For the last month, I’ve been participating in a journaling project with five other women for a total of six. We are part of a larger group, but have been lumped together with other strangers to help the assignments be less daunting and so our voices do not get lost in the void. As part of the assignment on self-love, we were tasked with writing ourselves a love letter. In contemplating mine, I thought it was silly as I tell myself a few things almost everyday, a mantra if you will. So really, writing a love letter to myself was unnecessary, right? Until I actually decided to put pen to paper and then read what flowed through my fingers.
Love letter to myself:
Hey there dearest. I wanted to let you know I have missed you greatly and hope you are doing well. I think your old and new selves are fighting with each other, waging an invisible war over what you used to be like and who you’re emerging as, again. How could you not be scarred or changed from all you’ve gone through the last 3 years? You lost your dad, sort of two jobs, you’ve struggled to make ends meet, you dumped the rock/anchor that had been holding you back, you faced a deep depression head on and came out shaken but still alive…
You’re changing, love. Change isn’t a bad thing. I know you sometimes miss the old you, the one who shoved everything deep into your core and squared your shoulders against the world. Things were easier to deal with when you didn’t let it touch the most intricate and vulnerable parts of you. Things didn’t hurt so much when you were already armored and actively carrying around your shield.
But love, that also really sucked. You were exhausted from carrying it all around on your own. The shield was starting to get real heavy, right? And you almost never cried. Keeping everything locked away only served to keep you in a place where criticism and biting sarcasm was the norm. It kept you from really seeing yourself and others. It kept you from being your best self.
You’ve done good, kid. (My dad told me this all the time.) It didn’t work out with Chris, but there’s absolutely nothing you can do about that either. He’s just not ready and you’ve been in that exact place before so you understand what it feels like. Truth is, you want to really wander and he keeps you bound to this place. You would have allowed him to be an excuse. Love happens and it’s always good. It reminds us we’re human and there is always love.
So be easy on yourself. Let it all flow. Love him as a dear friend because you two are good at that, it’s the truth. And love yourself. Always. You are enough. Always. You are strong. Always. Now stop being afraid and go wander!
~love, your best self.
One of my journaling sisters posted this quote the other day and it really got me thinking and eventually led to that letter:
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”
Another of my journaling sisters spoke this morning of choosing a word or words to begin each new year. For her first, she chose ‘deliberate’ and ‘intention’. She laughed when thinking back, saying she worked hard all year to even remember the words she had chosen and in retrospect realizes maybe ‘consideration’ is what she was aiming for instead.
I didn’t have to stretch too far to realize this idea of shedding the old me to become the new me also included my way of running and where I explore or wander. I have to say ‘see you later’ to a lot of running friends as I leave them for the trails. They’ll be running road marathons, half marathons and the like while I focus solely on trail races with a 50k as my fall 2015 race. I’ll sprinkle in a few road races here and there for fun, but trails are where my soul can be found. There are a small contingent of trail runners here and an even smaller group who run ultras, so I will be forced into a new world almost entirely on my own, almost as if starting over. I will make new friends, I will have to speak to people I don’t know about more than just the weather and it will be a fear worth conquering because this is what my heart and soul want more than I can ever express in words.
So for 2015, I have decided my word is ’embrace’.