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  • Writer's pictureMckenzie Kvalsten

Realizing I Could Fly

Updated: Jul 13, 2022

I grew up in a small community that didn't approve of me. I didn't want to wear dresses, have children, or be told who I was allowed to date. I was repeatedly told I was evil, selfish, and many other things I don't care to repeat. It was painfully clear I didn't belong in these groups who told me I had no other choice but to change who I was.

I spent many years agonizing over the person I am, and how the things that made me feel fulfilled, joyful, and complete were so condemned by those around me. Then one day, I realized that I could leave. I could walk away from the people who told me I didn't belong, who ignored my boundaries, and abused my trust.

And I left it all behind. What I found elsewhere was other communities, and other people like me- people who wanted to live their own full and authentic lives. I suddenly felt free and safe, able to create and love and express everything that was to fundamental to who I am. I found inspiration, joy, support, and peace.

When I was painting this magpie I was thinking about that moment when I realized I could fly away. I didn't have to be trapped any longer, or let myself be used by others, or question if my life was really as 'meaningless' as I was told. The criss cross on the magpie's shoulder represents the spiritual things that are core to who I am that I was able to take with me in my escape. I have learned so much from where I came from, and there are still beautiful things I will always carry with me from that time. But much of it I have left in the past.

If you have ever flown away from a place where you didn't belong, I admire your courage. The world is full of authentic, welcoming, and generous communities and I hope you find yours.

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