When I was little, I loved pink. It was a generic baby girl color, and it just made me feel calm. My mother called me Ladybug; it was a sweet name that I didn’t start to like until I was about 11, and no longer afraid of Ladybugs. I was a dancer- like other little girls – doing ballet at 3 years old. I loved pretty, sparkly things and glitter, even getting it on me or cleaning it up was fun! I loved colors and designing cute clothes for my dolls, and dreaming of wearing them myself. That was Aja until she turned 7.
We moved South, and I began to have a hard time fitting in. I was the odd, introverted artist, who was having a difficult time finding her place. At school, in the neighborhood- even at church I couldn’t break into any friendship circles. I just wanted friends; I wanted to fit in. It got to the point where I would study people and observe different things about them to try and make myself a more interesting person in their eyes. I tried so hard. I started giving up the things that made me who I was. For instance; Pink. I gave up pink. I gave up the notion that being “girly” was okay. I decided that if I wanted friends, I would need to become the friend that everyone wanted me to be. To be the tomboy that everyone thought was so cool, I would give up, painting my nails, wearing pink, walking around in my moms’ heels, and loving glitter. I would give up my favorite pass times, for people who didn’t even like me.
To be honest, I was always a “Tomboy” – I played sports, loved to dig up worms, enjoyed being rough, and liked to get dirty. It was enjoyable, and unavoidable, as I have an older brother, who would much rather wrestle than play “Barbie”. But, I didn’t know I could be both. So, I just became that cool tough girl and messed myself up. Because, it didn’t work. It didn’t make me friends. In fact, it just confused me more and more. Soon, I stopped caring about everything.
I was in the 5th grade when my mom pulled us out of school. I had already gone through teachers and students that would mistreat me. I decided to fully invest myself into art and surround myself with imaginary places and people to be with; it was more fun that way. I made a few aquaintences along the way- and a handful of good friends, but I still wasn’t happy. I still didn’t care the way I needed to.
Then, one day when I was 15 years old when I finally grasped this insane concept- that it’s okay. That the things that I grew up loving, God made for me to love. The pink that I adored so much, He made for me. The glitter that reflected the light of the sun- He made that, too. And, all those wonderful flowers and gardens- He made them for me. He delights in giving to us, and all those years I spent trying to run from Him and his gifts. I gave it all up for people who I don’t even remember, and how never bothered to know me. I gave it up, for things that weren’t even real, and had no true value.
I slowly began to accept each gift- the weather, the wind, the trees, the flowers, etc. Then I started to surround myself with Him and those lovely things, and the healing began. I learned so much about myself, God, and the people around me. And, that is how I started this journey.