When I was little I had this video game. It was the kind you plugged into the back of your huge, chunky cube of a T.V. — red, yellow, and white chords all in a row. It was a fashion designing game. I used to spend hours just sitting there, planning out my next fashion show in New York or Paris or London, matching shoes and belts, flipping through pattern options, getting a little tired of the repetitive soundtrack. Oh, I adored it.
And I remember vividly the day when my little sister played my game without asking me. And how I was told to share and how that felt like everything I held dear was being pried away from me. I’d decided right then and there that that game was forever ruined. I would no longer be able to obtain a single drop of joy from that fashion designing video game after this moment of utter betrayal.
Of course, that wasn’t true. And I (kind of) eventually got over it. But the specific feeling I felt that day is one that has made many reappearances in my life since.
I remember how much I wanted to be my own person back then, to find something that was just for me. I wanted to learn piano until I noticed my older brother was better at it than me, without even trying. I wanted to draw until my siblings’ skills surpassed my own. If I’m honest, I still kinda hate it when I happen to see someone doing something I wanna do and doing it so well that I feel like what’s the point of even pursuing these little fun things at all anymore if someone else is just going to do it too and be so much better at it than me?
And I have a handful of aesthetically pleasing boards on Pinterest of things I remind myself I am, inside. And I try to write nice things on my Twitter to remind myself of who I’m trying my very best to be. And my Instagram tries to be a mood board of all the things in life I still have to be grateful for. I try to paint my presence with gratitude and Christ-joy — but if I’m honest? It still gets to me.
It still gets to me how I can spend all morning getting ready and still feel nothing like how I want to feel. And then I can go on YouTube and watch a video about some random girl who looks absolutely beautiful without makeup and who looks even more amazing when she puts it on and who goes outside and actually lives life and does things with friends who are just as beautiful and just as interesting as she is.
It bugs me that I can spend years drafting a novel, carefully writing and rewriting it, then go online and read a fan fiction some random person “whipped together” and realize that their short story about John Watson X Jam has a better plot line and more convincing dialogue than my story could ever dream to have.
It just irritates me that I have so much life and creativity and ideas in my heart, but that a million other people on the planet do too and they’re better at expressing it than I am and they’ve already said everything that needs to be said. What’s the point of anything if there’s nothing uniquely and specifically and especially mine?
And I just want to yank my controller from my little sister’s hand and yell, with bitter tears streaming down my face, “You can’t have it because it’s special and it’s mine and it’s a one-player game anyway!”
I’m shaking my head and laughing at myself right now. And even more so when I admit to myself that I still harbor just a hint of a grudge about that stupid video game.
Because, you know what? Nothing’s mine.
When Great Star-Breather sang the universe into existence, he didn’t say “And this corner of creation belongs only to my special daughter Brookie-Lizzy and she owns the very concept of it and it is completely original and trademarked and hers so — STEP BACK!!”
Naw. He gave us all dominion over earth. (Genesis 1: 28) He filled it with all the little things our bodies and souls needed. We needed a place to stretch our brand new baby toesies. We needed air to fill our lungs so that we could raise our wild shouts of pain and joy. We needed cats to climb up on our bellies in the middle of the night, with their eery glowing eyes and their rumbling, soothing purrs. We needed salty water to rush over our feet and rinse off all the sand. We needed a sunset after a long day. We needed rain to cascade over the all the land and to make things grow and grow and grow. We needed stupid fashion designer games to play until the soundtrack makes our stomachs sick.
There are millions and millions of us little stars, scattered across this tiny universe of ours. If you happen to be very similar to me, it is because we are both stars. And we belong to each other. And I just think we need to stop trying not to be stars anymore because it is good that we are stars and that God has created us and that we can be His.
We’re in this together, whether we like it or not. And you are 100% given permission to be better than me at anything and everything I do because we are on the same team ~ go humans! ~ and this is not a race and it’s not a competition and I’m just going to slow down and do the things that make me feel like one of the millions of millions of all these (flawed) beautiful stars.
Oh, and can’t we share? Can’t we just share this crazy experience together without trying to sabotage each other just so we can own something that was never actually own-able in the first place??
You can’t trademark the way the wind sounds as it pushes through the trees. You can’t can’t trademark the way you feel when you strum your (out of tune) ukulele and sing (out of key), but it doesn’t matter because it’s real and it’s from the heart and you mean it. You can’t trademark that one wild piece of hair that hangs down in front of your face and won’t stay put no matter how hard you try. So can’t we share? Can’t we just love on each other and appreciate each other and uplift each other? Can’t we just share?
Because in the end, all we can be is what we already are — a crazy, messy constellation. But isn’t it a little bit amazing? Isn’t it kind of crazy and amazing just to be here? That things like music and art and redemption exist?
And you know what? This is my mini love letter to all of you:
I’m here for you. I’m in this with you. I think you are absolutely beautiful and wonderful and His. I would let you play my fashion designer video game if I still had it. We are a crazy, messy constellation that belongs to the Star Breather and we get to be stars and we get to be loved by Him. And that is enough.
And I will share.
Love you all so very much.
“Now this is what the Lord says–
the One who created you, Jacob,
and the One who formed you, Israel–
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name; you are Mine.”
“I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”