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writing monday: who we were

I was the girl who...

I was the girl with the bad Dorothy Hamil haircut, who wore hand-me-down clothes and liked to play “explorer” along the side of the creek. I was the goofball girl who talked too much in class. I was the girl who rolled up the right leg of her pants so it didn’t get snagged in the chain, the girl who had to be outside, riding her bike, no brakes, down the 57th street hill and through the stop sign below. I was the girl whose parents smoked and swore, the skinny girl who walked up to Don’s Superette each week and spent all of her allowance on candy….

When we were small, before the opinions of friends, family, and society crept into our heads about who and what we were supposed to be, we were fully ourselves. Fully and authentically ourselves.

Who were you?

If you observe a room of kindergarteners long enough, a spectrum of personalities begins to emerge: the outgoing boy, first to raise his hand, grunting at the teacher to call on him, and the introspective boy, reading a book quietly an a blue square because it’s his favorite color.  The creative girl, tangles in her hair and mismatched clothes, intensely drawing pictures for her friends during “choice time;” and the animal lover, poking her toy stethoscope into the teddy bear’s chest. 

If you observe a room full of kindergarteners, you see a glimpse of the essence and spirit of each child.

Who were you?

Writing Exercise: Beginning with the words, “I was the girl/boy who…” tell the story of who you were as a little girl/boy.

Our stories are powerful reminders of our own essence, spirit, and strength. When we remember who we were and what we dreamed and hoped for, we are better able to ground ourselves in who we are now. Use this prompt when you feel lost or are seeking direction in your life that will resonate with your truth and soul.



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snapshot story: march ’03. granada, nicaragua.

Boy with a new bike.

In January, 2003, I traveled to Costa Rica for three months to learn Spanish and surf. I was 30 and had just ended a relationship, completed my student teaching, saved a chunk of change, and had some time to spend. I got rid of my furniture, put the rest of my stuff in boxes, and moved them to a friend’s garage.

The first month, I lived with a family in San Jose while going to school. I spent the second month living in a communal surf shack in the jungle, between a dirt road and the ocean in Santa Teresa.

I spent the final month traveling around Costa Rica, Panama, and Nicaragua. My friend Tony came to visit for three weeks and we took a bus to the border of Nicaragua, and another to Granada.

There we met the little boy on the left. He was selling peanuts on the street. He was 12 and didn’t go to school. He walked an hour from his home each morning to sell peanuts in the city, and then walked back home in the evening. Six days a week.

So we bought him a bike in a hardware store for $80 US.

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