to be a lion.

unnamedI turned to him and said, “I want to be a lion” and jokingly let out a low growl that came from my throat. It tickled, and I coughed.

“That’s not a very lion thing to do,” he told me. I laughed.

“Do I look like a lion?” He told me no.

“Do I look like a human?” He chuckled. “No,” he replied. I smirked.

that’s when I knew: Sophie. I look like a Sophie.

& I saw, right then

I had sought for a long time

permission to be happy

& I realized that, no

my circumstances did not prove

to me a lack of hope for joy

was pardoned by the fear

that pursued me.

I instead could, and would, learn

bravery defined me,

and confidence would be my shield.

& I could be happy, not because I

wanted to be, but because

it is who I am.

that will always be enough.

I looked in the mirror this morning; the curly mop called my hair sprouting in every which way off the top of my head. Like a sunflower. Like a dandelion.

Like a lion.

the quiet voice that I sometimes hear in my mind whispered to me, “don’t you see? this is the way you were made.”

my mop, the way

my hair tucked behind my ears looks like an elephant is not a mistake, not a coincidence. and this realization is not something someone could’ve taught me, not something I could convince myself- it’s a convincing that could only come from the one who created it in the first place.

in that moment, my mind flashed back the *awkward* years of glasses, uncontrollable curly afros and collared shirts, gosh, the way I wore khakis with crocs, clothes that didn’t fit and pigtails til 8th grade. and no longer did I make fun of myself in spite of myself. for the first time ever, I said, “baby soph, you’re beautiful.”

and what that did was allow me to say: “big soph, you’re beautiful.”

you have a:

strong heart, with grace, long eyelashes that get stuck behind your glasses; you have:

a voice that runswordstogether, you’re funny (sometimes) and size seven and a half shoe (always);

and you will find a boy- no, you won’t- you’ll find a man- who looks at you and sees Jesus first, because that’s what you’re learning to look for, too. he’s out there, baby, just hold on.

you’ll get that dog of your own someday, and you’ll go back to Thailand, and it’s 11pm, take off your shoes and your coat and rest. but also:

run, soph, run. it’s time to go. don’t stop here.

because there is no edge to connecting the dots as to why the big dipper is in freckles on your left arm and the fact that you forgot to take off your makeup before you went to the gym so you smeared your eyeliner across your forehead from running three miles, which, by the way, remember the doctors told you that run would likely never happen again, twice

and the way they warned you in different words, this is who you are, you’ll never be free from this

the way you convinced yourself that was true

but here you are, as you are. and oh soph, what a joy that is: not to defy the so-called permanent outcomes, but avoid them entirely.

and she laughs.

she laughs, without fear of the future.

3 thoughts on “to be a lion.

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