a letter to me

Dearest C ~

Hey, baby girl. How you doing? I sense something different about you.  You’re…lighter. The smile comes a little easier, the heart believes the truth a little more.

You’re so free. Not completely, but remember 10 years ago, when you were so weak you could barely dance at all? I think you know at least 3 hard-core moves now. This is good.

I know, I know. You don’t like to remember the 10-years-ago days, the barely-danceable days, those relentless wilderness days. But you know what? You are so brave. To the point that you not only thought about the past, but you actually drove the road that takes you back to the memories. You willingly got into a vehicle, and this time you didn’t dread every minute that passed by, taking you further away from what you wanted. Instead, you anticipated it, because deep down you knew it didn’t matter anymore. This place held no fear for you now. So you faced it, and you won.

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Driving away from the wreck of the day, and I’m thinkin’ ’bout callin’ on Jesus
Cause love doesn’t hurt, so I know I’m not fallin’ in love, I’m just fallin’ to pieces.

Do you remember?

Do you remember being so afraid that you could barely appreciate the raw beauty of the world around you? Do you remember not being able to tell anyone why you were there, yet you so desperately wished that someone would hear you screaming it out from the inside?

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Do you remember becoming a teenager and this was all you knew? And you believed that this was ALL you would ever know? You ran all over these grasses and bushes, singing and dancing to your own little beat. You were prepared for your life to be over, before it really began. You dreamt about your first kiss, feeling a tiny hand grasp your pinkie in trust, living a true blessed existence in a world of purpose. But they were only dreams to you, because you had already accepted that life as we knew it was ending soon. The new millennium was going to usher in economic collapse, war, famine, disease, death. All the worst things you could think of, this was your future. After all, God had told your family it was coming, so it must be true, right? He was always right and true, and he had had enough of this dirty world. Judgment was coming. And all you could do was hide, here in this wilderness, and wait. Hope, pray, that you would counted worthy to escape, or at least be killed quickly.

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Do you remember how you would play in these places, the friends you brought to life with your mind? The stories you would make up, not knowing yet that you were meant to create them?

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Where you would swim in your underwear because literally no one else was around except your mom. The long float, winding through the fields, all the way down to Willow Lake. No life jacket, just you and the water and the mosquitos.

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Do you remember trying to go to sleep on the couch that faced this view, on December 31st, 1999? You clutched your blanket in fear as the clock ticked closer to midnight, waiting for the cosmic boom that would announce the end of the world. Do you remember waking up the next morning, facing this, wondering if all the people you knew in town were now dead?

How fickle my heart and how woozy my eyes
I struggle to find any truth in your lies
And now my heart stumbles on things I don’t know
My weakness I feel I must finally show.

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Do you remember how time went on and nothing changed? And even though you were afraid of what the next day might hold, you were still determined to possess something you could call your own. One window sill. That’s all you needed. It still lives, it’s still yours. Good job, baby girl.

Do you remember when the day finally came and you were 15 and you were told that yes, it was time to leave. To go to the town. To have a chance at living, at growing, maybe even falling in love. After 4 years of wilderness, animals farmed and definitely un-farmed. Snow taller than your waist. Trekking every which way for survival whether by quad or snowmobile or foot. Storing up food that was never eaten except by kleptomaniac squirrels. Watching your mother break down and cry after the windmill for electricity died, and again when the pipes froze so you had to melt buckets of snow-water, and again when your favourite dog got into the anti-freeze and seizured her way into a yellow-tongued death. Four years of wanting to cry and ask, “Why are we doing this? Why is this happening to us?” but never doing it, because in the big picture, none of this mattered. All you could do was let go of anything that felt like emotional attachment; it was too painful. Too risky. And yet, even after all that practice at letting go, you still couldn’t quite shake this place after you left. It had become a part of you, burrowed into your bones, and even though you were free, you still weren’t. Fear still had a stranglehold, the wilderness still possessed your dreams. And you didn’t realize it because, for a little while, you had another battle to fight. The war you’d been waiting for never came, but as it turns out, the government of your country cares about those who disappear into the woods, without any legal papers or intentions. So you gathered up your intentions, paid and struggled and told and re-told the story for those papers. 3 years, and now they’re sitting in your file cabinet. You now possess more than a window sill bookshelf, that’s for sure, darlin’.

One week ago, you went back. You captured these memories on a phone that you used to think only rich people could afford. Ten years since this was your home, and 3 years in a row celebrating Canada Day with a genuine rush of patriotism in your heart. A double-anniversary, metaphors deep. You returned, and guess who you brought with you?

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That’s right. A freakin’ husband. (And lovely friend Heather who was sweet enough to snap this!)

Hello world, how you been?
Good to see you, my old friend

Sometimes I feel as cold as steel
And broken like I’m never gonna heal
I see a light, a little grace, a little faith unfurl
Hello world.

You are so loved by this man, and by so many others. Some know your story, lots of others don’t, but when they meet you, they can tell you’re different somehow. They can’t quite put their finger on it, but they know you’re special. You’re strong. You’re unbelievably goofy, but you’re not helpless.

Look at you. What a journey! You have remembered so much, let go of so much, learning to hold on even more. But you’re not done yet. You grew up thinking you would never reach your 20s, and now, HECK YOU MIGHT EVEN MAKE IT TO 26. And you’re still singing.

