Guys, this is HARD. I'm sitting here, staring at my laptop, trying to write my story to complete a prompt that I came up with and I'm struuuuuuuuuggling. Sorry y'all. My hope with this prompt is to look back at where I have come from and forward into where I want to go. All those dreams I have? I'm still not sure how they're going to line up, but maybe this will help spot a small path toward them. Personally, I'm more excited to see what the Lord weaves together; I'm all thumbs and trust His design far more. Okay, take number . . . seven.
Thursday, July 2nd. Introduce yourself by writing your biography as if being interviewed for The New York Times, sharing your history, accomplishments, and where you are right now. Complete it with what you would want it to say in the future (biggest dreams and goals included) in italics.
"All the world's a stage and all the men and women merely players." The star of our story made her debut in July of 1991, though it took her a while to realize she both loved and feared the spotlight, but we will come back to that later. Small town Texas provided the blank pages of her story, scenes and settings shifting every few years as schools changed, interests were cultivated, and moves occurred.
"Fifteen minutes then fifteen minutes then another fifteen minutes," she said with a laugh about the uprooting that moved her family mere miles away each time. The small, private academies that were nestled into Sunday school classrooms shaped her early years and linger in memories of dodgeball games gone awry, hidden honeysuckle plants on the playground, and accepting Jesus at the ripe young age of five years old. "I had to miss recess, by the way," she doesn't hesitate to point out.
What started as a youthful understanding of the Creator of the universe --her desire to be the good-girl impacting both the decision and the days to follow-- matured over the years as the familiar was abandoned for the unknown, friendships faded and were found anew, and she made the transition to a school more than six times the size of her previous educational institution. Of course it occurred when every young woman is most confident and care-free: age thirteen.
By the grace of God, the first hour of the first day of school was spent in a theatre classroom. However, after her lunch hour was spent alone in the cafeteria, she camped out in the counselor's office refusing to "go back out there". Thanks to a patient and encouraging woman, she managed to get back on her feet and to her final class of the day, where she would met many a student who would greatly impact the next five years.
Slowly but surely, Forney became familiar. It became home. And the plot thickened.
Friends were found, then old foes appeared, bringing their own challenges and a flare for the dramatic; thankfully by this time, she had found an interest in the stage, one that would propel her forward into unexpected directions.
High school came and went in a flash. "You don't believe it when you're there," she comments, reeling at the time passed since graduation, "but it's true. One minute you're a freshman, and the next..." With a wave of her hand and a snap of her fingers, it's brevity is captured. From first boyfriends and final bows, 20-page-long math problems and skipping class, a first kiss and a last hurrah, those four years were full to the brim of lessons learned, not all of them confined to a classroom.
"I'm pretty sure there's a Taylor Swift song or two to sum up those years, so I'll spare you the details."
Up next was college, and a round-about search landed her at Baylor University from which she would fling her green and gold afar, solidify that love for the stage, and come to know Christ-centered community like never before. By the time she walked a different kind of stage to receive her diploma ("It wasn't even in there! It had to be reprinted!"), friendships of gold had been fused, former ties loosened and lost making space for the new, and her summers spent across the nation and across the Atlantic.
Just a hop, skip, and a boat ride away --"You mean a four day drive of HORROR across the US"-- planted her in Seattle the following summer. After a year spent in the Pacific Northwest, working retail and directing children's musicals, Bailey returned to the south, well almost, landing in Oklahoma to pursue her masters degree. A second uprooting in two years? Another opportunity for God to move in major ways. And He did.
With one year down and one year to go, Bailey is back in the picturesque Pacific Northwest for the summer, once again working with children and savoring time spent with old friends. She has high hopes for the future and knows the best is yet to come.
And here is where creativity flies out the window, y'all. I don't even know if the above makes sense, but at least it's written. My story is so much more than that, I know, and I want to go through it here someday in detail. Or write a book. Or twelve. But what's important is by looking back, I remembered small details I had forgotten, many of which I didn't include in the paragraphs above. Every season, every transition, was SO intentional, even if in the moment it felt like I was being stretched in all the wrong directions. Everyone's path and stories are unique, and THAT is to be celebrated!
If someday in the future someone were to write about me in the NYTimes, I honestly couldn't tell you what it would be for. Maybe for writing those books or becoming a public speaker, or directing a show that was particularly moving. All I do know is that I want to be BRAVELY CREATIVE with the life I have, INTENTIONALLY ENCOURAGING to those around me, and UNAPOLOGETICALLY GOD-SERVING with whatever I do with my life.
What about you? What's your story?
Where do you want to go from here?