When I was younger, I had a pair of flared pants that my friends made fun of. They were blue and shiny with an unflattering cut; basically, everything wrong with an outfit. But I loved them with my whole heart. They made me feel like I was Hannah Montana. I would giggle, wear them, and dance along to her songs.
Then life happened. And I realized I looked ridiculous wearing those pants. So I stopped.
Do you remember when something like this happened to you?
When you stopped smiling too wide because you realized that your teeth were a little crooked. When you stopped wearing your lucky socks because they couldn’t blend in anymore. When you stopped dancing like no one was watching when you realized they were. When you stopped snorting in your laugh and telling them what you wanted. When you hid a part of yourself away from the world.
I know it’s because you care a lot about what people think of you. You have a huge heart that just wants to make everyone smile. Your sunshine soul just wants to be understood. But you have been judged and had your heart broken too many times. So you’re afraid of being that girl the world first cocks its head at out of curiosity, temporarily amused, but then not bothered enough to know better. That girl who they ignore. Who they don’t get.
You’re afraid that while climbing this cliff of pretense, one day you’re going to fall. That you’ll be left empty. That in this fear of not being understood, one day you’ll look in the mirror and wonder who is staring back. You won’t be able to recognize yourself.
But I just want to ask you one question: What does it mean to fall?
People say when you fall, the worst that can happen is that you fall on the ground. Hit rock bottom. But imagine if the ground wasn’t there. Then you would be falling and falling and falling. Endlessly. Falling with nowhere to go. Isn’t that much worse?
The ground actually catches you. It lets you stay there, just for a little bit. To heal. To breathe away from the rest of the world. And as you sit there, injured and broken, you admit to yourself what you really want to say. Who you really want to be.
So, brave soul, when you land on that ground, make sure you take time to heal your wounds. Understand that you cannot control who hurts you in this world. You cannot control who walks away or who stays or who understands. You never could. You just have to take a chance. Instead of being scared of falling off of the cliff into the water, do me a favor. Jump right in. And as you swim, notice the numerous colored fish attracted to your beautiful soul. Why? Because now they can see you—really see you.
Some fish are going to swim away. They’re not going to appreciate your soul. But that’s okay. It’s better to be hated for the right reasons than be loved for the wrong ones.
Just remember that you are not here in this world to protect your heart. You are here to give pieces of it to the people you meet, knowing that the biggest piece belongs to you. Always.
So break it. Break pieces of it as you go along and sprinkle them like fairy dust. At the things and people that matter to you. Chop that hair. Change your dressing style. Travel. Stargaze under the night sky. Kiss a boy with a naughty smirk. Grin as wide as you can. Twirl like you can’t stop. And dance like your next breath depends on it.
It’s time to remember where you are. This world’s too free to be lost for a soul with fire within. There’s so much wonder and beauty to be discovered. It’s time to realize that you’re beautifully clueless in a confused world. And it’s time to know that you are your own. Maybe you sing Christmas songs in the summer. Maybe you wear Winnie the Pooh socks under your boots. Or maybe you like to wear the most unflattering pair of flared pants.
Go on those adventures. Meet people like you who aren’t afraid to be who they are. It’s time to be wildly free. It’s time to love your quirks.
And the next time a voice tells you, “What if you fall?” tell them with a gentle smile,“Then the ground will catch me.”