Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Dispatch to the future

Dear Future Self,

I'm writing in hopes we find one another & because I need direction & a point on which to focus when I'm looking back. I need to give you reason to look back & me a reason to push forward. We both know I'm too chickenshit to follow through with self-harm, but we also know I'm tired of the fight. Today has been one for the books in terms of pain & disappointment. So I think I might need to remind you about causal antecedents. Loss follows love. Disappointment follows hope. Regret chases the heels of bravery.

You say you are broken, but you couldn't unless you know what it feels like to be whole. I know you want to give in to your present state of disrepair, that you don't know what comes next. But you are preceded by great reserves of courage & an uncanny willingness to believe in the beauty to be had in this world & the human beings you find here. You know this is rare because people tell you how odd it is. It doesn't make you special; it means you have reason to keep plodding along.

Here's what I want you to remember:

You have two feet & they have carried you to the tops of mountains most never reach. You have a good heart & you have loved those you could with fierce determination to do well by them. You have ears that know music in birdsong, trainsong, rainsong & the wind. You know how to listen closely to others & you have that same gift to listen to your own heart. You see the world clearly. You are intelligent enough to survive as long as is needed. You are not afraid to write the words that others fear to think. 

You are enough for yourself.

When the mornings come, I want you to wake up. Make your bed. Make coffee. Meditate. Walk outdoors. When you come back, wash the body that carries you. Care for it as if it were another person that you love more than you love yourself. Find clothes that make you feel comfortable or pretty or tough. Wear them for yourself, not others. Once you are groomed, write for an hour, perhaps two if the passion grabs you. Lay out your thoughts without fear; organize the reason into words. Then, read. Poetry, novels, philosophy. Soak it in. If you find your thoughts drifting, feed your body as much as is necessary to begin the work again. 

Keep your appointments. Spend time with your children. If time allows, exercise even more in the afternoon. Be fearlessly creative. Start as many projects as you need until you find the one that needs finishing. Stops & starts are to be expected. At 5 p.m. each day, let your mind rest. Welcome frivolous recreation and gaiety. Take trips to museums. See films. Attend symposium and lectures. Have dinner with your family & with friends. Throw an occasional party. Cook for those you love. Tidy your environment. Take your meds. Give in to exhaustion. Sleep many, long, restful hours.

In time you will remember the patterns of you. The pain will subside. The wholeness will spread through you and you will be enough for others then, too. 

I know this has been one of the hardest of days, but perhaps, if you keep plodding through, in a year we can check back and see what's become of you. Perhaps the loss, disappointment & regret will have faded away again. Perhaps love, hope & courage will be back in bloom.

I know this is hard right now. You know I'm one to talk about the extent of how hard our life has been. But between the two of us, I'm amazed we're still here, still plodding. It takes guts. It takes persistence & fortitude. What most people don't know is the extent of surrendering it takes too. I know you'll figure that part out in the next few months. Even when that part of you that needs to be in complete control won't give it a day's rest, you'll figure out how to let go. The uncertainty of what's out there is what nags at you, but therein lies the adventure. 

Now your job is to pull your self together & I mean that quite seriously. Find yourself without defining that person by what she does for others. Do the next year for you. Your kids will come in close second, but this next 365 days are primarily for you. You have my permission to appear entirely selfish. Learn self-care until you could speak about it at seminars and get paid. Then, we'll check in again.

You just must promise me to be good to us. We've grown a little ragged & brittle-thin. I want to see what's down the road, but I can only count on you being there for me to find out. I get it—the weariness, the hurt—I do. But let's not give up. Not just yet.

1 comment:

  1. Brittle-thin thickens with these supple thoughts