Sing it for the boys…sing it for the girls
Every time you lose it, sing it for the world
Sing it from the heart, sing it ’til you’re nuts
Sing it out for the ones that’ll hate your guts
Sing it for the deaf, sing it for the blind
Sing about everyone that you left behind
Sing it for the world, sing it for the world

So be free, little butterfly. This cocoon has disintegrated, and it’s your time to shine with all the colours that have, at times, been painfully swirled into your patterns. Go, go, fly! See where it takes you. But always remember where you came from, not because it inhibits you, but because it brought you to where you are now. Your Father smiles because now you know that He isn’t your enemy, just waiting to bring His wrath upon your life; He is your friend, He was there all along. People may fail, you may fail but He and His love never does. Your life is pure proof.

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I know they say you can’t go home again,
I just had to come back one last time…
I thought if I could touch this place or feel it
This brokenness inside me might start healing.
Out here, it’s like I’m someone else
I thought that maybe I could find myself.
If I could walk around, I swear I’ll leave
Won’t take nothing but a memory,
From the house that built me.

So when the bad days come, mornings where you wake up from a dream that felt so real, just remember this day. Remember these pictures. They are the truth and you are the story-teller.
Get out there and keep telling it.
Love,
 ~ C
PS: The portions of music listed are what played on my iPhone on the trip up to the property. NOTHING is an accident! Oh, except for the last one by Miranda Lambert. I thought of that one all on my own. 😉
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38 thoughts on “a letter to me

  1. thanks for sharing, gives us all more strength and faith to move on:) Big hugs, you and Steve’s visit has warmed my heart for days:)

    • You are welcome! Thanks for commenting and being encouraged by what I said. We SO enjoyed visiting with you guys too; we regretted that we haven’t done it SOONER and that we should definitely do it again! ❤

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  4. WOW. I just can’t even… this is incredible. It’s so beautiful and yet your loneliness, isolation, confusion, and struggle is so deeply intertwined with that beauty. You absolutely MUST write more about this. Have you read “The Glass Castle” by Jeanette Walls? It’s different but I still felt myself thinking of it while I read this.

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  6. Wow, Carly. Your story is just amazing and I don’t know it all (I think I’m not caught up yet), but you are such a beautiful, strong woman. I’m happy you’re in such a great place that you could write this letter to yourself. It’s important to hug the young girls we used to be as the grown women we are now. -hugs- #SW

    • Definitely a place of testing at the time. It’s funny how I was really able to appreciate it’s beauty once I got free and let go of the wilderness’ power over me. I think that definitely applies to all of life as well. Something that sucks now will appear beautiful in the future. 🙂

  7. What. A. Story. *exhales* This particular format is so powerful. A letter to the younger you. I’m 43 and I can’t even do that yet. If I even think about it I ball like a baby. I’m in awe of your strength, and your ability to write with such eloquence. *hugs*

    • Thank you Beth, for such kind words. I give you permission to have whatever grace, forgiveness and acceptance you need to be able to write to your younger self, and then let her go. 🙂 ❤

  8. I am astounded. I would never have guessed that you’d lived this – so many people, having suffered through decisions made for them by other people, wear that like a film over their skin. But your skin just glows with happiness and good intentions.

    This has made me fall heads over heels in love with your voice, and with the you who writes letters to your past self. I think I will binge read you all day, delightedly. I’m rarely bowled over by other people, but you – you inspire and intrigue me!

    • Wow. Thank you so much, Jennie. That really means a lot. I have worked hard to keep my heart, my skin soft, my expressions open and my joy intact. There are of course bad days and more stories involved with this journey, and they will come out eventually. But I am Mexican and I plan to be unstoppable! 🙂

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  10. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, and ALWAYS keep singing. Having heard (and gotten hooked on) your voice, just make sure you never stop.

    I’m so impressed you were able to write so gently to your former self. That’s really lovely. I have nothing but contempt for most of my former selves.

    • I’m just so honoured by the way you’ve latched onto my voices, singing and otherwise. Thank you. You’re not the only one to mention the fact that I could write to myself like this – and I never really thought about that before now. I guess the key has been forgiveness, acceptance, and letting the sun shine on a new day. The past is the past and it’s made me who I am today. And, at the very least, I know what not to do when/if I have my own children someday. 🙂 I hope you come to a place of grace for Younger Lizzi. I’m sure she’s wonderful.

      • I frequently wish I could excise my past and all record of it, and just be who I am now. I know that ‘Who I Am Now’ is the result of a stepping-stone process, taking me through all the former me’s but I don’t much like her, I think because as much as anything else, I was so undermined and shattered then, that I can’t help but look back through the eyes of those who were offering the input at that time, and find her repugnant.

  11. I have to keep reading. I don’t know the whole story but get snippets from this letter you have so beautifully written to your younger self. You are a brave and resilient one, I think. I know. I am proud of you and haven’t even met you. You are a champion, sweet girl! A champion.

    • Thank you so much, Sandy. I keep trying to think of ways to tell my whole story instead of just these snippets – and the only conclusion I have is: write a book. Which is a whole ‘nother level of scary. 🙂 But when I do, my sister wives will be one of the first to know about it!

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