A Breath Of Honesty, A Sigh Of Relief

What is your story?

Not the story that you share with acquaintances whom you haven’t seen in a while; practiced lines exchanged like trading cards in the school yard.  Simple, yet interesting; exciting, but safe.  Not the story that you have built up in order to please your family, to pacify your coworkers or to reassure your friends.  Not the story that you tell yourself as you push forward, image built up, smile bright, head high, ready and waiting for the world to see you shine.  Not those stories.  Those are the pictures that you hang on your walls, the paintings on display for all to see.  Beauty, creativity, dedication and talent; your presentations and offerings to the world.

No, I want to know the story of your soul.  The story of who you are; the brushstrokes upon your canvas.  I can see who you are now, but I want to know how you became this way.  I want to understand what can’t possibly make any sense when you put it into words, but I want you to say it anyway.  I want to know you in that messy, beautiful way that is raw and uncensored.  I want to see you, but not just with my eyes, and hear you, but not only with my ears.  I want to figure out how you work until you no longer need to explain it.  That is when I will finally know you, and that is how I want you to know me, too.

This is what I want to say to people, but can’t, or won’t, because this kind of intensity is frowned upon.  It’s outside of our comfort zone, as it leaves us vulnerable and exposed.  It’s what I need though in order truly know you, and to feel comfortable with you.  It’s a compliment of sorts, for if you are someone I like, then I want to know you as well as you know yourself.  A dazzlingly disheveled kind of friendship; a breath of honesty, a sigh of relief.

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Image source: pixaby.com

 

 

It Hurts Like Hell Until We Figure Out What We Are Doing

The simple truth is that painful memories, regret, and even flashbacks don’t just go away. They are always there. We just learn to manage them better when they come rushing back to us.

We are like boxers who train to take a hit. It hurts like hell until we figure out what we are doing. We learn to manage pain, to block it out. We learn to breathe. We become stronger. Sometimes, if we are lucky, we can sidestep a memory and avoid the agony of being hit hard enough to drop us to our knees; other times, the times when our guard is down, we aren’t so lucky.

We carry these sorts of memories like slow healing bruises, and we hope that the smiles we wear are wide enough to cast those bruises into the shadows where they can be seen only by those who take the time to look closely enough.

 

Image source https://pixabay.com/

What Is The One Gift That My Children Want More Than Anything Else?

When I buy my children bubble wands, they carry out legendary sword fights; dueling bubbles, battling blades.  When their warrior muscles grow weak, they shed their armor and transform into mild mannered scientists.  They spread their bubble mixture across the grass and sand, blending, mixing and creating potions filled with magic and wonder.

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When I buy my children sandbox toys, they set them aside in favour of rocks and sticks; the most authentic and trustworthy of childhood tools.  Their shoes are their buckets, their hands are ready scoops.  They are the builders and masons of the future.

When I buy my children expensive toys, they quietly tuck them away in order to make room for the boxes that they came in.  They discuss building plans and architectural style in earnest.  They become engineers, planning, designing and constructing the bridges, towers and highways of tomorrow.

If I give my children mud, they will build a majestic castle.  With water, they will create a magnificent waterfall.  If I give my children nature, they will discover adventure, independence, confidence and a chance at the kind of  childhood that will shape them into creative, grounded people.  If I give my children the time and freedom to play, to get bored, and to be themselves, they will explore, create, plan and invent.  Their energy is boundless; their imagination is inspiring.  They are children, and this is what they want most of all.  How could I give them anything less?

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Do You Feel Beautiful?

“You look beautiful!” my daughter exclaimed when she saw me standing in the kitchen this morning.  I was dressed in sweat pants, a baggy old sweater that had seen better days, and my hair had been hastily pulled back into a messy bun.  My body was slumped tiredly against the counter; a strong cup of coffee in one hand, cold, weak toast in the other.

“Thank you,” I said, setting my breakfast down.  I knelt down, and my soon to be 4 year old launched herself into my arms.  Her little body was still warm from sleep, and her hair held the soft, sweet smell of apples.  I pressed my lips to her forehead.  “You are beautiful too, sweetheart,” I said.

She pushed back, abruptly.  “Not yet!” she exclaimed.  “I’m not dressed in my beautiful clothes!  And my hair doesn’t have anything beautiful in it!”

“Huh,” I said, thoughtfully tilting my head to the side.  I studied her for a moment.  Golden hair cascading gently down her back, blue eyes filled with laughter and wonder, rosy cheeks flushed with the excitement of a new day.  My daughter is, in fact, beautiful.  Yet I didn’t rush her over to a mirror in order to point that out.  Instead, I shared a secret.

“I guess I haven’t told you about the secret to true beauty yet, have I?” I mused.

“What is it?” she gasped.

“Well,” I began.  “True beauty isn’t something you see at first.  It’s something you feel.”  My daughter looked confused, but snuggled in closer to me and listened intently.

“The most beautiful people in the world are kind, helpful, loving and good.  Their beauty is inside of them.  So when you meet these people, they have the kind of beauty that shines through from the inside out.  You feel good when you’re around them.  Sometimes you feel their beauty before you see it.”

“What if we put jewelry on?” my daughter asked.  “Does that make us beautiful?”

“Jewelry can be very beautiful,” I said, nodding, “and it’s fun to wear, but it doesn’t make us beautiful.  It doesn’t matter what clothes we have on, or what our hair looks like.  If we are not beautiful on the inside, we can never truly be beautiful on the outside.”

My daughter thought about this for a moment while she played with a thread that was slowly unraveling from the cuff of my sweater.  “Mom?” she said, looking up at me.  “You feel beautiful to me.”

“You feel beautiful to me, too,” I said, hugging her closer.

And she is.

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