for emma, from emma

 Dear Emma, 

Just typing those last two words alone reminded me that I take up space in this world because of all of the letters I’ve received in my lifetime. The price of stamps keeps rising up and up, yet people, those who know me and those who think they do, still feel compelled to spend their money and a little bit of ink on those two words, and then some (traditionally). That said, I don’t need the postal service in order to read these words, which I am typing, not writing by hand. So, I guess I have an advantage over those who know me and those who think they do. Especially those who think they do. Because I spend more time with myself than anyone else, and I think I am grateful for that advantage. 

I’m writing you this letter because I know you need it. As someone who rests their deep trust in a piece of paper to communicate the fountain of words you generate for others, I know this will mean a lot. 

At the end of this pure gift of a day--one of those days that moves you to consciously acknowledge how good it is, in the present, not in hindsight--I still receive surges of choked back tears and thoughts of insufficiency. At the end of a day full of interactions with sunshine and people who exude an equivalent warmth, I still find it difficult to see my state as anything but isolated. I held a corgi. I ate Chipotle. I surpassed my daily quota for texts from people who feel grateful to have me in their lives. Yet, I exhaust myself trying to come up with thoughts that mimic the heartfelt messages I’ve received, which leads me to sit in my bed and write a letter to myself. 

I often write letters to people without the intention of my words ever meeting their eyes. That sentence right there is how I typically preface those letters, just in case I change my mind, or my relationship with that person eventually transcends any thought I’d put on paper, or I fall in love with my words and the voice I have to project them, or a magnificent combination of it all. I have sent almost all of them, I’ll remind you, and I guess I credit the last reason the most: falling in love with my words. Falling in love with my voice and growing more comfortable with the tremor of its projection. Watering my confidence more than I water my plants. We both know you never water your plants, so I guess that doesn’t say much. Although, I too used to not say much, but I’ve been growing in that more and more. So, there you have it. And by “it”, I mean a dead succulent on your windowsill and a garden of self-certainty in your soul. 

This power to puncture waves of tears, to crowd your state with accompaniment, to give yourself the heartfelt words you so freely give to others, has always lied within you. You are capable and strong. 

You are allowed to feel most feelings, and you are allowed to think most thoughts. Those that are excluded from that permission are those that exclude you from your instinctual empathy. Your whimsical trust. Your incessant support, no less buoyant than water. 

You’re allowed to be seen, so don’t extinguish the energy that draws attention. Your surroundings--the ground where you step, the rooms where things happen--are allowed to hold you the way you draw others close after a grim day of wreckage. Everything you encounter is enriched by your perspective. Everything the sunlight touches is yours. 

I don’t mean that entirely literally; please don’t steal what doesn’t legally belong to you. But it’s at least yours to observe. It’s yours to ponder and yours to celebrate, which includes this letter.

I won’t keep writing because I don’t need to keep writing. I say things like this to you all of the time, which is something I’ve been working on improving. I need to stop speaking to you in ways I’d never speak to anyone else. I’m sorry for that, but I’m not sorry for standing up for your--our--passions, opinions, and actions when others call them out to be defended.

You are pure magic who still has the potential to fall short of anyone’s standards (including your own) (unless they’re unobtainable) (which they probably are). Regardless, I think, for now, I’ll just leave you with this. Stop and think to yourself if you need anymore guidance. I love you to the moon and back.

Big hug,



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