there's a place for us

For a writer, I don't have the best memory. It's not that I don't remember things. I do - I just remember snapshots rather than complete scenes. I remember the feeling of a moment, the gist of inspirational words, but the exact words escape me.

I think that's why I've always loved fiction and how easy it is to get lost in the world created by the author. Often times it's a mix of reality and fantasy. And even though things don't always go according to plan, there's a light with every misstep and the understanding that everything will work out in the end.

Not every story has a happy ending, but there is always an ending.

Life isn't like that. Life doesn't just end; it continues to breathe and grow - even after the person living the life is gone. Each choice a person makes has a consequence. Those consequences come to the person who made the choice as well as to other people.

If the woman didn't choose to place the baby up for adoption, then the couple wouldn't have adopted the baby. If the couple hadn't adopted the baby, the baby may never have learned how to read at 5. And if the baby hadn't learned how to read at 5, then the baby may never have grown up to be a writer.

And if the writer didn't tell the story of how boy met girl, there would be no inspiring words to curl up with on a rainy day. No funny words to laugh over while stretched out on the beach with a drink in hand. No sentence to dissect in the midst of a sophomore English class. No novel to write a five-page paper over in college.

The story, even though it has a definite ending, continues on because of the author's choice to write the story.

I've always been drawn to fiction because it gives me hope. I've always felt better suited for writing fiction because I didn't have to remember. I could grasp onto the moments in my life and enjoy the murkiness of those memories without having to squint and force the details to come into focus. And I've always loved fiction because I could hide my own realities behind it.

Then I made the choice to start a blog, and suddenly there is no hiding any realities. It is all about showcasing the good and the bad along with the somewhere in between.

Writing a blog is stretching me. It's causing me to look at the world more carefully. I'm taking in the edges and the details along with the whole picture. I'm going back to those little moments and dissecting them, trying to understand why I felt the way I did and what the air felt like and who was present.

There are certain moments that stand out. One was on a bridge. I was in junior high. The church I grew up in was at Conclaves. It was the end of the weekend. Split into our small groups, we wrote notes to one another. Notes of affirmation. Notes that could be pulled out years later and hopefully serve as the beacon of hope through whatever darkness we might be facing in that moment. I don't know the exact words that were written, though I am sure they are hidden somewhere in my bedroom at my parents house, but I remember how they made me feel. I felt inspired and good enough and loved. Three things that are sometimes difficult for a teenage girl to feel no matter how much she hears those things.

The other day I started putting together a bucket list. One of the items on the bucket list was to become an inspiration. While looking at the list earlier today, I found a comment from a friend of mine that read you can mark done on this one too...you have always been an inspiration to me.

Those words took me back to that bridge. And to other moments. Times when people poured into me and told me words of affirmation. Times when I heard that something I said or wrote - something I did - made a difference in someone else's life.

In those other moments, I would take the words, believe them for a moment, and then release them. But this time I held onto the words and thought about them. I considered what they meant. And I wondered what it was about me that made me feel like I shouldn't or couldn't believe the words.

I started wondering about what it is about all of us that makes us all feel that we aren't good enough. I started wondering about what it would be like if we started to see ourselves the way other people saw us.

How different my life would be if I saw myself as an inspiration. How different my life would be if I considered myself a writer. How different my life would be if I saw my dreams as realities and not impossibilities.

I don't have it all figured out (clearly). I'm stumbling and fumbling along in my weight loss journey. Rather than writing a novel, I think about the characters and the plot. And so maybe I'm not the one to spark a revolution for the whole world, but I am the one to spark a revolution for my own life.

So I am going to do the thing I've never been able to do. I'm going to take the words of affirmation, years worth of words of affirmation, and I am going to believe them. I am going to remember how it felt the first time I heard the words. I am going to concentrate on the details and allow them to seep into future memories. I am going to allow the words I once hid away to effect the rest of my life and maybe make their way into someone else's life.

I am going to be the person so many people already see me as.

(title from "romeo & juliet" by edwin mccain)

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