Letters to Little One

The Knowing & the Doing

Dear Little One,

As I’ve grown up, I’ve found it continually harder to be anything except myself. The hard part now is letting go of the fear behind letting that person be seen and heard. But, as I learned in the pursuit of the first, I know the key to the second is to keep trying, to give it time, and to tell the truth.

Though somehow I have a feeling that the knowing won’t make the doing any easier.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

 

See you soon.

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Letters to Little One

The Working Years

Dear Little One,

It’s the Christmas season, which always brings about a lot of anxieties for me. Not really from the season itself, but from what it entails. For example, in the weeks leading up to Christmas I’m often invited to a number of parties, be it with family or friends or both, and I’m always asked the same question: What have you been up to?

I don’t know why, but immediately after I hear these words, my mind always goes blank. Suddenly nothing I’ve done throughout the year seems of any worth and I’m left standing there, thinking I’ve more or less wasted a year. Today however, as I made a list of things I want to get done by the end of this year, I was reminded how important working years are.

You see, for the past few years, I’ve been making a lot of moves, and while they may seem small to the outsider’s eye, they are big and important for me. It is years like these that build up to the big, obvious, accomplishment ridden ones. And so this year, even though I know I’ll get asked that same question over and over and it will still be hard to answer, I’m not going to flee. I’m going to stand my ground. I’m not going to change the subject or avoid it by talking about the accomplishments of others. I’m going to tell the truth: I’ve been working hard.

See you soon.

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Letters to Little One

Bird Set Free

Dear Little One,

The great thing about music is that it finds a way to tell you things you already know, but in a way that finally makes sense. I suppose this goes for all art really, which is why I love it so much and constantly feel the need to share it with you.

Today I bring you “Bird Set Free” by Sia. She is one of the most artistic and unique musicians I’ve ever heard, and it is my hope that she continues creating for a long time. I fell in love with this particular song the moment I heard it, as it came to me on a day that I needed it more than I knew.

The chorus goes:

I don’t care if I sing off key

I’ll find myself in my melody

I sing for love

I sing for me

I’ll shout it out like a bird set free.

The premise of the song, or what I understand about it, is that we all have a voice or a “scream” inside ourselves, and throughout our lives we’ve either been prevented sharing it or were too afraid to use it. This fear stems from the voice’s potential to be a weapon. To the world, it is a weapon that could speak terrifyingly necessary truths. To us, it is a weapon that could leave us far more vulnerable than we feel comfortable with.

This is what I love about the chorus.  Leading up to it Sia explains that the voice we are trying to hide is eating us alive and that holding onto it is preventing us from truly living.

For me, I’m very aware of all of the things I keep hidden inside; the fear of judgement or imperfection can be crippling. But what I love about this song is that it encourages you to share your voice even if it’s not perfect, because the fact is, you’re the one who needs to get it out. It shouldn’t matter what other people think of it because they weren’t the ones suffering in silence for so long.

She ends the chorus with perhaps the most meaningful line, a promise to not only speak her voice, but to shout it. To free herself from the cage she’s been in, whether it be stranger made or self-built, and fly into the world anew.

I hope you find this song when you too need it most.

See you soon.

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Letters to Little One

Cold Days

Dear Little One,

I often try to write you letters that will inspire you. I want you to read my words and know that the world is a good place despite its reputation, and that love is all you need, despite what commercials might tell you. But lately I’ve been having a little trouble finding ways to tell you that everything is okay because I’ve been feeling quite the opposite.

For a while I thought it would be better for me to wait until these feelings passed before I wrote you again, but I’ve recently come to the conclusion that that might be doing you a disservice.

While I do want to instill in you a positivity and compassion that the world needs more of, I don’t want you to think that it is frowned upon, or in some way wrong, to not feel happy all the time. Without hard days, good ones would mean little. Without tragedy, there wouldn’t be miracles. We are all going to have good days and bad days, and it is important that we respect both, for they are necessary in becoming who we are meant to be.

There’s a lyric in a song that’s on the radio right now that’s sat well with me over these past few months. “Your hardest days are a part of something so much more.” And while I don’t think these have been among my hardest days, they’ve been far from my easiest. There’s been a lot of change wrapped up in constant chaos and anxiety seems to have found it’s way into my blood. That being said however, I know that in the long run these days will have only made me stronger, and so I look forward. For the good days ahead will be the hot summer after a long winter, and the cold days will have given me the ability to appreciate the difference.

See you soon.

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Letters to Little One

New Move, Same Me

Dear Little One,

I feel like a lot has changed since the last time I wrote you, even though not many around me may have noticed. One obvious difference however, would be that I’m now writing to you from my own room in my new house that I share with my sister and our friend Kristine. We’ve been here for a few weeks now and the transition from my parents’ house has been nearly seamless.

I thought of you the night we moved in, wondering which sky you’d be sleeping under on your first night out on your own. I myself was worried, not only for the added expenses and the newfound responsibilities, but for the sudden enthrust of freedom. The prospect of such independence after finding a pattern in such chaos was daunting to say the least.

For the first few nights I felt restless, like I should go back home and help my mom with my grandma, like maybe I abandoned her and my dad and my brother in some way. And I felt like I wasn’t doing enough in my “new” life, like I should have immediately thrown myself out in the world and made big decisions and met new people and drastically changed who I am and what I’m doing.

