Some of you may know but some of you may not know that I was named after Alice in Wonderland. When my older sister was two she got to be the one to name me Allison, based off of one of her favorite characters Alice who visited wonderland. Alice in Wonderland has always been a part of my story. I used to resent my name in some ways because Disney’s Alice in Wonderland was not one of my favorite movies; however, as I got older I fell in love with it more and more. I’ve learned to love the story and have been greatly impacted because of it.
Alice continuously invites me to be curious. She is whimsical and wonderful and lives in a nonsensical world. She invites me to joy and to wonder.
But when I was 18 I felt like I had lost touch with Alice. You see, Alice in Wonderland by Tim Burton had recently come out my senior year of high school and a scene that greatly impacted me was when the Hatter informs Alice that she’s lost her muchness. That she used to be much muchier before but now she had lost it. As an 18-year-old I was so afraid of losing my muchness. But I found courage in Alice’s quote that said…..
“From the moment I fell down that rabbit hole I’ve been told where I must go and who I must be. I’ve been shrunk, stretched, scratched, and stuffed into a teapot. I’ve been accused of being Alice and not being Alice but this is my dream and I’ll decide where it goes from here.”
I did decide where I went from there, and I’ve lived my dreams and am now still dreaming them. I found my muchness throughout college and now as a young, single professional. And in the last few months a new theme from Alice has taken root in my heart, which is Wonder. Wonder has been a nickname of mine since I was a camp counselor. That summer I was 18, and all the campers called me “Wonder”, short for Wonderland.
At my graduation from grad school my sister gave me a giving key with the word “Wonder” etched on it. I loved the gift and had no idea that wonder would become a very present word in my life for the summer. A few weeks ago I went to see the second Alice in Wonderland by Tim Burton and watched as Alice was faced with losing her Wonder. For her the Wonder was her father’s ship, and she faces loosing it and her life of adventure to save her mother from bankruptcy. Around this dilemma she is taken back to Wonderland. This time in Wonderland Alice learns what truly matters. She realizes she does not need to give up wonder as a whole.
I know that my life will always consist of asking if I’ve lost my muchness and how to stay alive to the wonder. There will be times where I will live small, but in those moments I plan on taking a bite of a magical cake that allows me to grow and live a much larger adventuresome life. I choose not to lose my muchness and in the moments that I forget it I plan on coming back for it. And the same goes for my wonder, I plan on always inviting and living fully out of wonder, even if it’s hard and I may have to walk that journey alone sometimes.
I’m rather broken right now, God has shown me a lot about who I am and where I have not lived out of the wonder and muchness, but I’m coming back.
I would not trade this brokenness that has been revealed to me in the last few weeks for anything because it has invited me to be a realer and lovely part of myself. I have so much hope and anticipation about what God is doing with this year because the wonder and the muchness are still very much alive.
My students are back and with them an understanding of why I’m in this position and why I love it so much.
So I want to share these few pictures of a girl who will choose to constantly invite Alice back in. In welcoming Alice I welcome the muchness and the wonder, I welcome whimsical and nonsensical dreams, I welcome curiosity and kindness, and I welcome the madness, because all of the best people are completely mad. And I welcome you to join me and Alice…..
Allison Johnson resides in Phoenix as a Resident Director at Grand Canyon University. She finds beauty in simplicity and spontaneity, and in the midst of living her life in all of the messiness of being 24. She laughs loudly, dances frequently, and creates art through any and every medium. Her heart is set on living passionate adventures, filled with glorious people and places.