I wish I could tell you, sweet girl, just how worthwhile I think you are. All those scribbled stories hidden away in piles of shoe boxes in your closet- I know every word, every expression, every poem written in them. And I think they’re wonderful. You are gifted.

I wish I could tell you, sweet girl, how smart I think you are. I wish I could crawl up next to you in your bed as you escape into your books and announce to you, “That other world you’re looking for really does exist- the place where you are seen, known, and oh so deeply loved. You really are valuable.”

Yes, I wish I could tell you, sweet girl, all the ways I see that you’ve been fashioned for giving something sacred to the world through your words. Your own art.

So let me braid your full hair while you jump into your fictions of fairy tales and far off places. Let’s read your favorite book together and let me be the one to tell you that I think you are just as brave as the characters you’ve come to adore. You are just as full of faith as you fight for those you love. How I wish I could call that out in you.

But I can’t. I can’t go back to that sweet girl and see the world through her eyes again. I can’t be the voice of authority that speaks to her about her truest self. That moment passed. That sweet girl grew up wounded, lost, and unsure that she belonged anywhere.

But I am learning. I’m learning to coax that sweet girl back out into existence every time I sit down to give my stories back to the world. It is true that I am seen, known, and loved. It is true that I have something to offer the people and places so hungry for words of beauty and compassion. Hungry for others to tell them that they are seen too.

I am that sweet girl. And I’m learning to bring back her unique voice of courage, strength, and fierce love. I’m reclaiming her and giving her space to be who she was always meant to be in me.

Today I am participating in Story Sessions’ “The Girls We Once Were”. Would you join us?

image credit: Susana Fernandez