But after the first week came and went and settled into a firm foundation for those to come, I realized that this new step was nothing to fear. While things would be different, incredibly so in some ways, it was a step that was needed to be taken and would only continue to move me forward.

This newfound independence was nothing to get worked up about. Sure I had a variety of new ways to spend my time and allocate my being, but the move away from home did not require a move away from myself. I was happy with the person I was when I lived with my family. I felt loved and needed and unstoppable, there’s no need to lose that person; but over the last few weeks I’ve come to find that I do have a desire to share that person.

This new step does not take me away from my family but into a new family. It births me into a world I’d not previously experienced. One that I can introduce myself to and fall in love with. And while I can’t tell you that I not still a little bit scared, I can say that I’ve shifted the fear’s focus. No longer am I scared of who I should be in this new world, I’m more overwhelmed by the all the things I can be. And no matter which direction I choose to go from here, I can walk with a confident stride, knowing that who I am is perfectly good enough for the places I’ll go and the people I’ll meet, and I should seek them out with a frequent passion. I hope you’ll remember to do the same.

See you soon.

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Letters to Little One

To be Loved

Dear Little One,

Growing up, I watched a lot of kinds of love grow and die. And as I went about my own life, I was introduced to many of its relatives, both honest and fake.  I found it in family, I found it in friends, I found it in church, but I longed for the day when I’d come face to face with the love that everyone is always talking about. I knew it was out there waiting for me, as it is for everyone, and that I’d just have to be patient in my search, but some days were harder than others to do so.

When I was little, I saw the love as a fairytale. It was a type of magic I couldn’t wait to get my hands on. There would be sunsets and dresses and sparkly things, birds chirping and people singing. As I got older, the picture changed. The magic was still there, but maturity morphed its boundaries and shaped its face.

It wasn’t until I reached high school that I started to wonder if it was even in the cards for me at all. I was in the heat of adolescence, reaching out for any sort of steady self-esteem, but all I seemed to find were the slippery fingers of those more perfect than I’d ever be. They looked at me with subconscious pity, assuring me love was around the corner, and I watched them walk away into the magic.

In the years that followed, my self-doubt spread like wildfire throughout my entire body. Nothing about me seemed interesting or unique or beautiful. There were days when I’d spend hours getting ready, solely because I felt as if nothing made me look good enough to deserve the kind of love I longed for.

“I’ll never look like her.”

“I’ll never have what she has.”

“I’ll never be as interesting or witty or funny.”

Eventually, I convinced myself that the magic I once dreamed of was simply not for me. It just wasn’t something I was going to have because I was never going to be good enough. That became my truth and the conversations about love with my friends were the lies. The hopes and dreams I had for the future were simply fabrications that made conversations flow. That love was for them, not me.

But that’s not true, is it?

That’s not true for anyone.

We are all worthy of the love we imagine. We just have to imagine it truthfully, for who are as individuals. Because the truth is, no one is going to be loved the same way, because we are not the same people. We can’t hope to be loved for being someone else because we are no one else but ourselves.

Amongst the lies told by my self-doubt, was the one that told me love was something I would give, but not receive. The idea of someone standing in their best dressed, asking me to marry them, was laughable. Why would someone love me? How would anyone ever fall in love with me?

These past two years, I have finally been able to find the answers.

Why would someone love me? Because I do.

How would anyone ever fall in love with me? Because I have.

The answer was there all along.

The secret to finding true love in another is first finding it in yourself.

If I can stand firmly on the rock that tells me I’m worthy of love, not only will I have the courage to seek it, but I will have the eyes to see through those who speak of it with a false tongue.

If I can build within me a foundation of self-acceptance, I will always have a home to turn to in times of struggle, and a starting block to stand on in times of heartbreak.

An honest love starts from within, so start with you.

You are the epicenter of your own love story.

See you soon.

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Letters to Little One

The Voice

Dear Little One,

I try my best to write about things that can both encourage and inspire you; to help you make sense of life, if that’s even possible. I do this because I’ve found comfort in the understanding, in knowing that other people can relate to what I’m going through. It makes me feel less crazy or dramatic or stupid. And it is my hope that if you are ever to get anything out of these letters, it would be that I’m just as human as you feel you are. I feel just as lost and confused and vulnerable, and in some ways I think I always will.

Today I texted a friend, in need of some self-assurance. I’d let myself give into the doubts as of late and allowed darkness to cloud my vision. I’d allowed the voice in my head—the one that points out every solitary flaw—come to the forefront of my attention and I was having trouble ignoring it any further. When I received my friend’s reply, I got a mixture of what I wanted and what I needed. She assured me that the voice was wrong and she pointed out how I’d willingly given in at times.

We all have that voice in our head and it will always find something to say to bring us down. I try my best to do things to both ignore it and quiet it all together, but there will always be moments of weakness when it finds its way back in. When that happens I think it is necessary for us to reach out. While I believe that self worth can only be built from within yourself, that doesn’t mean it has to be built alone. Never be ashamed to ask for help or reassurance. Sometimes we need to hear the words from someone else’s mouth for them to truly sink in. Sometimes it’s the only way to differentiate between the two voices in your head.

See you soon.

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