In second grade, Ms. Browning told me I drew my picture wrong.

She had asked us to be artists for a few minutes –

to take out the blank paper and crayons

so we could draw pictures of what we wanted to be when we grew up.

“OH, EARTH, YOU’RE TOO WONDERFUL FOR ANYBODY TO REALIZE YOU” – THORNTON WILDER, Our Town

Contrary to popular belief, happiness doesn’t come bearing flowers. It doesn’t sweep you off your feet at midnight and take you for long walks on the beach. It doesn’t cuddle with you on rainy days or buy you nice things. And it doesn’t look like a boy.

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For the first time all summer, I didn’t care about hitting a homerun. I didn’t even care if my team won the game. I couldn’t focus on anything except the dreaded lump in my throat—the same one that plagued me every time something I loved came to an end.

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The potential is there. It always has been, and it always will be. But it’s up to us to make the decision to take the jump—to go somewhere totally new, to do something we’ve never done before, to swallow our pride and join the dance.

“WE ARE NOT GOING IN CIRCLES, WE ARE GOING UPWARDS. THE PATH IS A SPIRAL; WE HAVE ALREADY CLIMBED MANY STEPS” – Herman Hesse, Siddhartha

We’re so quick to compare our struggles to others’—to feel guilty for feeling sad or to feel angry that other people think their problems hold a candle to our own—that we don’t realize there is no pain/sadness/heartbreak scale.