This isn’t a normal letter. It’s partly to yourself, because you are part of me. You’re the part of me I wait for – the free, wild, winged part. You are me now, but also me someday. You’re already, and not quite. Some weeks you sing out, strong and brave, and some weeks you hibernate. I want to live my way towards you. I want your voice to be my voice all the time: the voice that speaks truth, not condemnation. The voice that says, “it is enough,” instead of “why couldn’t you do more?”
This is one of the weeks where you are singing, so I write to say thank you.
Thank you for telling me that my hair doesn’t have to flip perfectly across my shoulders in the morning.
Thank you for telling me that dancing Zumba with a youtube video of a British man is worth it, simply because it brings me joy.
Thank you for giving other people their own emotional freedom. For insisting that I let things belong to other people – their own emotional decisions, their own choices, their own journeys. Thank you for asking me to keep quiet sometimes.
Thank you for the delight you have in the world, how everything you see is bursting with possibility. Thank you for being so earnest in everything you do.
Thank you for promising me that in the tangled web of loving other people there is room for mystery, for people doing inexplicable things, for putting up a good fight and losing, for setting each other free. Thank you for asking that I love deeper.
Thank you for the time that you sat on the couch in the counselor’s office and said that you believe I am beautiful. I’m beginning to believe it.
Thank you for the advice columns you poured out all those weeks this past year, in the old space.
You are the brave voice inside me. You are the voice I reach out towards in the midst of these long weeks when I think nothing I do is good enough and everything I do falls short and I’m asking everyone if they’ll tell me that I’m good enough, and you reply, “But you don’t need them to tell you that.” You turn my detailed plan for affirmation upside down and spin it away from me. You refuse to let me be okay just because someone says I am.
I am asking you to stay here. I love you. I love how brightly you smile, how you stand up straighter and laugh more. I love how you are strong and soft. I love how your heart is open. I love how you put on clothes in the morning and march out to the car, bleary-eyed before the first cup of coffee but beautiful. And how you just know it in your bones. I love how you run to feel the muscles working, not to lose the weight. I love how you paint your nails and watch Mad Men.
I love how much grace you can give others because you’re finally willing to offer it to yourself.
Hilary – this Hilary, brave and bold and growing – I’m asking you to keep singing. Sing louder.
I’m leaning in closer. I’m listening with all my heart.
hilary (the still growing part)