As some of you may know, I have an obsession. A little over a year ago, my sweet cousin Rachel sent me an email with a link to a brand new movement called Darling Magazine. Since then, I’ve found myself lost in their crisp print pages and online blogs full of encouragement and real beauty. Darling is “the art of being a woman” and has yet to fall short of embodying true femininity, not the yucky kind that society manufactures.
The best part of Darling is that it’s divided into personas, where you can read about things that truly speak to your heart. (Click here to see all of the personas!) I quickly discovered that I was “The Dreamer” with a little tiny bit of “The Intellectual” mixed in on good days. I loved that because I know that I see life through a different lens, no matter how naive or “dreamy” it may be.
But as lovely as being The Dreamer can be, it is also sometimes very overwhelming. Life is hard, you guys, and being one who sees life in shades of blue and green and purple instead of grey is often times…well…a let down. Let me explain.
This Christmas, Matt and I were rummaging through some of my childhood things and found my 6th grade journal (yikes!). I opened to a page that started as:
I was just outside talking to a tree….
Yep. You read that right. And I bet I was. I bet it was a great conversation, too. I bet the tree had a name, was a dear friend of mine, and had answers to many of life’s puzzles. It didn’t judge me, didn’t think I looked funny in clothes from Wal-Mart, and more than anything, loved my thoughts that wandered from this world to some other one that I (probably) made up.
As I got older (not much older, we’re talking 17), I was told that I suffered from depression and anxiety. The world looked much grayer at that point; it somehow knocked the wind out of my blues and greens and purples. All I could hear was that I shouldn’t think like a child as an adult. I wasn’t depressed in the clinical sense (losing interest in activities, etc), I just felt things much stronger than most people. Love was felt deeper, faster. Pain was felt deeper, and more frequently. Exhaustion was my friend and naps were my drug, simply because it led me to a place where my stories were allowed. I could talk to a tree. I dreamed a lot. I told lots of stories in my head. And sometimes those stories were overwhelming because they never came true. They still are overwhelming, and my goal is to make that okay.
The “anxiety”, as I’ve found, comes from when you’re told your dreams and stories aren’t okay. I don’t want to go to work; I want to pretend I’m a little girl who is in the woods and can talk to animals and goes on grand adventures. Really, I want to be that little girl. I don’t want to wait for big events like marriage and having sweet little babies; I want them to happen now because I dream about them. I have stories in my head about how it plays out. But then it doesn’t, and that creates a painful shift between reality and need (I say need, not want, because if you’ve ever experienced what I’m talking about…it’s a need). I see a veteran asking for money when it’s cold, and that just breaks me and I start sobbing because in my world, he’s in a warm home eating stew with his family who loves him. It hurts in my heart not because I’m some altruistic saint, but because it’s not my dream, my story.
You see, actually, this is all quite alright. And if you feel this way too, hear me when I say, it’s okay. It’s not easy, but it’s okay that you see the world this way, too. We’re a team, you and me (and the tree), because we bring a hidden, silent beauty to the world. No one knows it, and no one hears it, and most people think we might just be a little too…dreamy. But really, we hear so many people saying that adults lose the childlike wonder we all possessed when we were seven. That life is just miserable when you forget how to dream and how see the world not for what it is, but for what it could be. But we, you and me, can still do that, no matter how painful. So dream on, sweet friend. There is nothing wrong with you, and there is nothing wrong with me, and we live a beautifully magically life (even if others cannot see it).
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