Over the last few years, I have found myself constantly being surprised by where I am and what I am doing with my life. The last year in particular has been one for learning lessons and pushing the limits that I had set for myself. I’m at a point where I am actually still getting to know myself; who I am, why I am the way I am and where I’m going. It’s a surreal process that will continue for a little while until I get to know this woman that I am becoming.
I’ve often found myself reflecting on the people that have influenced who I am. I wonder if they know it.
Of course, there are many people who have influenced who I’ve become. But right now, these are the ones that stand out. Here are open letters to them in no particular order.
My Equal and Opposite
You are probably the least likely person to ever read this or to know it’s about you.
You are the one that they say gave me my personality. Those who know us say that you didn’t give it to me – you allowed me to find it. I know this to be true. As much as you disagree with my choices, you have mostly moved aside to let me make them.
You have been my equal and my opposite. You’ve been the wall that I ram my head against and the ladder that carries me higher. You are my muse and my inspiration; both for what I should be and what I should never become. You are, and always will be, my biggest strength and biggest weakness. I don’t know if I have ever loved anyone more than you. In some moments, I have never hated anyone more than I’ve hated you. No matter what happens, you will always be my context and my comfort. I will owe you everything and never be able to thank you enough for all the bad and all the good. You made me bulletproof.
You’re my comfort. You’re my punching bag. You’re my home. You’re my heart and soul. You are the one that pours everything you can into making me whole. I’m sure you can agree we have differing opinions on what that means, but you try so hard to understand what it is I’m doing and where I’m going. I know I confuse you. Thank you for trying and for always (mostly) being on my side.
My Security Blanket
You came into my life in the most unexpected, convoluted way. You were like a song that came on the radio that I’d never heard before, instantly becoming my favourite song and the melody to my life. You are the articulation of my conscience in ways that even I can’t understand. You are the blanket that I want to wrap myself in when things are going horribly wrong. You are and have always been my reassurance that everything is going to be okay. You are an expert at drawing a path out of my own emotional tangles. You have taught me to trust myself and my instincts; to trust the world as it leads me to the right place… which is always exactly where I am.
You are the first person I want to tell about my good moments. I want to share all my successes with you and celebrate it with you, because I know you will always be happy for me. You have been the one who entertained my thoughts about the world, fostering and feeding my understanding of the environment I am in. You let me take my own thoughts and spiral, spiral, spiral, spiral, spiral… pulling the parachute chord for me at the right moment to help me gently drift down to Earth.
You spend so much time telling me that you’re not enough. Know that you are. You are such an important part of me that I am so lucky to have. Whoever I ultimately end up with is going to have to accept us as a package deal. Know that I will always admire everything you’ve managed to achieve and everything you’ve grown to be. I know that you are going to achieve so much more than you already have. Wherever I am and whatever I do, you will always be my security blanket.I will always be your biggest fan and forever grateful to call you my closest friend.
Somehow I grew up a little terrified of you. Something about me being the kid that always got everything; including what was especially yours. It’s what happens when you’re subjected to the whims of the baby of the group. But much the same way that patters in kaleidoscopes change and develop,as I grew, I always found you there when I was backed into a corner. You were the wall that I held myself up with; the wall that took the blows for me when I ducked. It’s only now that I’m realising that the wall you used to hold me up was the wall you used to keep the rest of the world out. Brick by brick, you’re letting me in and I’m so thankful to be here.
We continue to be the weird black sheep that no one understands. Your words have meant more and more to me as I’ve learned to accept who and what I am. You’ve taught me to be proud of the woman I’ve become and the strengths that I’ve always known I have. You are the light that paves the way for me and makes the future bright. You make me see things in the positive; a world of colour. You’re always aiming for things for me that are so much higher than I can ever dream; but your predictions have always been right.
You’ve taught me that it is okay to put up your own wall against the world, that it’s okay to be defensive. You’ve shown me it’s okay to do what you need to to get away from the troubles of the world. Most importantly, you’ve taught me that when you love someone, you can fight their battles for them. It’s what being human is all about.
My Life Force
To be fair, most of these open letters can probably apply to you. You’re probably reading this post and thinking that all these letters are about you. You know I adore you, and you know that one of these is yours – but you’re going to be unsure which it is. I can see the confused look on your stupid face; those previous three words should be enough for you to know that this is for you.
You are so instinctually in tune with my emotions and my mental state that I always know that I don’t even need to reach out for help. You always come looking first and stay so much longer than anyone else would think to. You call my bluff every time I pretend to be okay and then you create a world of comfort and protection, for which I am eternally grateful. You lift me up in ways that no one else can. When I quickly need to get someone on the phone, you’re there. When I need someone to sit in front of me in a cafe, you’re there. I know that if I called you in the middle of the night, you’d be there in a heartbeat. Very few people can say that with as much conviction as I can.
