When I was little, I never wanted to be a princess - not a Disney princess anyway. They always had perfect hair, tiny waists and delicate fingers like the end of a paint brush. As a chubby kid with bad bangs and so many bruises on my shins I slightly resembled an old banana, somehow "Princess Natalie" seemed as unrealistic as those old love stories.
I always wanted to be little orphan Annie, Shirley Temple, the Olsen Twins or any of the American Girls. Those girls were spunky, brave, and most of all, they had gumption. Their stories of adventure would fill my mind with a certain wanderlust - not so much to travel the world, but to become my own charismatic heroine in red cowgirl boots. I spent my childhood talking to my stuffed animals like they were responsive humans, pondering life on my swing set and finding characters to fill my story.
I can't remember the first time I met Kylie Wikle. Her short stature, beady green eyes, button nose and explosive curly hair made her more fascinating to me than any fictional character I had ever read about. It seems as soon as she entered into the orbit of church services, activities and meetings, we became friends in the most natural sense. She was simply gravitational. She was funny.
Kylie's laughter fills up a room and is more infectious than chicken pox, jungle fever and the common cold combined. Her eyes gleam when she listens to a story and her spit sprinkles the table when she tells a joke too loud - which she does often. She grocery shops bra-less, curses like a drunk sailor, obsesses over sitcoms, cries when she's excited to see someone, loves Jesus with her whole heart and never fails to tell me if my hoop earrings look "ghetto." She is honest, loyal, caring, charming, witty and inspiring. She is flesh and insecurity and joy and love - she is all, and most importantly, she is refreshingly real. Kylie is a character in the most respectable sense of the word. She is the kind of princess I want to be.