The Stepping Stones
By: Madisen Hill
Song of Solomon 4:7
“You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.”
“You’re different.” That is a statement I have heard over and over again. For years, I wasn’t sure how to respond. An awkward laugh and a quick “well… uh, thanks, I guess?”, would be the best I could come up with. Now, I’m sure I’m not the only person reading this who has been told that. But have you ever sat down and wondered what people see in you that’s so different? Maybe it’s because you like to speak your mind and not hide how you’re feeling around your peers. Maybe you’re different because your mind wanders and you create an entire made-up world in your imagination, only for it to be brought to life the next day through your creations. Or maybe you don’t have a clue what makes you different, but you still know who you are and you’re going to embrace that for the rest of your life.
Being different is exciting. Being different is what inspires others to find out who they are. And most importantly, being different is what makes me: me. It wasn’t until I was about 21 years old that I truly realized and embraced what my “different” was. Before we get into that, let’s go back to when I was just 14. I was living in Eureka, Missouri as a freshman in high school and I spent all of my free time dancing, creating, and performing. For starters, you should know I have always been a dreamer. (I have my parents and mentors to thank for that.) No matter what I achieved, I was never done reaching because as my accomplishments grew, my dreams grew bigger. So when you tell a 14-year- old dreamer that an opportunity came up for her to move to Los Angeles for the summer, you know she is going to scream. And cry. And jump for joy. So naturally, I did all three. (Side note, that “one” summer in LA is still going, 9 years later.)
I’ll save my Los Angeles transition story for another blog post, but long story short, when I moved, I thought, “This is it. This is when I will finally be able to conquer those things I have dreamed about every single day for as long as I can remember.” Little did I know, God had other plans. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’ve accomplished a lot in my years here in LA and I’m proud of those accomplishments. But, for some reason, I’ve always lacked a sense of satisfaction. I could never figure out why I wasn’t happy with all of the things I had been so blessed with, and why I was always wanting more when I already had so much. Ultimately, each one of those accomplishments were learning experiences. I was put through all of those moments in time because each one of them was molding me into the woman I am today. But it always went back to the same questions. How long was I going to have to search to find this satisfaction that I so desperately wanted? Nine years. Nine years of music videos, commercials, concerts, award shows, pilots, guest stars, and naturally, a boyfriend or two, my years in Los Angeles have been quite the whirlwind. I’m fortunate enough to have been raised in a Christian home and I like to think I’ve always had a good head on my shoulders. I’ve made mistakes and I’ve done things I regret, but I always come back to the foundation for which I was raised on. I mean, throwing someone so young from a small town into a big city can have a serious impact. Being on set working long hours with people I barely know, meeting music producers in clubs that I wasn’t even old enough to get into, being asked if I’m comfortable with a nude sex scene for a film when I was just 16 years old (hard pass, BTW.) All of these things opened my eyes so quickly. I saw the world in a whole new way, all while I was trying my best to live a Christ-centered life. I’m anxious to share all of my experiences and stories with you through this blog, but I’m going to start with one very important moment in my life. The moment I truly realized my “different” was my faith. It’s my belief that there is something greater than what we have right here in front of us. No matter what I accomplished in my career, I was never going to be satisfied, because I was doing all of these things for myself, instead of doing them to glorify God. That is when I started to understand that I needed to embrace my “different”, rather than keep it on the sidelines.
When I turned 21 years old, I went through a very public break-up that changed a lot for me (don’t worry, we will get there in this blog, too). No, this isn’t a heartbreak story. It was simply a change in my life for the better. It forced me realize that there was so much more of myself I needed to discover. I had spent so many years pursuing a music career I wasn’t passionate about, cutting my hair to fit acting roles that were against everything I stood for, trying to make myself appear to be someone that I wasn’t, to fit a mold that I was never going to fit into. Well now, after a few years “off the radar”, I’ve decided I need to share my story with all of you. The people who watched me grow up. The people who impacted my life. The people who always saw the “different” in me and pushed me to become the person I am now. And, if I’m lucky, maybe even people I have never even met can be changed by my story. So, that is why I have created Being: Me. I want every one of you to realize that you can go through the hardest of times or the best of times, but if you aren’t embracing who you truly are, you will never find peace or comfort. You will always be searching for something greater, just like I was. Being: Me is a community. A place for all of us to come together and share how incredible it can be to be different with God on our side. A place where we will be kind and brave in all that we do. Where we will share His love and not be ashamed of it. And most importantly, a place where we can all feel free to be ourselves and find the beauty in that. I have made the choice to be my own kind of “different” and I am finally ready to share my journey with you.
So, here I am. At 24 years old, I am still a dreamer, of course, but I’m even more of a believer. A believer that the plans I have made for myself will not even compare to the plans God has for my life. A believer that knows when I choose to live my life fully for Him, not for myself, I will start to feel that sense of satisfaction once again. I know people will still say to me, “you’re different.” But I no longer have to respond with an awkward, “well... uh, thanks I guess?”. But I will reply with one simple statement. “I’m just Being: ME.”
**PS, I will also be sharing some of my favorite fashion trends of the season, interviews from fellow artists, reviews of Christians books and movies, and so much more! Want to see something on the blog? Click the contact page and send me a message!