I have always been a little different. Even as a young child, when other girls were content with playing princesses and tea parties, I found myself more engrossed in embarking on imagined adventures, climbing trees, and dreaming of the vast, untouched world beyond my backyard. It was a divergence that sometimes isolated me, a tiny ripple in the fabric of conformity that set me apart. Yet, I cherished this difference. I nurtured it. Even then, I understood it as a flame, a flicker of an identity that was distinctively, and blatantly unapologetically, mine.
Sky above me, Earth below me, a fiery passion forever burning within me.Thomas Slatin
Throughout my life, that flame, my distinctiveness, has defined me; it has directed my actions and decisions. Everything I do, I do with an unfathomable depth of commitment, investing the full essence of my heart and soul without reservations. Everything I do, I do with a loving compassion, and I am never satisfied with a half-hearted effort. Each task, each challenge, was an opportunity to explore my capabilities, to push the boundaries of what I believed I could accomplish. It was this passion, this dedication, that catapulted me into a journey of self-discovery and growth.
While my peers walked their predefined paths, I dared to wander, dared to stray from the tried, tested, and mundane. My world has always been viewed from a slightly skewed angle, teetering on the brink of entropy and chaos, but brimming with an unmatched vibrancy and curiosity. The world to me is an enigma, free-spirited and unrestrained, often reckless and wild, and full of secrets. There were no straight lines or strict rules, only a wondrous sphere of colors and possibilities that waited to be embraced and understood.
Often, this perception led me to places others deemed too dangerous, choices too risky, and decisions too reckless. Yet, I found in each step, each gamble, I found a certain kind of freedom that was exhilarating. I danced on the edge of precipices, bathed in the thundering echoes of the wild, and whispered back secrets to the wandering wind. I was untamed, a force to reckon with, mirroring the wild world that I so dearly loved. This was a journey of rebellion, a journey of transformation where I found myself living, breathing, and becoming the most vibrant version of myself.
At times, the journey was fraught with trials and tribulations, times when the world around me seemed too vast, too unforgiving. Moments when I questioned my path, my very identity, and my faith. And yet, in each of these moments, I found strength, a resilience that I never knew I possessed. I discovered that the heart that beat wildly within my chest, much like the relationship between the sun and moon, was not one to be easily silenced. It pounded with an unrelenting rhythm, a resounding anthem of survival, resilience, and indomitable spirit.
Through the highs and lows, through the calm and the storm, a metamorphosis took place. I emerged from the cocoon of my doubts, my fears, soaring high on the wings of my newfound courage. I grew, I evolved, and I emerged into the most beautiful version of myself. It was not a beauty that could be captured in glossy magazine pages, or defined by narrow societal standards. It was a beauty that was deeply rooted in my spirit, mirrored in my dreams, ever present in my actions, and guided by the innate passion that had been my guiding star.
Finally, I stood tall and proud, the girl who had grown up different, now a woman who had dared to be herself. Amidst a world that sought uniformity, I was a splash of color, a beacon of individuality. From the girl who climbed trees and dreamt of adventures, of far away places, and of castles and kings, had grown into a woman who had lived those adventures, a woman who had tasted the elixir of life in its purest form and found herself profoundly changed.
As I ventured forth, the flame of my identity burned brighter, illuminating my path, defining my success. The heart that once bled in dedication now throbbed in triumph, an ode to a journey that had been every bit as turbulent as it was enlightening.
I realized that the true measure of my success lay not in the material wealth that I had amassed, but in the breadth and wealth of experiences that had shaped me. The success was not in the destination, but in the journey itself that had led me there.
From being a little different to being my unique self, from giving my heart and soul to everything I do, from being free-spirited, reckless, wild, full of secrets to being the most successful and beautiful version of myself—I am a living testament to the power of embracing one’s uniqueness—the power of being oneself.
My story is a testament to every woman out there who dared to be a little different, who dared to dream, to explore, and to grow. It is a celebration of all the women who had the courage to be themselves, who had the courage to let their distinctive flame burn bright.
In retrospect, I realize that I have not just been a little different, I have been a lot different. And that has made all the difference. I have not just lived; I have thrived, emerged victorious against all odds, and found beauty in every corner of my existence.
To all the women reading this, remember, we are not just surviving; we are thriving. We are not just beautiful; we are stunning. We are not just successful; we are victorious. And in being ourselves, in embracing our distinctiveness, we find our strength, our success, and our beauty.
This piece was inspired by an entry in my diary, titled The Fire Within Me Still Burns. The image used in this piece was taken by my wife, Amelia Phoenix Desertsong, on April 5, 2023, in Eastport, Maine, USA. The photograph I took of her on the same pier was used in her self-titled piece, Easternmost.
Addicted To A Certain Kind Of Sadness | My Next Chapter In Life | Those Three Words… How I Feel | This Wealth Thing… I Don’t Get It | The Complexity Of Self | Easternmost | A Little Ghost For The Offering | Thanks For Coming To My TED Talk | Paper Tigers: Facing Your Fears With Tenacity | You Should’ve Seen It In Color