This is Willow.

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.

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The project:
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.

I didn’t.

I didn’t.

I didn’t.

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.”

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