Letters to my younger self

Once upon a time, there was a girl who was as carefree as could be. She only had to think about school, the next book she would read, the next story she would write. She didn’t have a boyfriend to think about, and her ambitions were pure and, in this day and age, realistic. She had hope for a bright future full of possibilities.

In november of 2007, she wrote me a letter that would be opened in 2011, five years later. It laid forgotten in a drawer for three more after the deadline. I found it while cleaning up my taxes files.

Opening it felt like traveling back in time. The paper was crisp where it was folded but soft everywhere else. Her handwriting made me smile. It haven’t changed much throughout the years. I started to read it.

Her words touched me to the core. They were graceful and confident on the sheet when she wrote « Every obstacles in your way, you will defeat. I know you will. Remember, I am you. » She wasn’t just about hope. She was about faith, enthusiasm and just enough arrogance to push away the boundaries of the world.

Once every year after that, I reread her letter, until the meaning of her sentences permanently imprinted itself in my memory. Her teenage years shone through some her of questions (« Does Harry die at the end? ») but her wisdom warmed my heart in so many ways.

I don’t have her letter anymore. I lost it, probably through one of my too many moves. But I made sure to use every opportunities I have to answer back to her and let her know that, despite the darkness of a few of our years and some days that still remains darker than others, we are doing good.

Everything I share online is a letter for her. Every poems, every stories, every pieces of advice. I want to make her smile, make her cry, make her think. I want to make her proud of who she has become. I want her to know that we are doing okay. That we are loved and happy.

Today, I owe her a proper answer.

Dear past self,

It has been a while. 11 years, to be precise. That’s how old Harry was when he found out he was a wizard. He kinda dies at the end, but not really, he comes back, defeats Voldemort, gets married, have children and one of them is one of the stars of the sequel. Don’t read it, it’s awful, there are many fanfictions out there that are better worth your time.

It’s been 11 years but I don’t feel old. If I remember correctly, you were looking forward for your age to match your thoughts. It’s still the case. I can’t wait to find my first gray hair, so I can finally say that I am wise without feeling like a fraud for it. But, giving that people still give me 23 years old and not the almost 28 I really have, even when that hair will appear, it might take a while before I take myself seriously about that. Perhaps true wisdom is just that. Not taking myself seriously. It’s worth thinking about.

To answer your question, yes, you gave your virginity, no, not to the one you expected. It was a sweet and tender moment, a memory held fondly. Oh! and we finally are at university! Can you believe it? 10 years late, but here we are, studying literature, nonetheless. Surprised? I was too, believe me.

You were right, I did get through all the obstacles on my way… And so many of them were of our own doing. I learnt. And, sometimes, I wish I could go back and tell you all about the mistakes and the heartaches before you made any of those choices. But I can’t do that.

That’s why I write online. Yes, we have a blog. A very healthy one, shall I say. Everything I post online are letters to you. Perhaps, somewhere in the world, there is someone just like you, who needs to read my words like you needed them. Like I need them still.

I wanted to say thank you. You took some bad decisions along the way, but you took some good too. And, if it wasn’t for your strength, your courage and your stubborness, I wouldn’t be here today. There would be no blog. No school. No future. So thank you, for believing even when I stopped.

With love,
Your future self

Reading the words I wrote to myself all those years ago laid the foundations of a cathartic change. One step at a time, it pushed me back towards those days full of light and hope that I had in high school. I think I will repeat this experiment before the next school year begins. I wonder what my future self will answer back to the one I am now.

Bed

I’ve spent the past 36 hours in my bed, reading, eating, writing, letting the world happen outside and online without taking a look at it. My hair is a mess of unruly curls that I can’t bother to get right and I’ve been wearing the pajamas that’ll probably still hug my body tomorow evening. A vacation for my soul. It feels good.

It feels good but inside is a turmoil of pain and anger that I listen to, take note of, and then try to drown so I can breathe a little in the middle of the novel serie that I’ve been reading. I’ve been to the bottom of it, found its roots, but the anger still remains. The pain has its rightful place this time. It is not without cause. Not without consequences.

There is a difference between what feels good and what is healthy. And I’ve been sick for a while now, only noticing how fast my mind and my heart deteriorated in the last week or so. This is what this vacation is about. I need to take care of myself.

I think a week or two of this three-days regime should do wonders for my soul, as long as I cure the source of the disease. I can’t say for sure that it will bring me to full health, but it’s a step that can’t be ignored if I ever want to find myself again.

Until then, I’ll stay in bed and take all the time I need to heal. This is what days off are for.

Summer nights

the quiet of a lake
trees surrounding me, solemn
a bonfire crackling at my feet
casting a warm glow on my skin
music rings from the wings of dragonflies

the night has not settled yet
but they have awoken
the ancestors of the land
marching towards me
their drums beating, steady

under moon and fire
the mist shines silver and gold
a lonely wolf howls
in the darkness of the forest
I rise to join him

the crisp of branches and leaves
I make my presence known
to the woodland spirits
a peace offering
mutually accepted

fireflies lighting the way
dancing together in a play
perfected the night before
I crouch down on the grass
they turn invisible and scatter

ducklings still awake
chirping on the still lake
loud quacks
the adults are sleeping
so should they

I turn around
settle on the ground
my bed awaits
I close my eyes
and drift in after them

Worth

I’ve been afraid to share these past few days. I told myself it was so I could work on other projects and read the pile of books I borrowed from the library, but truth be told, I put myself under pressure and trying to get out.

