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there is a girl

"When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-ups we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability... To be alive is to be vulnerable." (Madeleine L'Engle)

There is a girl. She thinks of herself as a girl even though she's no longer a girl, but a woman. A woman who's a mother to three girls. She thinks of herself as a girl maybe because children are allowed to be beautifully lost and wandering in that soft, cinematic way. Girls are allowed to dream and desire and make mistakes. Women are supposed to know better. To be organized and plot and plan and take care of people. She thinks of herself as a girl not because she wants to go back. She's surprised to like her age, her stage, the path she's taken. She wouldn't change a thing, even the hard stuff. And yet. In her soul, she's still a girl with questions, big, unruly, amazing questions that inspire her and make her smile.

There is a girl. She sits at a vast white kitchen island six days into a brand new year. It is 2015, a year that once struck her as foolishly futuristic and yet it is very real. It is early morning. 5:20am. The house, her house, is exquisitely quiet and she sits shrouded in the type of peace that evades her the rest of the day. She is exhausted and alive. Sipping coffee from an enormous mug. She smiles.

There is a girl and she knows something. She knows it because she learned it the hard way. She knows that even in this big, bad world where everyone is taught to hold it together, to fake it to make it, to pretend, to play princess make believe, the most stunningly powerful thing is to be is real. Real. What does that mean? She knows. Being real is breathing and saying things that don't take effort. Being real is surrendering and surviving and celebrating. Being real is saying again and again, quietly and out loud: I am a human being. I am not perfect, but I care. I care deeply about myself and my life, about people and places and stories and characters and what happens. I'm invested and in love and I'm sometimes I'm scared and sometimes I'm happy in a way that scares me and sometimes I'm sad too or overwhelmed or overjoyed. 

There is a girl. She started a blog almost seven years ago. Seven years. The number startles her because she remembers being seven. She remembers sitting cross-legged on her top bunk in a big room she shared with her sisters, pondering the world. She remembers turning eight and thinking, But I want to be seven forever. Seven is the best age! She remembers these things, this girl, like they were yesterday. But they weren't yesterday. Her oldest daughter just turned eight. Time is passing in swift, staggering gusts.

There is a girl and she's changed. The melancholy that came when the world became tricky and her father died has largely lifted and she's left, in her life, at her white island, with a lot of love and a lot of hope. She believes good things will happen. She believes her own girls are thriving, that her marriage is sweet and sound. She believes that there will be many books because she's so in love with stories, with people in her life and in her mind who are gorgeously flawed who want things and struggle to get them. She believes in resolution and in redemption, in beginnings and endings and most fervently, in magically muddled middles.

There is a girl. She is a lover of life's blank pages, bright screens, fresh starts, early mornings. She is optimistic about what's to come if she continues to tell the truth as she knows it, to be vulnerable even when it's easier to pretend. Vulnerable. It's a funny, clumsy world. A brilliant one, too.

There is a girl. She sits at the island in the quiet home and she smiles. It's 5:36am now. Time for another cup of coffee, another good day.

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  Happy 2015, guys! I will admit that I've been dragging a bit to motivate in this beloved blog world, but I am back at it now, full of energy (or is that caffeine? :)) and ready to spend the month, this tenth (!) month of my HERE Year talking about Vulnerability. I believe, and deeply, that so many of us flee the present moment of our lives because it makes us feel exposed and vulnerable. I believe that we knowingly and unknowingly distract ourselves and numb ourselves so as not to feel fully our selves and our lives.

Lindsey and I will spend January exploring the link between Presence and Vulnerability and will do this by penning vulnerable posts, examining Vulnerability in a more academic/theoretical sense and inviting all of you to do the same. Do you have vulnerable words you'd be willing to share with me and perhaps all of us? Do you have any particular thoughts on the power of vulnerability in a world that so often tries to eliminate it? Email me at aidandonnelleyrowley (at) gmail (dot) com or leave a comment below.

Do you ever think of yourself as a girl or as a boy?

Have you ever experienced blogger (or other) burnout?

Do you believe in the power of vulnerability?

Do you have any big resolutions (or un-resolutions) for the new year?

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