A Personal Love Letter
To the me of the past . . .
You seem a distant memory now, almost as if you’re an entire lifetime away. And though I don’t remember all the details of our time together, I’ll never forget how happy I was with you.
I can close my eyes and recall the warmth of the sun and the cool breeze gliding through loose strands of my hair as gently as it wafts through the tree leaves. The playlist of our relationship is filled with indistinct conversations and squeals of laughter on the playground. It’s accented by the ping of a ball hitting a bat and cheers from the dugout. Songs of worship and praise build up in a crescendo before transitioning into a chorus of hallelujahs and amens. I could bask in the music of our childhood forever.
Things were different back then. Your smile—you wore it often and gave it freely. That’s one of the things I loved about you. You weren’t afraid to show the world how you were feeling. You wore your heart on your sleeve, held it out, and offered it willingly.
If I’m honest, I envy you. There are times when I wish I could be you, or at least channel your energy. You probably didn’t realize it at the time, but you were braver than I am now . . . maybe braver than I could ever be again. You had your insecurities and your flaws. But you weren’t afraid to hop from one couch to the next, showing off your master fighting abilities like you were Kim Possible. You weren’t afraid to run around with a blanket tied around your neck, proclaiming you were Super Kim there to save the day. You weren’t afraid to get down on all fours and roar like a lion at the top of your lungs.
Back then, you weren’t as afraid to indulge the kid inside you. You weren’t as afraid of what other people might have thought of you. You weren’t as afraid to be yourself.
But something happened over the years, and we drifted apart. Your exclamations and proclamations became my polite statements and whispered words. Your ear-to-ear grins became my feeble smiles and shy looks. You began to wrap your arms around your heart like armor, building up your walls until your fairytale castle became my self-imposed prison.
Now, as I walk along the path, I notice that the sun doesn’t shine as brightly as it used to. The wind doesn’t dance with me the same as it danced with you. I can hear the echoes of our life as it used to be, and there are days when I want nothing more than to go back and start over. All those things I took for granted, I would cherish them like I should have.
I would stay with you as long as I could, but I suppose all I can do now is treasure our memories together. You will forever be the one that got away, and I’ll miss you.
To my future self . . .
I hope you’re doing well. Actually, I hope you’re doing better.
What’s life like? Is everything all we hoped it would be? Are we everything we hoped we would be? I’ve thought about you for a long time. In fact, I don’t think I’ve gone a single day without thinking of you, imagining what you’d look like or picturing the kind of person you might be. I’ve prayed for you, and I continue to pray for you.
One thing I’ve learned—and I’m sure you’ll hear it millions of times—is that life is a journey. And right now, as I think of you and how we’ll eventually meet, it’s like I’m standing at a forked road at the base of a mountain. On my one side is a wide path. It goes on for miles and miles, and I can see everything. There’s no real excitement, but it’s safe. A part of me wants to continue down this path because I know I’d be content, but another part of me knows that I would never truly be satisfied.
Then there’s this staircase leading up into the mountains on my other side. I can’t see exactly where it goes or where it ends, but I’m curious. There’s a certain thrill in venturing into the unknown. Imagine what I would see on my climb, all the things and people I might encounter. And I know once I got to the top, I would see the world differently. I’m looking up, and I want to take that first step, but I’m terrified. What if I put in my time and effort into climbing those stairs only to get lost? Or what if I slip and fall and crash to the bottom, unable to get back up? I know those stairs would be life changing, but I’m scared of what that might mean.
Future self, I know you’re waiting for me, and I can’t wait to meet you. But I’m not quite ready yet. I still have a lot of growing up to do. I need to work on myself so that I can be the person you deserve. So please, wait patiently for me.
To who I am right now . . .
I know you’re frustrated, wondering why you feel so overwhelmed yet so numb at the same time. When you look in the mirror, you feel as if you’ve let yourself go, and you wonder how you’ll ever become the person you want to be—the person you feel you’re meant to be. You feel so lonely, but you don’t know why when you could talk to anyone with the push of a few buttons. Trust me, I get it.
There are these conflicting emotions inside of you, and they’re constantly warring with all the thoughts in your head. You want to cry some days, you want to shout other days, and there are nights when you want to do both at the same time. You feel things so intensely, it scares you, so you shut down.
You wish you could go back to the happy kid you used to be—the kid who loved to run around and made friends easily, the kid who wasn’t afraid to indulge in her dreams and imagination. You also wish you could fast forward to the person you’ll eventually be, the woman who hopefully has some semblance of knowing what she’s doing and doesn’t feel like she might break down at any moment. But these wishes are like wisps of smoke, never fully tangible. You can’t go back to the past or change it. And you can dream about the future all you want, but those dreams will mean nothing if you don’t do anything to work toward them. All you can do is focus and work on who you are right now.
It’s funny. We have a weird relationship with each other and love, don’t we? Truth is, I don’t think I know you as well as I thought I did. You’ve worn your masks for so long that I can’t tell who the woman is underneath. Your blank canvas became filled with art you thought others would enjoy, but you lost your own joy in creating. You tried crafting your personality and image in the hope that you’d stay relevant, and for a time that was enough for you . . . until it wasn’t.
Every night I can hear them: the whispers of truth you try to drown out during the day.
They tell me you’re a failure, just another face in the crowd. Nobody would notice if you disappeared. They hardly notice you now. You try so hard to be like them, to get them to like you, but it’s a wasted effort.
My first thought was to tell you to ignore them, but the more I listened, the more I understood. In a sense, you are a failure and just another face in the crowd. They do hardly notice you even though you try so hard to fit in. You really are wasting your efforts.
You’re the only person guaranteed to stay with yourself for the rest of your life, and your worth is not defined by what other people think. I see you supporting your friends—and even strangers—encouraging them to be themselves, to freely express who they are. You want people to learn to love and accept themselves, but when will you?
So this is my promise to you. I promise to do better, to love you better. I’ll start from scratch if I have to. There is no one else on this earth who is exactly like you. There is no one else who sees the world as you do. You are so unique and so special. I don’t want you to have to wait for love. Let me be the one who is in love with your smile, who appreciates your heart, who admires your wit and intellect, who is extremely grateful you’re alive. Let me make you happy. You deserve love.
Yours always ❤