You are a patchwork quilt, made up of squares that have patterns, colors, textures, tears, and stitches.
My parents often tell me about the conversations they have with other parents about how to handle their child who is a “free spirit.” My parents use me as the example of a successful “free spirit.” I wasn’t always okay with that but now I have gown to see that it is okay. I always want to talk to those children and tell them a bit of what I’ve learned – “free spirit” to “free spirit.” This is a small bit of what I would say…
It is okay to be unapologetically you. No one “went wrong” when raising you. You are not wrong. You are a patchwork quilt, made up of squares that have patterns, colors, textures, tears, and stitches. It’s not wrong to be a patchwork quilt.
One of the hardest things you will do is learn to accept and love yourself. I remember spending a lot of time pretending to be okay with who I am but wanting nothing more than to be someone else. Sometimes it seemed easier to be a red quilt or a blue quilt – anything but a patchwork quilt. It seemed like people would like me better. It seemed like I may like myself better. Things aren’t always what they seem. It helps to realize that people aren’t always what they seem either. You never know what small square on their large quilt you are seeing. You never know if they have learned to accept and love themselves yet.
Being unique is not the same as being alone. It may feel that way at times. You are not alone. People probably won’t understand all of your patches – that’s okay! The people who will matter most are the ones who will want to understand – they will be your true friends. If you have good parents, know that they love you and are trying their best to understand you too (even if it doesn’t always feel that way). If people make you feel like you are not enough, I hope you see that as a warning. Surround yourself with a community of people who challenge you, listen to you, and most of all make you feel like you are a whole person.
I remember having a million different dreams and wanting all of them. I know what it feels like to have so much passion inside that you feel like you’re drowning in it. It does get easier to control your emotions and feelings, and to make them work for you instead of cripple you. But don’t be afraid of your passion. Dream big and dream bold, but don’t just dream. Passion, paired with action, is what you will use to change the world. It will take a lot of sacrifice – maybe even the sacrifice of different dreams – but you can do it. It will not always feel possible. People will not always tell you it’s possible. But if you see the world as a hopeful and better place, and work hard to make it so, you will change the world for good.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s okay if the questions you ask don’t have answers. You will learn more about yourself by the questions you ask, anyway. Always be willing to learn new things. Be willing to fail and to try again. Travel, volunteer, and share your creative views with the world.
I hope that you learn to be honest but kind with yourself and with others. I hope you know that adventure is found in small, every day ways when you are willing to be brave enough to be you – a fantastic patchwork quilt.