The Letter From Our Moms (We Wish We Had Gotten)

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I've been thinking about the things I wished my Mom had said to me growing up, and even now. And about my beautiful friends who have all sorts of different and complicated relationships with their Moms or who lost them far too early.

So I wrote this, daydreaming about what I wish we had all heard from our own Moms (or Dads), feeling grateful for everyone who has nurtured me, and hoping that this is what I write for my children someday.

For anyone who feels different:

Dearest,

The first moment you realize you're different in a way that will change how many people treat you can be exhilarating and terrifying. It's okay. Feel both. Those moments will keep coming, over and over again, and although you will become numb to them occasionally, you will grow to know them well. Embrace the times when your uniqueness makes you shine, when your difference makes you feel strong and graceful, and when your openness and vulnerability makes you an ally to others.

Brace yourself for the terrifying moments. I wish I could say that you'll always be protected, that you'll always be safe, but I would be lying. Some people will be cruel. Some people will contract when they see you, for reasons they have been taught or fear of their own difference. Darkness and hatred will come your way even on good days when you're walking in the sunshine with someone you love. You'll feel a sting when you complain about your hurts and people cringe or roll their eyes. You'll feel tired and needy when you ask for more, when you ask to be equal, when you still notice and notice and notice that you're on the edges.

Sometimes, you too will be horrible to people because of your pain. Sometimes you'll have fought so hard or kept so much inside that you will explode onto both the guilty and innocent. You will see other people getting more than you and resent them. You will want to keep every little bit that you have because you've known what it's like to have nothing. Sometimes you will only know how to take.

It may be the hardest thing to do, but notice when you're clenching your fists instead of opening your hands. Sometimes survival is the only focus because it has to be. But you will see, more often than not, I hope, that everyone is not against you. Some people are really really trying and their own pain prevents them from seeing you. You will find kindred spirits. You will find people who have been through the fire and have come out like the diamonds they are. You will not always be alone. You will be that light for people too.

You will wonder what it's like to exhale. Truly and deeply exhale. To rest with a heart that never, even in the darkest moments, asks if there is something wrong with you. You will be desperate for the answer of how much longer in any part of the earth will your difference be debated/punished/pointed out/critiqued/exploited/abused/ignored. There's little comfort in telling you that I don't know. I wonder too.

There will be progress. There will be devastations. You will be driven and protected by both gratitude and anger. They are both your friends.

Is it too much to ask for you to never give up? Is it naïve? I'll ask for it anyway.

Please don't give up. There is joy. Sometimes it will arrive neatly wrapped and sometimes you will have to dig deeper than you ever thought you could to get it.

Lastly, you may not believe this, but you will find love because you embody love. You will receive love because you will have learned how intensely you can give and how worthy you are and how much every little act of kindness matters. I don't know what this will look like or who it will look like or how many faces it will rest upon.

Yes, your heart will break. But it will never be broken. You will be loved extravagantly by people who see you and see every cell of your body and every particle of your soul and all the things that make you YOU. The things you thought you would always have to hide will be the most beautiful.

So, dearest one;

Embrace yourself.
Brace yourself.
Don't give up.