Although I won’t ever really admit it, you’re so much smarter than I could ever hope to be. Maybe not academically – we seem to like to tie in that regard. In every other way. You’re inquisitive and have a fire that no one can put out. Thank you for being ever-present and breathing new life into me, whenever I need it.
You owed me absolutely nothing; there was no reason for you to be as kind and as giving as you were. You did it anyway. You let me cry to you about the glass box that I felt trapped in; the world beyond that I could see but could not influence. You took my angst and convinced me that it was okay, that it was normal and that there was light on the other side of the dark that I was in. Amazingly, you seemed to know so much more about where I was than even I knew. You let me challenge myself and my beliefs by showing me the infinite roads that existed.
When I sat at a crossroad that seemed completely unclear, you helped give me the conviction to follow my gut-feeling, even though no one else could understand my reasons. You didn’t need to – you knew that I knew where I had to be and you gave me the gentle prod I needed. Those choices I made have been so incredibly influential in who I’ve become. You’ve taught me to always follow my heart, even if that choice isn’t the best one. It will always be the choice that’s right at the time; resulting in a positive outcome or a valuable lesson.
I owe you a huge apology, but have been too gutless to give it to you. I think things fell apart when I was a hypocrite. I was too young to realise what my words meant at the time, but I now know that I said all the wrong things. I promise I meant no wrong by any of it. I was an idiot. You taught me so much about relationships and what it means to be a friend. I will always be grateful for the conviction you gave me and maybe one day I’ll have guts to apologise to your face. Maybe I can buy you a coffee or two, sourced from the most ethical sources I can find, you wonderful person you.
Merging you three into the same letter is almost doing you an injustice, but the words I would give to one would apply to all. You have been the brightest lights, showing me the world of infinite possibilities that are open to me as a woman. You have been a force of incredible strength and inspiration, teaching me that my gender, age and beliefs are in no way indicative of the powerful career that I can draw out for myself.
You are always showing my a life that I could never have ever possibly imagined for myself. A little Amne would never have imagined that I would be doing the things I am, with your guidance and motivation. She would be so proud. You’re always careful to remind me to pace myself and to be aware of the glass ceiling that we are all dealing with. However, you have shown me that I can build an inventory of powerful tools to give me a leg up. You have taught me to create boundaries for myself; a definition of who I am on my own, without others. You’ve shown me that I can and will succeed. You remind me to be pragmatic and driven on my own path and my own trajectory. My achievements are my own. Thank you for letting me shed tears of gratitude when I’ve needed to and for whispering all the right words of wisdom. You are angels, and I am so lucky to have been able to know you.
My Spiritual Muse
I tell you I love you almost everyday. I think you think that I mean it superficially; but I don’t. I mean it genuinely. You are my representation of what it means to be human, of what it means to be a thinking feeling entity of the universe. You’re what I aspire to be, each and every day. Your thinking process is phenomenal and I envy your wit.
What inspires me most is your drive to come to your own beliefs on your own terms. Much like my kaleidoscope, you have taught me to pick my battles. You have taught me to do that selflessly and without lying to myself. Only when I am true to who I am and the spiritual path I am following can I really decide what I believe and why. You also teach me to relax and not take life too seriously. To live in the now and be content with who I am at this very moment. You’ve shown me it’s okay to be completely silly and stupid, as often as I want. Serious Amne has a time and place, but so does this dork, you dork.
Despite your own confusion and uncertainty about your beliefs, you will always be my pillar of strength in my own beliefs. I will always turn to you for guidance and compassion. Your realism and ability to keep me grounded are admirable, and I can only hope to try and be like you. Thank you for helping me to reach a higher, purer spirituality.
My writing is so important to me, and two of you in particular were the greatest influences. Interestingly, one was my ladder in my childhood and the other during my adolescence. Somehow, you saw something in me that no one else did. You gave me every opportunity to develop and grow, supporting me in the most beautiful of ways. You gave me the forum to express myself. I didn’t quite recognise it at the time, but you actually poured your hearts and souls into my development. You supported and encouraged me at every turn, protecting me from my opinion of myself and the opinion of those who thought I was weird.
You were so understanding of the family I came from and the struggles we faced. You understood the cultural crossroads in which I lived, and you gave me every opportunity to make the most of my surroundings. You did so much to make sure that my parents were involved in my schooling, taking into consideration the fact that they probably couldn’t give me everything that other parents would be able to give their children. You were the very definition of being open and inclusive; of compromising for the greater good, and I am so thankful for your support and for putting in so much more effort.
You gave me a love for writing and speaking; for voicing my opinions. You gave me the forum to do it and I am so thankful that you did it. Who knows where I would have been otherwise.
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