If you do not love yourself, flaws and all, it doesn’t matter who else says they love you. You will not believe them. You will pull them into your irreverence for yourself. They will see how you treat you.  They will take notes.

The best of them will simply walk away and remember how beautiful, smart, and fierce they thought you could be. The worst of them will break your heart and teach you new ways to do the same. You accept the love you believe that you deserve.

Can I tell you, sweetheart, you deserve so much devotion, compassion, fierce deep love. Someone who will not leave you even when the night is long and the valley is deep. That someone is you. You deserve yourself.

Your life is worth fighting for.  I am glad you decided to keep on. I am glad you remembered to pray. I am glad that somehow, some way in your darkest moment,  grace showed up. I am so glad that grace whispered, “you can release the pain from your body without ending it.” I bow deeply to the part of you/me that choose the light of yoga from that abysmal place we crouched in. Thank you for deciding that if you could just make it to one class, then the next, then the next, you could keep living. 

Babygirl, please pay your bills on time. That includes student loans.

Your words are your weapon. They are also sacred balm. Be deliberate in how you use them.

In the words of 3000, “Don’t pull your thangs out, unless you plan to bang.”

You were so brave to move across the country to live and teach Middle School Language Arts in Phoenix, Arizona. To stay, even when you were lonely, scared, and just wanted to go back home or go do work that wasn’t as soul shifting and demanding as teaching. Thank you for being open to learning as much as you thought you were there to teach. For allowing the children of South Phoenix in particular, to expand your heart in all directions.  They were the first ti fully affrim to you that to teach is to learn.

In the words of  Rayya Elias. “The truth has legs; it always stands. When everything else in the room has blown up or dissolved away, the only thing left standing will always be the truth. Since that’s where you’re gonna end up anyway, you might as well just start there.” 

You don’t have to play nice. You only have to be real

Be courageous enough to hold your father’s hands, look him in the eye, and say “these hands broke my heart and somehow I still love you more than I ought to. We can’t begin again. We can’t even wash these hands clean. We can be honest, now. Can we?” Be wise enough to express the love through the pain with him. You don’t have as much time as you think.

Thank you for loving yourself enough, to know when transformative love arrived. Thank you for allowing Jemar to love and merge destinies with you. 

You will learn what it means to deeply love someone you never held, yet who deeply touched you. You will learn how to bury a bodiless being. There will only be two people at the memorial. You and him. You will grieve what people treat invisible. You will recover from that miscarriage. It will take you a while. You won’t forget it though.  

Forgive yourself, first.

So much Love,