Finding the Rainbow Sprite
Losing yourself. It's almost like an out of body experience. It's as though I am hovering over my life, looking down on a stranger.
Who is that girl?
I don't recognize her. The bubbly, vivacious, grab-life-by-the-horns girl I was on Friday is gone, replaced with a sad, self-pitying, dimmer version. I'm uncomfortable in my skin, wishing I could throw it off, like a shoe that is too tight.
All I want to do is escape to the wild and surround myself with animals. That is my happy place. When I look into the eyes of an animal I know exactly what is in their heart. There is no unconditional love as strong as that of an animal.
During my conference in Boston, there was a woman there who had brought her dog. When I saw him I lit up like a kid at Christmas, and so did the dog. Tail wagging, kisses, pure love emanating. This dog didn't even know me, yet he was so happy to see me.
I didn't get anywhere near this reaction from my friends at the conference. I kept approaching them, trying to network but feeling like an intruder. I wasn't in their circle, I was an outsider.
People. They are strange creatures. From a young age my mother wondered why I spent more time alone with my books than with friends. She couldn't understand why I didn't want to be more social. What she didn't see was the hurt. The girls in 4th grade who decided one day they weren't going to talk to me anymore. The gossip, the laughter, the unkind words. Tears.
I think about how many others in history were laughed at, ridiculed for being different. Walt Disney was fired from the Kansas City Star in 1919 because, his editor said, he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” Charles Darwin was not hell-bent on becoming a scientist his whole life, thanks to his dad, who called him lazy and too dreamy. Darwin once wrote, “I was considered by all my masters and my father, a very ordinary boy, rather below the common standard of intellect.”
Against all odds these people persevered and made a huge difference in the world. After all, if Walt had succumbed to the opposition from his peers than we wouldn't have the "happiest place on earth."
My life has a bigger purpose. Not only to help heal the people of this planet, but the animals too. They are my heart and soul. I am their champion, their voice. One day I will have my own farm sanctuary. A place where I can hold chickens and talk to cows all day long, and I will be the happiest Alicia you've ever seen.
My dad used to call me his "rainbow sprite", his belly-laughing baby girl who was the brightest light in the room. That girl is still in here somewhere, I've just had my head down so long that she's gotten lost in the weeds.
They say sometimes you need to lose yourself a few times before you can truly find yourself. Perhaps the gift is in the discovery. If you can let go of the wheel, you just may discover something about yourself you never even knew was there.