Aug 7, 2008

A letter to myself

Dear J,

I really don't know how I should start. I feel like I know everything about you, and other times you're like a complete stranger and I know nothing at all. Just know that what I say is from the heart. The deepest most secret part of the heart that you choose to ignore. I want to tell you everything you've never had the nerve to tell yourself. Everything that you've been avoiding and pushing to the back of your mind. It's ok if people misjudge you, it's ok if they see something that isn't there. You have nothing to prove to anyone but yourself.

Choosing not to acknowledge something does not make it disappear. You cannot run away from yourself. Slow down for a minute. It's not so bad is it? You're not so bad, are you? Perfection is an illusion my dear. You're acting like the stupid dog that is condemned to running around in circles forever chasing his own tail. Breath. You cannot rewind and you cannot fast forward. No matter how much you wish you could hold time in the palm of your hand and throw it away tomorrow will always come after today will always come after yesterday. Yesterday is dead. Gone. Never, ever to be experienced again, only in that awful place in the back of your mind that's stuck in repeat. Today is such a beautiful thing. It's the second chance that no one else would give you. The gift that keeps on giving. Now. That is all you're guaranteed. Make the most of it.

You're a good girl. And I know how much you needed to say that. But don't let it get to your head. There is always room for self-improvement. You are not perfect, and I know how sometimes you think you are. You are not any better than anyone else. Your situation may be different, your circumstances, your condition, but you are not any more worthy of God's grace than anyone else. Remember this and always be humble.

Forgive and forget. I know how hard it is to forget, but remembering will do you no good. There is no point in remembering what you want to forget, these thoughts do nothing but clutter your mind. Forgive others, forgive yourself. Yes, you have made mistakes and you have done many many stupid things but they do not make you. You can wear them and be proud, or you can put them behind you and move on. Remember that God is always forgiving. Find it in your heart to forgive as well.

Be heedful of all that you say. It's ok to lose your temper, but just know that words are sharp and can do far more damage than you are aware of. We are all human, we all get angry, but always be mindful of the feelings of others. Take great measures in preserving feelings, for they are fragile. More fragile than you can ever hope to know. May you never cause another to frown. You have happiness inside you, and it's a cold world out there. Let others bask and take comfort in your light.

Don't measure yourself by the standards of others. You will always either find yourself to be too good or not good enough. It is time for you to rise to your own standards and expect nothing less from yourself.

I worry about you sometimes. You're too reckless. You're too restless. I've seen you throw caution to the winds too many times to count and have stood by unable to do anything but watch another disaster unfold. Slow down. Think for a moment. Think about tomorrow. Am I contradicting myself again? I tell you to make the most of now but to be mindful of later, does that even make sense? Yet, somehow I know that you know exactly what I am trying to say. I can put together a puzzle that looks like nothing anyone has ever seen. They cannot name it, cannot identify it. Yet, you know. You know, even though sometimes you pretend you don't.

I see great things in you. I see potential. And God, I know how much you hate that word. Potential is that thing. That evil thing that makes you so unhappy with what you are because you are too busy looking for what you can be. Potential cannot be fulfilled because no matter how well you do you can always do better. That isn't the point, and you know it. Don't let the prospect of more poison your view of what you have. Make the most of yourself. You are your greatest asset.

Beauty is such a superficial thing. The tree might be beautiful in the fall, but it loses it leaves every winter. People who like for the way you look ignore the person you are inside. I know you know people like this. Beauty is the box that carries the present. Once you open the box you realize that the real gift is inside. I'm just saying that it's ok to look nice, but don't get carried away. More often than not beauty is a cover up of whats inside. Don't let the cover distract you from the writing. Don't let you're cover be all that you have going for you. Let people see inside of you when you speak, when you act. You're a diamond, you know that? A real gem. I know you look at too many girls and are disgusted by how easily they throw themselves away. No one will ever know what you are worth unless you treasure yourself. You are priceless.

What is your last name, child? Do you know what it means? Do you have any idea what it represents? It is not your last name, only. It is the name of your father and his forefathers. It is the pride of a family. It is respect and honor and dignity encompassed. You represent the family in your home. The family to come and the family that was. You carry all the glory of the past and all the hopes for the future. You carry a village in Africa, a city in Arabia. A culture, a religion, a people. And I know it is a heavy burden to carry, but so far you have bore it well and I know that you will continue to do so. Keep your head up high and remember who you are. You are the hopes and dreams and labors of many. You will not let us down. I know this.

Surround yourself with people who love you for you and in spite of you. Your family. Your few true and good friends. You owe these people so much. I would say more than you'd ever know, but I'm sure you do know. A debt that can only be repaid through love. Love is the only thing that matters. Life? It's really too short. You're 16 already, a junior in high school. When did that happen? Don't waste your time being angry at the people who mean the most to you. You wake up and then it's over. Love, love, love, love. You know the feeling. Look at your brothers and your sisters and your mother and your father and your best friends. They are what matters. Hold them close and don't let go. Whatever happens, they will be there. Love them and let them love you and know that nothing will ever feel as good.

You're really going to make something of yourself, you know that? Who am I kidding? Of course you know that. It's time to live. It's time to allow yourself to be everything you were made to be. Good luck, girl. Good luck.

Your friend,


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