Hey there. It’s been a while. We don’t talk much anymore, but I promise I haven’t forgotten about you. I’m still here, for every hard morning and for every long night. Even on the easy days. We don’t talk much anymore, though, and I miss you. I miss you a lot. I know you’re not talking much, but I am listening, and I’m here to tell you something:
You are enough. Even on your worst days.
On these days, I can hardly hear you speak.
On these days, I can feel you slowly shrink.
You get up if you believe you’re going places.
You talk if you think your words deserve to be heard.
I know you’d do everything if you thought you were enough.
And I know you can do anything.
You tend to hide in your words (or lack thereof), and you’ve always been particular about word choice, timing, phrasing, because you want people to believe everything is OK—people want to believe that too.
But some days, it’s hard.
The other day you wrote: “It’s funny because people often say poetry is a form of expression but I can’t tell you how many times it’s been more of a form of depression because I’ve learned to squeeze the truth between the letters instead of in them and to build strongly structured sentences like fences, like defenses, around my mind and it’s like holding my breath over and over when someone asks ‘how are you?’ so my heart doesn’t fly from my throat because then they’ll know they’ll know they’ll know they’ll know—”
I’m here to tell you we know. I’m here to tell you there’s no need to be afraid, for we have all felt pain, even if we pretend we haven’t. I think this somehow brings us together. I think this might be called love.
The other day, someone said to you that there are only two emotions: love and fear. The rest of what we feel falls somewhere within those boxes.
But, what if those two go hand in hand?
I know you’re afraid of the past, the mishandled mistakes, and the PTSD that you promised to patch up, and I’m sorry for the mess that was made, but I can guarantee we’ve both been there—crawling from the ashes and striding towards the sun. Don’t let it define you. You are not a fuck-up because of your fuck-ups. You are living through your mistakes, mistakes that are showing you how to love better.
I know you’re terrified of the space you take up and how the shoes don’t fit perfectly but, please, slide right into them. They’re yours. They look good on you. Don’t skip that meal or “forget” to eat or silence your song and let yourself shrink to nothing because you’re everything. I’ve seen you swell bigger than the Grinch’s heart because you love and love and love until there is no limit, no price, no exchange needed. Let yourself overflow and drip down to your toes and lap over your legs and hug your torso and fill your eyes with brightness. Love is not found or discovered. It’s always there. Right inside you. You just have to decide to live in it. It’s all for you. I promise.
And I know we never talk about the butterflies belittling your body, a little nervous flickering flame tickling your taste buds with questions like “Did I say that wrong? Did I try hard enough? Was that enough? Do they think I’m enough? Does she think I’m enough? Do I give enough? Am I enough? Am I enough? Am I enough? AmIEnoughAmIEnoughAmIEnough—”
You. Are. Enough.
You always have been. No matter how much the butterflies swarm, or the regretful rush of the past, or the frightening fact that the future is coming. You’re bigger than all of it.
But it’s OK to be afraid sometimes.
I know you don’t want to live your life in only one box, never seeing the other.
Never understanding that you deserve a peek, a snippet of what is yet to come. You can look. In fact, open that box up like it’s a present, pretty and wrapped up in gold just for you. You can even jump right inside it.
Not to ruin the surprise, but what you’re going to find inside is love.
First, your idea of love was like a light switch. It turns on and off but sometimes the power goes out and it never comes back on again. Then it was hidden in baggy clothes, in feelings not yet known, in dark closets, where you locked it, in fear of falling face first, in fear of receiving hate in return. And maybe, once, your idea of love was met with a hand that is no longer with you—but remember that it taught you what is within you needs to be seen.
Now, I can see you crawling out of fear and falling into love. There is no shame in crawling, for any progress is something to be celebrated.
And I’m sorry to say that fear will never die because, yes there is pain, and yes there is loneliness, and yes there is loss—but the sun always rises. And I think that’s a beautiful metaphor for love.
There is no “right” time for love. No cue. No special way of wording it. No grand gesture or sacrifice. Simply, “I love you.”
Do not let fear rule your love, for it is all yours and it is all meant for you because you are worthy of it. If anything, embrace fear, for if you do, love is not far behind. With or without fear, love will find a way. And one day, you will share love without fear. (Even with her—especially with her.)
So today, wake up filling the whole bed, soaking up every inch of its comfort and warmth and deep-sleep dreams. Stare into the mirror and hold every moment of it with bliss and a wide smile and no shame. (And today maybe ask her, “Hey, do you want to go to the movies sometime?”)
I wish you so much luck, friend, and if you ever need anything, I’m right here. Thank you for never stopping us.
I hope to hear your loud, joyful voice soon, without hesitation, without worry, without fear.
From your friend,