The story of an inspiring tree, social pressure, and a girl who felt so different.

Once upon a time there was a beautiful little girl who grew afraid of the world around her.


Her clothes were too itchy, her class mates were too loud, some foods were just plain icky, and everything seemed to make her nervous and uncertain of herself. It seemed like everywhere she turned, everything was too much and she… well, she just wasn’t strong enough to handle them.


As she grew she found things she loved - Saturday morning pancakes with her dad, her favorite ball cap to keep the sun out of her eyes, and beautiful leaves that changed with the season that blew gracefully in the wind and gave her a taste of the sweetest thing she’d ever tasted - maple syrup.


From that moment on she vowed to keep these leaves and their home, the maple tree forever in her heart. She studied them day after day, year after year and found that they were very strong and able to endure harsh season and bring a beautiful harvest when it seemed like the rest of the world had grown cold and quiet. She was inspired by the process that kept this beautiful tree coming back stronger time and time again.


You’d be surprised to find that the little girl quickly forgot about the beauty of the maple tree when she went out to forge her own path. Everyone told her she needed to look like this other tree, the evergreen. The evergreen always producing beautiful leaves and became a spectacle all dressed in lights and fine jewels for holidays and parties. The evergreen is the best they all said, everyone loves her grandeur and the beauty and energy she brings all year long.


So the young girl tried and tried as hard as she could to be more like the evergreen. Only, she began to crumble under the pressure. The lights became too bright for her again. The jewels clanged too loudly and began to grow heavy as if each one help an expectation for her to showcase something that just wasn't her. She no longer felt herself trying to be the evergreen.


One day the young girl - lost, tired, and overwhelmed - returned to forest where she first realized the beauty of the maple tree.


She sat by the foot of the maple only the maple was loosing its leaves and seemed to be dwindling away just like her spirits. She cried and ask the maple, “What is happening to us?”


The maple responded and said, “My dear friend - you are a beautiful soul. With rest you bloom to beautifully; you change with the seasons and cannot be evergreen. As your bloom spreads thousands come from near and far to see your leaves change color and witness the beauty of your personal growth. But sometimes you forget that after the fall, you need to be alone, have time to rest, and time to grow your imagination just like how I make syrup even though no one can see it. You aren’t like evergreens around you always producing. You create goodness when no one is watching and then when spring comes along you are ready to share your work. There’s nothing wrong with being an evergreen. We need people like them to bring us warmth and joy during the holidays and cold hard winters. But you my dear show others that there is joy in a different pace of life. That changing the rules and finding out a rhythm has beauty in and of itself.”


With this the young girl realized that if she got back to the things that brought her soul joy as a young girl, followed the path of the maple, and shared her new found strength, maybe, just maybe… she would find others who felt just as lost and remind them of the strength and endurance found in the story of the maple tree.

But it was already beginning to snow so the young girl went home and began to draw, to paint, to create magic within her home. As spring came, she began to show her magic to a few close friends. Then at the peak of fall she shared she art far and wide with anyone who needed to be reminded of the beauty of the maple. This was different than the evergreen forest that everyone flocked to see online - always sharing their leaves, being the center of attention, and somehow managing to be everything for everyone.

She shared her story and told them, “We find strength in things we always knew were there but had forgotten. We can endure the hard winters and seasons of life because we know that when no is watching we keep working on our heart so that others can be comforted when spring comes back around. Maple trees can bloom among the evergreens and be just as beautiful even if we aren't always producing our beautiful blooms."


.......

This is my story - a young girl who felt pressure trying to be something she was not. Seeing evergreens who seem to always producing (think 9-5, regular consistent schedules and being able to show up everyday - although I'm pretty sure no one is truly evergreen). I found beauty and rest in an ordinary tree that has been around me my whole life and woven into my story when I needed it's strength and endurance the most.



This past year has been filled with anxiety, therapy, and finding that something old can breathe new life into my day to day. I hope I can continue to be like the maple and encourage you that being different and leaning into your seasons isn't all that bad.






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