In the post where I talked about my relationship with money, at one point, I wrote that I was ready to earn money for my writing. It’s a paragraph I deleted after many days of introspection and scrutiny of my needs. What I learnt about money didn’t change but the idea of earning money for my art was thrown overboard.

I don’t know what my work is worth. And I don’t want to pressure it to look a certain way, to please certain people, so it would bring cash in. I tried on Medium and, while it’s not a failure (I feel happy about the first and, so far, only post that remains there), the experiment is certainly not the success I expected to feel inside. There was no freedom nor joy that came with the second post I shared there, and I promptly deleted it after one day or two, leaving only one behind.

This isn’t about money but about my self-worth. If my work ends up giving me money but I feel no pleasure doing it, what’s in there for me to own but misery? I knew I wouldn’t be one who would post regularly and that my ideas wouldn’t bring anything new on the table, but writing to earn something… It’s an idea I tried to embrace in the past and I thought I felt ready to embrace it again, but it turns out that this isn’t something that is meant for me.

My writing could earn me money but I am not built in a way that I would be able to run after it.

I believe people are able to decide the worth they give something. I like the idea of donations, patrons, much more than the idea of trying for money. If you like what I do, so be it. If you don’t, it’s okay too. I write not for a career but for my own pleasure, and thinking about money when I write takes away all of it. It’s like making love with a to-do list in mind. There’s no soul to be found.

I need spontaneity. I need to feel free to express myself the way I want to. And while I do believe that being educated about money is important, how much I truly need for my goals is not as much as the world teaches me to believe. I read blog posts about people making 60 000$ a year and being unhappy about it and, while I do know that their needs and mine are different, at the point I am now, this is a little more than three times what I currently earn. This would be more than enough for me, and it might be a goal for a future career involving the words of others but not for my own creativity.

I remain a hobbyist for this craft, and that’s where I find my true joy. I am certainly going to try new things, give up on some, continue with others, and that’s where I find success, in stretching my comfort zone until I find what is meant for me to break through it. I will still write on Medium since I have projects that seems better suited for that platform, but this time, I’ll do so without expectations and, most importantly, I’ll keep this blog a priority, for it allows me the freedom of creation I crave for.

All I need is to like what I write. If you like it too, that’s a sweet bonus. Thank you for believing my words are worthy of your time.

Gone

sudden breath
I tear apart
hours of work
trash it away
leave it on the sidewalk
for others to take

what is the meaning
of my words
if I cannot share
from my heart?

ideals or fear
I don’t know which
leads my blade forward
into the chaos

what is it
that is calling me
inside this mountain
full of treasures?

my senses spell treason
and all I can feel
is the touch of your voice
whispering
« keep going »

One year

I started writing this blog a year ago. Back then, I knew it could lead to another failure. I’ve been known for starting blogs that I would later delete, trapped in words I was unable to own, under a name I couldn’t carry, trying to recapture the sense of freedom and creativity I had when I wrote my first blog in 2007. I was a teenager back then, carefree, and it showed in my writing, happiness with a little bit of pretention. I deleted the blog by accident one day, trying to get rid of another one I didn’t use on the same platform. I was never able to build another one like it again. And then, I created this one.

I knew I could fail again but, surprisingly, this time, I did not. I started writing under a penname that I later changed for my own, sharing stories and experiences I wish my younger self had known. For the first time in years, I wrote and shared out of desire, not because I thought it was the thing I should do. I wasn’t trying for a writing career anymore. I was writing for the joy and love of it.

Some of my texts were born in only a few minutes, words rushing by and needing to get out in the moment. Others slowly cooked in my brain for a few months, even a few years, before I found the voice they needed to be told. I shared stories I never thought I would write, each one of them giving me strength and courage for the next one. Fear sometimes knocked on my door, but I never let it in.

When I started planning this post a month ago, I didn’t know what would be the next steps on my way, what styles of writing I would go for. Since then, projects have started to take shape, some of them already in motion through this platform and another. I’ve been building the confidence to write about sociopolitical themes that matters to me, dive into different genres of poetry and storytelling, perhaps even try my hand at critiques and literary analysis, using the many modulations of my voice discovered during the past twelve months. The metamorphosis of my thoughts about money and the worth of my words also laid down the road for new experiments, both as a blogger and a writer.

There is still so much to learn. I’m excited to discover it all.

May 19th is a day of celebration. A rebirth of some sort. It deserves cake and a few candles to blow.

birthday-cake-380178_1920

For all of you who’ve been supporting me so far, old and new followers, thank you. It makes me happy to know that, through my struggles and moments of clarity, others can find common ground and share their own experiences. It’s always a pleasure to read you. I look forward to the next years together.

Mireille