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My advice to younger me

A tribute to my friend

I write letters, I think they are the most unique and unrepeatable gift you can give to another person. It takes time and creative verve to articulate feelings into words. It’s pure devotion.

You should know that you are beautiful, you have an innocent and hopeful soul, and you are my kind of people. Each time we re-connect, I am amazed at how inspired I feel; you renew my faith in people, in hope, and in living an authentic life. You allow me to see and remember the value of disclosing our flaws, owning our mistakes, and the merit in celebrating who we want to become.  We have one chance at human life and that mystery is gorgeous.  

I celebrate you and the speed with which you choose to learn and grow, take your time, Liz; it’s so worth it. Live to the point of tears and live beyond your anxiety, transcend your fear and allow evolution.  Learn to manage all the harsh, complicated bits of life with grace and choose only the battles most worth it.  I learned that self-medicating works in the short term, but it was invariably harming me in the long run. So I looked for non-medicinal solutions, I found other ways to manage stress and calm my spirit and I tapped into the emotional powers which were always so natural to me. As it turns out, those powers are what other people like refer to as affliction; I disagree. The ability to feel, and to articulate those sensations with words, movement, and expression doesn’t make me weak, it protects me.    

I did some thinking about something we recently talked about. You had expressed confusion concerning a man in your life. You seemed uncertain how to accept the story as is truly was versus how you think it should be. And my advice: All the best things in life are never the way we think they should be; expectation is a dangerous ability of human behavior.  Teaching someone they are worth being loved is a phenomenal experience, helping them accept that love with patience and loyalty, well that is true commitment.  I’d rather do that than have a story look perfect on paper.

This man loved before you and is in part a victim of such experience. The thing about first love is that afterwards, you will never again be able to feel love that very same way; the first one is so memorable because it is unique. It is pure, hopeful, and naïve … naïve being the most important part of the equation. When you surrender to the feelings and stings of first love, you are vulnerable and more than willing because you have never been hurt, you don’t understand betrayal in a romantic sphere and your faith in that person is limitless. You will never again be able to love another with that exact perspective because people have an instinct to protect themselves; we evaluate our pain and build all types of emotional and physical walls so we will never be made to relive that pain again. It sounds awful but “experience is a cruel teacher” but experience is required of growth, it is required to live on.

Someone once told me the best advice they had ever been given was: “Don't sweat the small stuff because it's all small stuff”.... The not small stuff of life, I think know a little bit about. And no matter how good and smart and prepared we are, we will never be ready for hurt, loss or pain.

Love him and yourself until you are certain you are in the wrong place. He is not a project, calm your competitive nature and love, loving is joy and even when you don’t get love in equal amounts returned, it is joy. Be that joy. Be love and be authentic as you always have been. Not every love story is flawless from the first moment. Tell your love story the way it happened. Yours will be unique and inspiring and it will rock you whole world; the thought of losing it will knock the air from your lungs. You part in your current story is vital and if this isn’t the love story of your live it, you will pass through a very distinct moment when you know it’s time to let go. And if you were authentic and loved because the love was deserved the pain of that loss will be converted into fond memories and pain written over.  

My theory is to love others like you deserve to be loved. Do not love another like a project, or someone to be fixed.  You are perfect just as you are and you deserve to be loved that way as does everyone else who is bold enough to try to love again. For now it seems he's been fumbling and flopping trying to love you accurately; all while he hasn’t been loving himself.  Maybe he will get there while you’re still by his side and that would be exquisite.  You have both fought for each other and it’s less important to have a good story as it is to have a good teammate. I met Steven online, not perfect or ideal for some people but it’s our story and we have built a story worth telling, he the best teammate, I’m done looking; he is exactly how it should be.

"Perhaps someday, I'll crawl back home beaten and defeated, but as long as I can make stories out of my heartbreak and beauty out of my sorrow, I'll be ok."
-Sylvia Plath
With love and light,

Annie xx


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