I used to think that I was a princess, and one day I would live in a castle. And somewhere in time my Prince Charming would come and rescue me from the easily recognizable villain. I used to think that life could be a fairy tale if you so desired it to be. I was wrong.
I used to think that makeup made me pretty... That no matter how many flaws I had, I could disguise them and nobody would know. I used to think that the drab and dull face I saw in the mirror every morning was exactly what other people saw as well. I used to think that physical display is what made you beautiful. I used to think I was ugly. I was wrong.
I used to think that I would marry my first love. I used to think that when a guy told me he loved me he actually meant it, and when the words slipped from his prevaricating lips, it meant forever. I used to think that no person could ever have a heart cold enough to hurt me. I also thought that love was simply an intense emotion of sorts. I used to think I knew what love was. I didn't. I was wrong.
I used to think that everything, at the core of its source, was full of goodness. I used to think that words were always pure and truthful, no matter who they came from. I used to think that if someone said that I was worthless, than it must be true. I used to let people tell me what I think. I used to believe that what I thought was invalid. I was wrong.
I used to think that emotional pain was worse than physical pain. I used to think that illness was something that only happened to "other people." I believed that my blissful life could not possibly be spun so quickly that it hurt. I used to think I'd always have my loved ones by my side, and that luxury could not possibly be turned around so quickly. I used to think that I had to do things all by myself. And when things got hard, I simply had to keep my feet planted on the ground and keep going even if that meant I was going all alone. I used to think that asking for help was a sign of weakness. I was wrong.
It's incredible how life changes you. How it crushes your innocence, devours your hope, and simultaneously brings out your inner beauty and lets your strength bloom. The hardest things in life bring you to true discovery of oneself. I've come to know that life isn't always what I thought it was, but it's still what I make of it.
I've come to know that I'm not a princess, but something much more than that. I've come to know that just because I don't live in a castle, doesn't mean I'm not royalty in the sight of God. I've come to know that Prince Charming isn't so easy to find, and that some of those who claim to be princely are the villain in disguise. I've come to know that life is not a fairytale, but an incredible journey that gives the phrase, "Happily Ever After" a much deeper meaning than we as human beings can even comprehend.
I've come to know that makeup is not what makes a girl pretty. It simply enhances the natural beauty that takes place underneath it all. But real beauty, true beauty, that's something that comes from under your skin. Something located in your heart. Just because I see a drab, sick, and exhausted face in the mirror some mornings, does not define who I am as a person, or my level of beauty on the inside. I'm not ugly just because somebody says I am. My scars and flaws do not define me. How you look on the outside does not define who you are on the inside and what a mirror tells you is the least of truths.
I've come to know that marrying my first love would be the worst decision I could ever make. I've come to know that true love is so much more than just an inner stirring of the heart. I've come to know that people lie and that true love is so much more than just words. I believe that we as human beings cannot fully comprehend the depth and extent of true love, but that we are blessed to experience a piece of it in this life.
I've come to know that not everything in life is good just because someone says it is. I've come to know absolute truth is a real thing, established by God. I've come to have a mind of my own, and I believe that standing for truth is of utmost importance in life. I've come to know that I'm not worthless just because somebody states that I am, and in God's eyes I have a worth far above the price of rubies, as does all of God's children.
I've come to know that pain comes in all forms, and that physical pain is incredibly excruciating as is emotion pain. I've come to know that illness isn't just something that happens in other countries, or to "other people," but it's something that can take place in the walls of my own home, my neighbor's home, or even within my own body. Illness is astonishingly real all around us, and when it steals your quality of life from you or a person you love, it's incredibly tragic. But even with all of that said, it's okay. It's okay to feel pain. You are never alone, and asking for help is not a sign of weakness. God and our Savior, Jesus Christ, know exactly what you're going through and leaning on Him is what will bring you to your highest degree of strength and happiness even through your hardest times.
Life is an incredible journey. A journey of hardship, trials, laughter, love, joy, and endless growth and learning. I haven't learned all that there is to learn yet, but I find it incredibly crazy how much I've grown and changed over the years. I went from aimlessly wandering, to having a desire to put the most important things first in my life, because you never know when those things will be gone. Having a chronic illness, or watching someone you're close to go through that level of pain and suffering, is a rare and beautiful experience that leads to incredible growth of character. It takes a lot of faith and hope, something that I refuse to lose as I go through life. Life's a journey. Yes, it's painful. And yes, it's a struggle. But there is so much to learn in this beautiful journey and learning is the start of a beautiful life.