Once Upon a Time…

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who dreamed of being a princess. She thought long and hard about what dresses she’d wear, what her castle would look like, and what kind of ruler she’d be. She had everything planned out and written down because she had been told to be prepared for anything to happen in life. She didn’t want to miss her opportunity to be royalty simply because she couldn’t remember how many towers her castle would have. Never once in all of her planning, playing, and pretending did the little girl wonder if she was worthy of being a princess. She already knew that she was because her parents told her so, and she had said to herself that she would one day be a princess, and that was enough for her.

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who grew into a teenager. She had told her classmates that she wanted to be a princess when she grew up, and they laughed at her. They told her that there was no way she could ever be a princess, not with her second-hand clothes, big thighs, or short hair. They said that the only way she could be a princess was if everyone in her kingdom was blind so that they’d never know what she looked like. Those words sunk down deep in the girl’s heart, taking root and spreading throughout her body. She had never realized that being a princess depended on how you looked; she was sure that only how you acted and what you said mattered. How could she have been so wrong about so many things?

Once upon a time, there was a teenager who grew into a young woman. She no longer told people that she wanted to be a princess, but instead, she said that she was looking for her Prince Charming. Long ago, she had taken to heart the idea that you had to look and be a certain way to be accepted. And so she had squished, and sweated, and cut away at herself until she was small enough to fit into the space society had given her. She looked for the prince that would make her a princess, but everyone turned out to be a frog instead. The young woman realized that maybe if she was wrong about what she was supposed to look like, then perhaps she was also wrong about what relationships were meant to be like. She asked friends and consulted the internet and determined that she had, in fact, been wrong about what love was. So, she lowered her standards and went out with any guy who called her pretty, no matter how they acted or if they could remember her name. 

Once upon a time, there was a young woman who had dreamed of being a princess but only found herself surrounded by evil kings and queens. She was tired of giving her heart and body away to only have it returned in pieces the next day. She thought to herself that surely this wasn’t how life was meant to be lived. Surely, this wasn’t what love was supposed to be like. Her parents had never told her this was what life was like, and she knew that they would have told her because they had told her about so much else. She thought back to when she was a little girl who dreamed of being a princess. Back then, she didn’t care what she looked like, how many cookies she ate, or what boys wanted her to do. She was fearless. Pumping her legs as she ran around the backyard, not because she had to lose ten pounds but because she was trying to catch a unicorn. She had written out a list of what she wanted to do when she ruled a kingdom, and not a single bullet point mentioned finding her worth in what her subjects thought of her. When she had dreamed of being a princess, sometimes there was a handsome prince beside her, and sometimes there wasn’t. She had never let a man dictate how she lived her life or if she was worthy of being loved. That little girl knew who she was and was secure in that knowledge.

Once upon a time, there was a young woman who resolved to become more like the little girl she had once been. Fearless, wild, joyful, and content in who she was and who she was created to be. 

This story isn’t about any one person in particular. But instead is a collection of stories rolled into one. It’s about a young woman looking to belong and be loved but has bought into the lie that her worth is based on physicality. A young woman, like you and like me, who needs to be lovingly reminded that our worth isn’t based on worldly standards but that we find ourselves in the arms of Christ. Remember to live loved friends.

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