometimes orange. She learned that scrunchies were both functional and fashionable, and that Uncle Jesse had way more swagger than her own uncle, which was perfectly fine with her.
She learned that people can be fearful of what they don't understand. That sometimes, when people encounter something new or peculiar, they wouldn't celebrate it. A lot of times, they'd act like something, or someone, was wrong for being different. She could never quite understand why.
And with each year that passed, this girl grew. She changed her taste in shoes, from light-up pink Sketchers to beat-up red Converse, hoping each pair of shoes would help her step closer to discovering who she wanted to be.
Seasons passed, friends came and went, and somewhere in the middle of the chaos, she started to figure out the woman she wanted to be, not who the world wanted her to be. Because from what she could gather, the world wanted her to be a little more skinny, a little less witty, and a little more miserable with everything she wasn't, everything that she needed to be, according to the world.
Like working through a 1000 piece puzzle, she slowly began to put parts together, trying combos here, reforming them there, making good choices along with the bad. Some of those choices even threatened to knock her whole puzzle off the table, but through grace and through redemption, she was able to continue putting the pieces together, doing the best she could to become the person she wanted to be.
She's gotten a bit wiser and a bit more fond of comfortable shoes, sure, but as far as she can tell, she'll be figuring out that puzzle for a while.
And that's okay.
I feel like there's this strange pressure that comes from growing up. It's as if once you're an adult, you have to be visited by a stork, who drops down your dream and your purpose in a linen knapsack, neatly on the front porch. There's no acknowledgement of the process. There's no conversation about the journey. And i think that's wildly inaccurate, and damaging. From what I've experience so far, this is something we constantly rediscover. There's not one succinct destination we land on. That's not real life.
So if you're reading this, feeling lost or confused, or even fearful of the future, it's okay. There's nothing wrong with being "in progress." Don't let anyone tell you differently.
And if you haven't heard this in a while, allow me to tell you:
You are capable. You have purpose. You are beautiful.
There's a reason pop culture and music romanticizes the idea of dying young. It's the growing older that takes guts. The figuring out. The messy mix of pleasure and pain, and the space in between.
So if you're fighting a battle no one can see, or chasing a dream that seems impossible, keep going. You're courageous. Let the little girl in me tell the little girl in you: you can do this. You really can.