To the girl who believes in happy endings

Dear little me,

I wish I got this letter growing up, I wish time travel existed. You are only fifteen, and I may be only twenty three but I have so much to say.

You dream of that stranger on a white horse and imagine you are being held captive in your home. That wistful look is one of innocence and ignorance. You don’t know what a heartbreak is. You have not spent hours, days even weeks trying to shut out the world. You have never experienced the free fall when that hand holding yours just disappears.

Turrets and rainbows turn into faded pictures and monsters in your closet. You think after half a dozen not-so-happy-endings you would be numb to happiness or pain. But that doesn’t happen. You meet the seventh prince (they dress in tee shirts and don’t call you darling), and your heart skips a beat and you blush like you did when your crush talked to you during recess. It truly is the you could have danced all night and still have begged for more kind of a feeling. Until the day it isn’t.

But scaring you into a life of loneliness is not what I want. There may be no happy ending but there is happiness. To know what it feels like when he reads the owl and the pussycat under that old elm tree. To know how the thought of him smiling makes you feel loved even though he is miles away. To have that one picture where he is not looking at the camera but at you and his eyes say more than words ever will. To forever cherish that night he cooked dinner (yes, rocks taste better) and you danced….your shadows intertwined in the candlelight. To have that one song that reminds you all at once about how he made you feel. And yes the fights hurling the first thing you find at him over losing a game of scrabble or is-that-lipstick-on-your-collar? Making up after the fights because it really was just tomato sauce(yes the tests confirmed it, not a false negative, yes I am sure).

Sometimes it will not be about love. You will make choices that end in a 7 AM taxi ride (messy hair and heels in your hand) or an empty bed and an almost illegible note. They may be stupid decisions (like the last whiskey shot) but you get to decide if they are right or wrong.

There will be a time when love will take a backseat. You will want to change the world, to grow wings and fly. Don’t dismiss that person who made you laugh. Don’t give up on someone who can hold his end of the conversation. Yes it will end and yes it will hurt. But if you do, someday you will look back you will regret letting him go without a fight. Because love that doesn’t last is just as true as the love that does.

I will not tell you to love yourself because what’s not to love?!

So promise me you will never give up. He will never be what you expected, maybe you meet six guys before you meet him maybe sixty. Maybe you meet someone else after you meet him and maybe he turns out to be Harry to your Sally. Maybe you meet him in high school and he is your prom date or maybe when you are in an old age home half demented and losing bladder control. Just promise me you will never give up on love.

Your so-very-messed-up-23-year-old-self

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The veiled feminist.

When I walk down the markets you see an oppressed woman all I see are feet and blurred outlines. Do I like not being able to look up at the clear blue sky except from the window of my room? Is it my life’s dream to follow a man on a path that isn’t mine mine? Do I not crave adventure? I am just like you. But to the child born and raised in a dungeon the sunlight is blinding.

You say let go of your chains. Walk free. All I can think of is my family. My mother who spent her life being my living shield. My grandmother who couldn’t hope and lived her life cloaked in fear. My sisters who deflect this question by “the veil? What do you mean? I am ravishing in black!”

We are in awe of your confidence and long legs. But we don’t aspire to be you. We want to be invisible but seen, to be loved not coveted, to get drunk on freedom but not lose our senses. “So change. Drop that veil. Fight.” You have not watched your daughter tortured for your mistakes. To fear for your life and that ones you love. So don’t judge me if I keep the veil. If you have only known the familiarity of a cage the skies are daunting. I do not make excuses for living my life, I just live it.

I am your comrade in war but for now I will keep my veil. You might lose a job over an angry outburst I might lose my life. Don’t pity me, don’t judge me, don’t help me. There may be times when you have my back and there will be days when I have yours. For an idea to take life it must be accepted with open arms not forced. So the revolution is silent, it is slow, but it will keep humanity going.

I try. I may not have wings but I wish them for my daughters. I teach my sons what it means to be born equal. And I know the day I will be buried the white clouds will roll by silently, the birds will sing of love, the flowers will bloom and the bees will hum. And there from that grave my soul will rise towards the clear blue sky.

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