Dear Emma Swan

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To be frank, I don’t know how to begin this letter because I genuinely don’t know if words will be able to properly convey my gratitude. As far as fictional characters go, you’ll always be number one in my book.

I’ve been inspired by a good number of strong female characters, but I’ve not seen myself in any of them the way I saw myself in you. It was hard to fully accept that I too, once upon a time, was a lost girl. When you’re bullied as a kid, it’s hard to understand that what people say about us isn’t accurate. As much as our parents can be there to remind us of our value, it doesn’t change the fact that over the years as your skin thickens, your heart also becomes more susceptible to pain. And as a result, you tend to build walls around it. Because I desperately wanted to fit in, I gave the world the chance to tell me who I was while I walked around unsure of what happened to the little girl who used to believe in happiness. Somewhere along the way, I was saved by my faith in Christ at 16, but the walls I had put up never fully went down. Somehow, it was always hard to believe that I could truly be happy, that I could open my heart even though it’s been shattered, and that I could be brave enough to show the world who I truly am — the nerdy, overly enthusiastic dork.

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