The waves crash against the shore, and there she is, standing in the sand, so white it blinds me as I watch her. 

She tosses the ball up in the air and catches it, I assume to a rhythm pumping through the AirPods in her ears.

I used to do that. Chip away methodically at whatever was in front of me while music led me. Dribble a ball, run a lap, write out an essay. I still do this.

I remember our conversation from the night before. She doesn’t understand why her smile looks “this way.” She wants to let go of the idea that someone has to tell her she’s beautiful. She wants to. She knows it is her natural state, to believe she is beautiful and enough, as she is. 

She wants to.

Life tells her otherwise some days. She talked and I listened. We talked about truths to tell herself, and I told her what I know to be true. 

The sun glimmers off the water, and she tosses. She smiles as her bonus dad throws her a long pass and I imagine her in the NFL, or in the boardroom or at home with her child, her sitting beside a friend. A giant and a human….she is both.

She blinks and her shoulders rise up and down. Deep breath, little woman. Weight of the world on your shoulders already. 

I pull out my notebook and all the truths spill out onto the page.

You are a force.

You are both soft and strong.

You are full of faith and beauty and truth. 

You are never stuck. 

You are free to bend, and move, and change directions.

The world is in front of you & what you tell yourself will build the world you belong to.

You are wild and you are free. You are mine always, but most importantly, you are yours.

You are everything. 

The world waits to see what you are becoming. 

You are the hope of all that’s next. 


I will tell her. Every day. I will tell all of them. 

And one day, they will tell themselves.

The world waits to see what I am becoming.

I am the hope of all that’s next.