(psst! Hit play!)
I live just up the street from a charming little park. The last few months i’ve walked there nearly every day. There is generally sunshine at the park, unlike my small apartment and it’s as good a place as any to sit and write or even just sit and think for a while. Of course it’s also a great place to people watch.
There are the office workers in their suits, taking the midday, after lunch stroll back to the office, the high school couple
making out doing algebra homework in the grass and always little kids running around, playing in the fountain or reading peacefully under a tree.
The kids are my favorite. Little girls in ruffled dresses, daisy petals scattered in their hair, dust and grass stains strewn across their white ruffles or the stretched knees of their brightly striped leggings. Always bows-large, pinkish things hanging to the side of what was probably a neat ponytail 5 minutes ago.
The wildness of childhood dressed up in lady’s clothing.
Mostly kids are fun because they’re free. You grow up and suddenly it’s not respectable to go traipsing around in the grass, running because you feel like running or chasing squirrels up every tree you can find. Most are unaware that they’ve dirtied their dresses or the scuffed their shoes. They’re not old enough to think that their hair is too curly or their forms too small. Their feet don’t seem too large as long as their toes find mud to squish about in and most have never placed their noses, eyes, ears, or mouths under scrutiny and found them wanting.
They are dandelions-sweet and simple blooms that will soon mistake themselves for weeds.
Ask a little girl what she wants to be when she grows up and she is not afraid to tell you: an artist, doctor, veterinarian, princess, mother, cowboy. She announces her plans without apology or hesitation-as though she’s never thought they may not come true.
Sadly, little girls grow. They learn harsh truths and have their hearts broken. They stop believing things will turn out well, perhaps stop believing they can be happy. They learn that life is complicated and as bills and dues must be paid, dreams grow tired, worn out with waiting and fall asleep.
They’ve been told to grow up faster, to aim higher, to be smarter. The world expects them to earn more money, take more risks, be more beautiful, achieve more than their fathers or mothers, to be charming, but also strong. While goals are not wrong, expectation can be a heavy burden. A burden that, too often, crushes little hearts that deep down, were born seeking freedom, joy, and love.
Often it feels as though the world expects much and gives back very little. And what started as a little blooming dream, begins to see itself as nothing but a weed-good for very little, mostly taking up space and sun.
If you have a daughter, growing up and navigating her way through red tape, expectations, goals, plans and the eternal “what’s next?” I wrote this song for her.
If you are someone’ daughter, fighting your own battle with unfulfilled potential, dreams you’ve left sleeping for too long, or the everyday fight to get up and keep moving even when you’d rather not, I wrote this song for you.
If you simply find yourself stuck while trying desperately to grow, then this song is yours as well.
Though, if I’m being honest, I really wrote it for myself. I wrote it at a time when I was very stuck, in an effort to live more in the moments that leave me “happy and free” and listen less to the voices that tell me I am not enough. I wrote it in response to the high expectations, low self-esteem and rising levels of self-doubt that freeze and paralyze rather than kill, leaving one frozen under the snow with little hope for spring.
“Dandelion” is my hope for spring. I hope it brings you hope as well.
And now, I think I’ll walk to the park. Thanks for listening,