A few weeks back I posted something of an informal challenge on my Facebook only for those who wanted to take it. You see, the open letter (or even, a letter itself) is a type of art. As a result of that inspiration, I asked if others wanted to join me in creating an open letter addressed to anyone or anything. But there was one catch–I asked individuals to dump their vulnerability into this letter that they might wish to share with others. I stumbled around challenged by my own challenge trying to figure out what I was going to write about and to whom. I decided that a letter to my younger self would be most interesting, yet it was also most difficult. So, here goes.
Dear former, younger self,
It is now that you know it all and you have it all figured out. So this isn’t my attempt to convince you of anything different. But consider this as one of the many magical experiences that will inevitably flow through your veins. And perhaps, through my words, this incantation, you will know who I am. Or maybe, just maybe you won’t recognize the windows through which you are gazing into until you pass that threshold into wisdom. Either way, younger self, here are my words to leave at your feet as you travel to many places….
There are moments of stillness that you might notice and it will feel like everything stopped. Yet your senses will be open to everything within those seconds. It is then that you will question what is real and what is not.
This is the moment where you can’t be afraid, for it is the universe winking at you. It is pulling the curtains back, but don’t blink or turn away! it will be gone as quickly as it appears. Instead, you are invited to just enjoy without questioning its existence.
Your soul will also extend an invitation in the form of a wink through all of the ways that you never imagined. I can’t tell you really what this looks like, but I must warn you to keep all parts of you open to this possibility. Many times it will be like an unexpected stranger or friend knocking upon your door and it might be delivered through a story shared by an unfamiliar face or voice; or a cyclone that was stitched in the womb that became the invisible string pulling you from your navel.
In short, it could be any of these things or none of them, but if you experience your soul flapping its wings against the physical cage of your body, let it in.
When you do, it will feel like magic. Feel like something akin to the deepest of things that you whispered or chanted during the time that you were most trusting yet you weren’t sure that you were good enough to have. Even as you experience this, the moment that your soul reveals itself to you, you won’t have a way of describing it but you will know it.
I also need you to tune your ears because your wild thang will call to you. It might live in a forest or a field of thorns asking for a kiss from your bare feet to its floor. It’s water with unknown depths demanding your pride,
the voices of parents, friends, and so-called logic
and all that you clothe yourself with.
Your wild thang will sometimes dwell within a locale, a real or imagined voice, or in between the smoothness and the wrinkles of bed sheets. It might cozy up to you as you attempt to play dress up in the streets or it will converse with you while you attempt to lay upon the pillows of what you call civilization or monotony. Go to it.
As you make these discoveries, you will occasionally cut yourself on the walls and jagged edges that you have created and upon the walls of others. This is vulnerability. In an effort for the pain to end, you will build more walls as you attempt to keep your track shoes by every bed and your fingers curled around every doorknob. You will be tempted to plan your exit with every entrance.
This, among many things, will be your Sun Dance as you will be summoned each time to be suspended. Earn your scars, seen and unseen. Acknowledge the wounds that will sometimes feel like they have become the crown that threatens to pierce your skull and collapse your neck under its weight. You will survive it as you learn to prepare for another beckoning until you learn how to allow yourself to properly surrender and taste the sweetness that also exists within pain. Don’t avoid it, dodge it or ignore it-this too is vitality. That which you will experience called pain is also the twin of happiness. Thus, you will pay dearly for such attempts and you will surprisingly slay your happiness with your actions to avoid its kindred partner.
And more about happiness and bliss. There will be many moments that you will be surrounded by friends enveloped in laughter. You might notice a blanket of stars above your head in some random place or during a random moment that you might want to christen as “Perfect”.
Bliss will also go by other names like a cloudless sky where the blue is alarmingly endless,
the dance that you can’t believe is happening,
a conversation that is more like spell casting with bread crumbs creating a path that hands you back to yourself,
lips that haphazardly find yours that you don’t want to leave,
a melody to a song that you will want to keep on repeat,
the taste of something sweet or sour upon your tongue,
or fingertips that touch your landscape feeling like they’ve known you for a lifetime,
These will all be amalgamated pieces of your forever. They will end and they will come back again. However, you have to tuck that knowing away in a place where you can visit and remember that truth about the twins happy/bliss and pain/sad. Capture every detail of their short visits with you.
I promise that you will encounter many who will tell you that you can’t have that which you dream. In fact, the act of your dreaming will become vulgar to many as they attempt to place you within the confines of their fear, doubt, and sleep. You become hypnotized by their language, customs, and the rewards granted only to those who are the so-called behaved or who have taken to their imprisonment willingly.
During these times, stitch your wings together or repair them during your confinement which will feel like you have embarked upon the road to never. This thinking is a trick and an illusion. You will escape your occasional imprisonments (and there will be numerous) as long as you don’t forget the greater rewards of chance, risk, and flight.
Let’s talk about love and marriage. It might happen one time, many times, or never. It will feel like your heart is being unmade, like pieces of it are shattering within you creating shards and internal bleeding each and every time you thought a soul mate was stolen from you. And perhaps, my dear, it was a soul mate one of many that will be involved in your becoming. None of this is mistake, wasted time, nor thievery but instead gifts that you won’t discover as such until some time after. You will eventually meet not “the” but “a” one who will be the birth of thank you notes you’ll whisper to all of your past mistaken lovers.
Strength will appear like “keeping it all together” and some might tell you that courage is appearing like Atlas with the world on your shoulders. But it is really letting it all fall apart while wondering how much worse can it as the ground will increasingly feel like a skating rink. You will question what you know and what you learned as the unknown unzips. Embrace it. Let your tears be your foundation and your so-called weakness be a reminder of your humanity. For these are your true strengths.
Most important of all my dear one is that you will become inebriated many times and pieces of yourself will go missing. Some parts kidnapped by people, places or things. Other parts of you will just be plain ol’ forgotten. And you will forget but only during the moments you are foolish enough to contort and mold, but your self knows better.
So, be the loud and the silence that few may understand,
be your sensitive self that knows before everyone else does when the wind has changed,
Be the intensely passionate, fiery girl misunderstood by those who’ve forgotten what the warmth of such living has felt like,
Be daring as you continue to incubate your dreams in a field of your naysayers,
Be bold and ride your fearless that you have made into your stallion,
Be unapologetic as you curate your garden and pull even your most beloved bittersweets-yet-former-flowers out for your own growth and survival,
Be open to the surprise and the gifts that come in unexpected packaging–I can’t stress this enough.
Baby, most importantly, just be. And remember that you are dust and energy. Thus, be intentional about what you are leaving upon the world through every hug, exchange of words, mistaken glance, or planned destinations. All of these things will carry pieces of you, your fingerprints.
There is more I could sit and tell you or warn you about, but because I know you best, you won’t listen. So capture the memory of my smile and the life, the fire that has not left my eyes.
They are yours to keep for these roads that are sometimes narrow, wide, winding, paved, broken, or nonexistent….
Go forth and I will always be there, even when you forget.
and an eternal soft spot for you,
Your Future Self