Grab the dream that fits you like a glove and ride it like the wind.
When I was eight, I wanted to be a teacher.
When I was fourteen, I wanted to be a marine biologist.
When I was nineteen, I wanted to be a nurse.
When I was twenty-four, I got married.
When I was twenty-six, I became a mother.
I still wanted to be things. I wrote. I opened a photography business. I worked part-time as a receptionist and full-time as a dreamer. But those two things moved the goalposts for me. The dreams got a little bit smaller. I wasn't quite as concerned with what I could be, as much as what I already was.
I consider myself a feminist. Not just "a feminist" but like, a really, REALLY big one. I'm the kind of feminist you'd definitely swipe left on. So I'm all too aware of the size of the can of worms I'm about to open when I tell you this next thing.
It's OK if your biggest and best dream in life is to be a good wife and mother.
You know why? Most of us live out our lives in the most ordinary of ways: we're born, we grow up, maybe we fall in love, maybe we have children, we raise them, we find something we're good at if we're lucky and we do that until we no longer can or no longer need to, we surround ourselves with friends and family and all the people who make us feel good about ourselves, and one day we die. It's been the order of things since before we even realized things had an order.
And it is, at its heart, a good order.
There are centuries of us, you know. Women who are living small lives in small ways but it's smallness only when seen from the outside. On the inside, along the seams where we're joined together in goodness and warmth and tears and tragedies, our lives are enormous, as big as the world.
We have whole rivers run hot inside our veins in the moment a stranger's touch becomes desperately familiar. On the inside, we hold oceans in our hands as we birth our babies. On the inside, in the smallness, we're giants.
Sometimes it really does take courage to be content. Sometimes, there's a quiet daring in accepting a limited legacy. We live in a world that both holds us back and shouts from the rooftops that we can have it all.
But the older I get, the more I think that's a lie. I think it's chasing a myth that's making us miserable. Maybe we can't have it all. And if that's the truth, then isn't it up to us to find the things that do fulfill us instead of wasting time with expectations we'll never meet?
Listen, there's nothing mediocre about making the best of what you have. We've grown up with "do better, be better, be bigger, do something, be somebody" pressed into our flesh like an inky undercurrent of insecurity. It's a firm hand on our back that can nauseate and complicate and push us into people and places we don't want to be.
Shedding that skin and finding wings underneath is often an act of cultural rebellion, producing a giddy kind of joy that trembles in your thighs. Knowing you can fly but standing still, craving ten thousand feet of wind but knowing the air is sweeter where you already are, that's the kind of bravery we never really talk about.
The thing is, there are those who scale mountains, and then there are those who build mountains from little moments: sleepy caresses on the shore of quiet and unassuming love, the seashell ear and miniature pearl nails of a newborn, perfectly timed inappropriate laughter like the sudden flutter of a candle flame, the way your son's hair smells when it's been infused with sunshine. The summit is always in the smallest detail.
The world needs its pioneers and visionaries, but it also needs women whose only poem lies in the lines of her body, the cello curves singing under the bow of a gentle hand.
We need artists and entertainers, yes, but we also need women whose only masterpiece may be the child with his father's nose and her crooked toes, a delicate jumble of bones and flesh thrown together like imperfect pottery forever treasured.
We need the remarkable, of course we do, but we also need the ordinary.
I'm not exceptional. I'm almost definitely very ordinary. But I refuse to let that be a bad thing. If we can be anything we want to be, then that has to encompass anything, right? Doctor or lawyer, politician or president, artist and poet, wife and mother. We can be giants in the smallness.
We can be mountain makers when we realize how far the mountain ranges. Dreams aren't one size fits all, so don't let anyone guilt you into following one that's ill-fitting and uncomfortable. Grab the one you want, the dream that fits you like a glove, and ride it like the wind.