ThisIBelieve.

2.28.16

I believe in wearing purple shorts.

I believe in lopsided pig-tails, roller-backpacks, and the crucial embarrassment third grade offers when you show up late to class still wearing a helmet. I believe in long Sunday evenings spent in a front yard with a wooden swing and an imagination that swirls with a world all your own. I believe in the necessary escape a well-made blanket fort offers. And surely, I believe in the very specific password rule when one wants to enter ‘said fort.’ I believe in plastering glitter on your eyelids if it makes you feel brighter. I believe in sneaking out in the middle of the night to jump around in knee deep puddles with your baby sister. I believe in eating ants if your heart so desires, and although I don’t recommend it, I believe in sticking raisins up your nostrils in hopes of securing them safely, and in some cases, permanently. I believe in chicken and jojos as a complete family dinner, and by God I believe in running away from anyone with a hair brush and an agenda.

 I believe in the little girl I used to be.

I believe there’s a part of us we tuck away as we develop and age. I believe we begin to sit in classes and enter into institutions that begin to instill in us a very ugly, tainted message. The world starts telling us our dreams are too big. Systems begin insinuating we might not be as good as we’d hoped. Our plans are too idealistic. Our opinions are too strong. Our voice is too loud.

 I believe the child inside of us is silenced subtly, but unswervingly.

You make junior varsity on your high school freshman team. Dad says he’s proud of your effort, but he stops showing up to games; he stops asking you how they went, if you won, if you even played. Mom reminds you there are other hobbies to invest in. You begin to feel smaller. You begin to look around. You begin to wonder how everyone else is getting through. Your friends start experimenting. Substances tempt and consume those you used to know. Your older sister stops looking behind her when you walk to school; she stops waiting for you to catch up. Your math teacher never remembers your name. She pronounces it wrong during first period attendance and you think it’d be easier for both of you if you started skipping class. You’re curious who would miss you. You’re curious who would even notice.

I believe we must intentionally push back.

 I believe there’s a little girl inside of me who wishes I still wore those purple shorts. I believe there’s a tireless voice we each carry with us that leans in and whispers every so often, your plans aren’t too idealistic. Your opinions aren’t too strong. Your voice isn’t too loud. Your dreams aren’t too big. The child inside of me persists, “I did not show up late to the first day of third grade still wearing my helmet just so you could grow up and let the world tell you who you are.”

I believe there’s a little girl inside of me that is singing a melody only I can hear.

 Some days, I’ll wake up and feel the warmth of the sun soften the side of my cheek. I’ll pull open my yellow curtains to let the day in, and a cool breeze will find its way through my screen, gently pushing the hair around my face back. For these few moments, I’m a child again. I’m swaying back and forth on a wooden swing, wafting in and relishing the smell of jojos.

I believe in wearing purple shorts.

-b

 

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