Letter to Self: The Defiance in Taking Flight

What happens when you accept yourself and whisper the following words: So Be It


AHS Senior, Writer

Dear Inner Child,

Growing up our family was open to change. They wanted the world to become a safe place for everybody; they wanted the same changes we want today. They always told us we can be whatever we want, and believe in whatever we wanted, and they told us the only limits were in our heads. They gave us all this motivation and all this courage…then shoved us into a room with no windows. They said: Sit still, Be quiet, Don’t mess up your dress, Why are you still talking, and Just don’t move

We had wings we were yearning to use – we just wanted to spread them and fly away. I remember just waiting for the day that I would grow up and be able to explore like everybody else, but nothing changed. The door was locked and there seemed like no way out. Cold and alone, you could hear the voices on the other side of the wall just out of reach. It wasn’t until the yelling started that the door opened. The commotion was enough and the door was knocked down. To our surprise, on the other side, it was not all that different, still cold and alone with one less person than remembered.

Things did change after the door was opened, although we were not greeted by people telling us to chase whatever is out there; instead, we were greeted with the space to grow. For a long time, the thought of being the only one who got put in a room rang through my head. Then we looked around and noticed the people with faces of discouragement. It seemed to be a common thread, to knock people down. You grow up being told to dream big and that you can do anything, but when you get to the point where you can start your pursuit, you’re told to be realistic. You’re told to do something you hate rather than love if it means stability.

Not listening to the constant reassuring whisper in the back of your head, all these words of wisdom, is hard to do especially when you feel like you just got released into this whole new world of possibilities after staring at the same ceiling for what felt like forever. You see the blue sky, and all that’s on your mind was how badly you wanted to fly. To be able to stretch your wings and reach a star seemed doable. I miss when I thought I could do the impossible. I don’t know when that changed. Maybe it’s just a factor of growing up, but I can’t help but wonder about the what ifs. What if you never had people telling you you can’t? What if the world brought up their children instead of anchoring them down? What if I was never seeded with doubt? What if the world let people fly and touch stars? What if things were different? Would people be happier? 

Happiness is the goal. I believe happiness should be found within yourself before you change everything around you. How are you supposed to know what you want if you’re not okay with yourself?  To be happy in life and not with life – that’s the goal. You could have everything you want, everything you’ve dreamed of – you could travel the world, have a job you love, have a family you adore, but if you never took the time to breathe, if you don’t take the time to meet yourself, or to learn to love yourself you’ll never find the things you search for. Not learning to accept yourself will make you blind to what you want. If you can’t be okay with just yourself, you’re not gonna be okay surrounded by whatever you decided would make you happy. Being happy with life leaves you empty when alone. Being happy in life makes the world around you glow. It makes accepting easier and everything brighter, and it makes solitude comforting. I find and lose my happiness every other day, which makes me think I haven’t found it. Truthfully, I don’t know what it feels like to be okay with yourself, but imaging it makes me happy, writing it down makes me happy. It’s sad to think how many people thought their wings were clipped when they just needed to take a step back in order to help them fly. 

Years go by and things do change. Those people who encouraged us were gone, replaced with realists, and there is nothing wrong with having your feet on the ground or having a grasp on reality. But when you’re saying to keep your feet on the ground, along with your eyes, it gets hard to listen. Most people have good intentions and they want us to be successful in life and get everything that we want; it’s simply their way of showing it that comes off as discouraging. We want to fly. I tried so hard to never lose my wings. I learned to avoid the conversion that discouraged me. I learned when and who to talk to.

We were always talking. You get me started and I won’t stop. It was who I was my entire life. I talked and I made sure you could hear me because I hate repeating myself. At home, it was eye rolls and talking hands. Everywhere else I was either the life of the party or the kid who could never shut up. Growing up I learned the time and place for it. I learned not everybody wants or should have to listen to what I have to say and that’s okay. I learned to surround myself with people who want to listen, and who want to hear the things I have to say, and I was better for it. 

I’m always on a never-ending search for people who dreamed of touching stars. The people who will hear me and not think I’m insane. I want to find myself and then I want to live a life where I ask myself, “ Is this real?”. I want to grow back my wings and I want to look up. I want to ignore all the whispers of seeded doubt and touch a star. I want it all to happen in a blink, but I know that’s unreasonable. “Growth is a dance, not a light switch”- John Kim. I want to dance, and I will get scolded and laughed at, but I’ll find people dancing along the way. I will do as I wish with my life. Let people talk about the mistakes I’m gonna make. If I’m happy they’re only wasting their time. They can look down while I look up, and I’ll stumble and fall more than they will. So be it. 

Love, Yourself <3