I am part of an amazing community of holistic minded women here in DFW. Every few months we do a special “secret sister” swap of sorts. Each woman is assigned to anonymously love on and encourage another mom for several weeks.
I love my secret lady.
This evening I had a package dropped off in a large, cheerful, floral gift bag. Inside was a boatload of art and craft supplies. Along with this package was a large display board (think science fair), and a letter with instructions for a project.
The letter is something I wish to keep to myself, but I will share the general idea behind it.
to make myself into art.
On the outside, when the board is folded closed, this is what the world sees. Opened up, it is everything that I am. My challenge is to find every little bit of my soul and get it out onto the piece.
After reading the letter, I went to relax in the shower. The love of her letter washed over me and I felt pure joy. My whole life I have struggled to fit into molds that others provided. I didn’t make the right friends. I didn’t feel the right emotions. I didn’t have the right interests. I didn’t do the right things. I didn’t get married at the right time. I didn’t follow the right rules. I didn’t parent the right way.
This pressure has been crushing my spirit for as long as I can remember. I was not always aware of what it was, but I still felt it. For years I tried to be someone that I wasn’t. Slowly, ever so slowly, it tortured me. When it would get particularly hard, I would lose large chunks of myself. I would stop listening to music. I would stop singing. I would stop drawing. I would stop playing. I would stop laughing. I would stop smiling. I would just stop.
In the past year or two, I’ve let go. I have stopped trying to be something specific, and instead decided to just be. I am finding who I am, and I loving every second of it. I have stopped caring what others think of me. I have stopped caring if others approve of my choices. The one person I need to love me, is me.
Standing under that stream of hot water, I started to smile. “Willow,” I whispered. My heart swelled and my eyes watered. “Willow,” I said more strongly. For the first time in years, I cried because I was full of happiness. I am me, and nothing more. I am free. I am happy.
“Yes. This is me. This is Willow.”