I came into this world indeed a happy baby, utterly loved by doting parents and entertained by silly, affectionate brothers. Bonus: soft, sweet cats roamed our home and warmed my toes.
I quickly put my legs up a wall in life, never afraid to look at the world upside down, a true lover of nonsense.
In middle school I was pure mountain, holding my head high with confidence in those middle school halls of beautiful Colorado.
High school threatened to turn me rigid like a plank, where I toughed out the discomfort of being the new kid on the block.
But I always retained my dolphin core, intelligent and congenial, prattling and waving at passersby, even when the water was cold.
During my undergraduate schooling you could say I was a locust, mind buzzing with politics and theology, crushes and coffee.. I very quickly shed my shy shell that had hardened around my teens; luckily it flaked off with ease, and I reached out into the air of myself.
I studied abroad as a cow, padding toward the far edges of the earth's field (and also, it must be mentioned, greedily grazing on thick, hot slices of buttered bread, filling out my frame just a weeeee bit).
College graduation came a semester before my friends, and I felt midway across a bridge, wanting to land but unable to see any future, save the boards just ahead of my feet.
When I started graduate school the first time, I was a downward dog; inverted in a personality opposite of my cat-loving self, trying to study something I didn't love. The time was uncomfortable, but the stretch was a valuable one.
After buttoning up my internship and school work for the fall term, I decided not to continue down that path. My first-ever therapist reminded me that I had survived, and with that I became a reverse warrior -- looking back and feeling my strength.
I then moved into the land of unemployment and then a job where I floundered. I hissed my anger at the circumstance I found myself in, a cobra stuck in a painful backbend, yet with her head above water.
The minute I switched jobs, I became a puttering pigeon, bowed humbly and gratefully in a time of rest, while life threw oh-so-welcome hunks of bread at me.
Over time I began to feel the burn of holding myself sturdy like a chair, the weight of my anxiety and fear never lifted out of my lap.
To fight it I became a wheel, running my legs in infinite loops down the trail, trying desperately to get away, away.
My stress was reduced to a half spinal twist when I began Grad School Take Two. Expectations kept things relatively tense, but there was release in the writing that my coursework required of me. And in turning my head about, I saw new people who have graced my life in ways I can never fully express.
Though juggling being a student, a new reporter, and a teaching assistant had me certainly overextended, I trusted my intuition for balance and awaited the release of wearing that gown, throwing my cap in the air to fly like an eagle.
Almost immediately following, I lunged into curious California, believing against belief that this might be a new home.
A challenging internship turned me into a warrior again (one might say this was part "II" of my time to act as a soldier), as I felt clueless but knew I was tough and that someone had put me in the armor for a reason. I charged ahead, unwilling to waste my ticket for adventure.
As I came down from the combination of professional struggle and triumph, I took a long cat nap, and unfortunately isolated myself too much.
With the help of a counselor, a doctor, a church, great friends, family support, the southern sun, and a new striped CAT!, I arose from the corpse I had become. I awoke from my stagnant depression, my arms already conveniently dropped open to welcome hope.
Suddenly the scent of my beloved LA jasmine flowers met my nose again, and I developed into something of a flower myself, a lotus unafraid of stormy seas but rather floating in peace.
Then before I knew it there was a partner in my boat, and I began to row with the help of a second oar as if this was how it always was.
Like a child, I leaned in to the sacred surrender of unearned, but nonetheless deserved, love.
After a chaotic, fun, sometimes-awful year filled with birth, marriage, celebration, grief, and art, I decided to firm my feet in a steady state. Respecting the roots from whence I came, toughening my trunk with forward focus, pruning back twigs that weren't serving me, I wiggled my tree branches in the wind, greeting life anew.
And today I stand like a crescent moon, seemingly stationary but with limber, curvy edges, looking up to the One who blesses me over and over and out to people who make sure those blessings don't go to waste.