There was once a girl who ruled the world with flowers in her hair. Every so often someone would tear petals from one of those flowers, playing a wicked game of I Love Her, I Love Her Not. But the girl didn’t notice this; her head was so full of flowers. She was a walking, talking, breathing garden and the birds, butterflies and bees couldn’t get enough of her. The ladybugs too. She was so sweet and her heart was the watering can, the sun, the shade and the soil: everything required for a garden to grow. She was also very young. She didn’t know what it meant to truly rule. She didn’t know where true power really came from, or what it meant to be strong. All she knew was that she wore a flower crown and the air always smelled sweet.
But one day the girl looked in the mirror and noticed that her flower crown was thinning. Her garden was no longer blooming. It looked more like a Winter Garden than a Summer Garden. She placed her hand to her chest and felt how dry her heart was, how barren and cold. Her flowers were wilting and her heart was parched. She was older now. Smarter and a bit wiser, but still very new to the idea of power and strength — and where it comes from. She had let too many people pick her flowers. She had let too many voices tell her who to love and how to love them for the price of no love in return. Her flower crown wasn’t a crown anymore, it was just a play thing. Had it always been just a play thing?
The girl turned away from the mirror. She took the flower crown off her head and hid it somewhere safe. Somewhere no one would find it. She realized now that she had been taught all the wrong things. That it had all been just pretend. That she had bought into an illusion — of what love was, of what power was, of what strength was. The girl knew she had a long journey ahead of her now. Of relearning, forgiving and letting go. Of gathering new flowers for a new crown and a different kind of strength for a brand new heart. She knew this was only the beginning, but she was ready. She had her sturdy boots on, her lucky charm around her wrist, a map in her pocket, and a flashlight in her backpack. She had a head full of determination and a heart that was longing to know.
On the evening of her departure she left a note for her friends and family, just so they wouldn’t worry:
“Gone flower picking. Don’t wait up.”