Monday afternoon I stood on the playground of the preschool where I work. All around me was the chaos of children screaming, the music of their laughter, and the sound of their sweet little feet hitting the playground as they bounced joyfully from one end of grounds to the other. I stood and took it all in. I watched them be so carefree and enjoying every second of their day. That’s the amazing thing about kids. They don’t care who hurt them earlier in the day, they don’t care about the baby fat that still covers their sweet, precious bodies, and they don’t care about being someone who they aren’t just to impress someone. They are just present in the moment. And while all this was going on around me I talked to one of the moms of a little boy in my class. She told me something that really hit me at the deepest point of my heart, and I haven’t stopped thinking about her words since. She looked at me and said, “Alissa, you are so real. And that’s what I love about you.” Realness. Authenticity. Those things- those two courageous, scary, wonderful things- they are what I have been trying to become. To be fully me. To be perfectly imperfect. To take off my shell and bear my heart and my scars to this fake world. To hear those words- it was better than the feeling of hearing how great I looked, or I look like I lost weight, or hearing how smart someone thinks I am. “You are so real.” That was the best compliment I could have received. And to hear those words, must mean I’m doing something right.