I’m sitting here on the floor of my living room repeating “twenty-two” over and over again in my head. The connotation that comes along with it feels like it’s too big for me, too put together, too fearless. It feels like I’m letting my psyche down. Like I’m a little kid playing dress up, drowning in her dads suit coat.
But then I remember how twenty-one felt, how miniature I was, like I was attending this big ole military ball with my two left feet and baseball cap. And everyone was looking at me like I’d just burped during the toast.
And then there was nineteen and I had growing pains that kept me in bed, that made me believe it hurt too much to grow. How convinced I was that my voice was too inside out to be heard. I had no clue how to be loud.
But now here I am- writing twenty-two on my name tag so people believe me when I tell them, so they can hear the confidence spilling off my lips as the years of anxiety and fear and hiding in every corner. So that they can know of how true their power is, because of how terrified they used to be. I know how to be loud because I spent so many years being quiet.
I hope people look at my posture and know that I used to not be able to get out of bed, that I had to ask my feet permission to start the day. That they see me smirk and realize I had once forgotten how. That they hear my voice and remember that it was once a whisper under my breath. I have come further in my own bones than some people have by traveling the world, and then traveling it again, and again. My personality is too big for this 5′2 stature, but my God, I love swimming around in something that’s worked so hard to become true.
So right now, I’m wearing twenty-two like a hand knit sweater. It has so many holes and it’s colors don’t necessarily compliment me- but I’ve never worn something more authentic. And that’s what I want out of twenty-two; Unapologetic authenticity. I want to throw handfuls of myself at people and say “HEY, this is me. I’ve come a long way to get here. I like the way my enthusiasm colors outside the lines and the way my humor bangs a snare drum during a church service. I’ve been a lot of places, but I’m here now. And I’ve never been more ecstatic about being in a place. I want to know where you’ve been too.”
Because guys, in the end I’m trying to be in a lot of pieces, but not in the obvious way, I don’t want to look like a messy pile of mismatching things. I want to look more like a big mosaic window, just a shit ton of pieces broken, jagged and lost- but when they’re put together- they make something that turns heads.
We’re all so crooked, but it’s the pieces that don’t fit in the puzzle that stand out the most. Let’s stand out together.