I don’t know who I’m writing this for.
Maybe it’s for me, because I’m feeling alone in the world, right now, when the urge to write is so strong that every nerve is yelling for me to jump into action. These feelings are euphoric, addictive, a solitary moment bursting into flames, as if my body is saying, “Go. Write. Make these words what you need to feel okay and let everything you touch glow.”
Maybe I’m writing to make up for lost time, as if this will make everything that’s ever gone wrong in my life right. I don’t have those expectations anymore. I’m only human, and I know that I’ve made mistakes that can never be undone.
And maybe it isn’t that simple. My life doesn’t light up with understanding like a supernova at my command, although sometimes I delude myself into thinking it does. It’s not easy sitting down and facing that this is a personal apology to everyone I’ve ever wronged, but now, I feel as though I’m meant to. I haven’t written personal thoughts from my jumbled-up brain in months; it hasn’t felt right. But now is the time. Everything is running, sprinting, chasing down my unknowable future and now is as good a time as any. I don’t want to let a second go by that isn’t heartbreakingly honest.
Losing people isn’t like it is in the movies. There aren’t always screaming matches and cars speeding off in the distance and tear-soaked melodies crying out from guitars. It can happen silently, almost suspiciously, like currents in the sea that grab you from underneath and slowly take your breath away until you’re finally left screaming for oxygen. It lingers. It takes its time. And it undeniably stays. I’m writing this for anyone I’ve ever lost. Or maybe anyone who’s ever lost me in the past and I, selfish and too young to know, never realized how much it all meant.
To those who aren’t in my life anymore, from death or from distance or from whatever else happened, I’m sorry. I’m sorry that we couldn’t stay together and that we weren’t destined to watch each other grow and learn and love. I’m sorry if it was something I did that drove a wedge between us. I can guarantee that to this day, I still regret it.
My favorite author Lemony Snicket wrote a phrase that has etched itself onto my brain: “The world is quiet here.” The world that my favorite fictional characters lived in was almost never quiet, a chaotic mess of death and despair and loneliness, but they found hope in the small things. They knew that tiny fleeting moments are often the most important ones. I hope the world is quiet enough for you to shape your life into one that you can be proud of. I hope it’s quiet enough for you to savor the smell of new books, the rush of winter against your skin, the solitude that comes with being only in the company of you. You are everything you need, I promise.
In the midst of the chaos, in the midst of terror seeping its way through the cracks of the foundation, I am learning to feel okay. The steps aren’t easy. They’re slow, and tedious, and at times I feel like I’m a toddler learning about the world and I keep reaching for something to grab but my legs won’t quite get me there. Yet I still move forward. I have learned to let go. I know now that I was meant to be in this very spot I’m in, surrounded by the people that I love, after years of isolation and too much self-preservation. Letting go is not romantic, it’s not heartbreakingly beautiful, it’s just that: heartbreaking. Maybe, just maybe, I’m writing this for my future self, the self whose work will never truly be finished. I hope she’ll be stronger than I am now. I hope she knows never to second guess what she knows is right. And more than anything in the world, I hope she learns to love the skin she’s in.
Months and months after the fire has burnt out, the smoke will have cleared and the charcoals won’t glow with the soft hues of red and blue anymore. But in that space, the tiny space in which I’ve created love and laughter and the will to keep moving forward, the world will still be quiet. And that will be enough.