Beautiful Little Darling

“The world needs a sense of worth, and it will achieve it only by its people feeling that they are worthwhile.”  ― Fred Rogers

This is an open letter to someone I love. That someone could be you.

Beautiful Little Darling,

You are magical. Every inch of you was designed to be loved, from the top of your head to your cute little toes. All of your freckles create a map of how wonderful you are. I know you don’t believe this, but it’s true. I know how hard it is to hear this when other voices, like the ones on TV and the ones in your head, are telling I’m wrong. Sometimes even the people who love you most forget how incredible you are just by virtue of being you. They forget this, and they forget to remind you. I’m reminding you.

You are fire, elemental and uncontrollable. I want you to feel passionate about the things that make you think and feel. Never be ashamed of the things that make you feel alive. I want you to be hungry for more and to never feel guilty for wanting. You should never stop asking for the world, Little Darling. Although I love you as you are, I want you to never stop growing into who you are meant to be- for you are bound for greatness.

You are golden. Your worth is not definable by your beauty, your brains, or your success. You are worthy simply for existing. You deserve love because you are you. You do not need to ask for love to receive it. You do not have to make yourself more palatable for this world, sweet Darling. You owe it to no one to be anything other than who you already are. Anyone who does not love you as you are does not understand your value. At times you will feel afraid of being alone, Darling. The quiet will make you question your heart. Do not feel lonely in these times, dear one, instead I hope you grow to love the comfort of your own company.

You are necessary and irreplaceable. This world cannot make do without you. Sometimes the pressure to leave may feel like fog, obscuring any reason to stay. You may feel like one of a number, unimportant. I want you to know, beautiful Darling, that I understand you. We are cut from the same cloth, you and I. I want you to know that I need you. You are vital to me, and I can never stop loving you.

I want you to hear these things, Darling. I want you to know this implicitly. You are magnificent. Nothing about you is broken or ugly. Nothing needs to be altered. You are one of one. I will never stop cheering for your happiness. I hope someday to hear you cheering beside me.

Signed with infinite love,

Me.

The Going Rate

“You are terrifying and strange and beautiful, something not everyone knows how to love”- Warsan Shire

I was listening to music while driving to my internship the other morning, as one does, when it struck me how so many of the songs talked about love. More specifically, I was suddenly aware of how they talked about flawed and somewhat damaging perceptions of love and relationships. From Reba to Selena Gomez, no one was free of toxic love. It got me to thinking about a video I watched about “the price of admission” in relationships. (link to the article and video here)

I started thinking about what sorts of things we tell ourselves we want when we’re looking for someone to date. Some of us progress through stages of what we’re willing to accept in a partner. Maybe in the beginning we’re looking for someone who matches all of our special snowflake little tendencies, a prince or princess charming, or an idealized romcom fantasy human. Sometimes we’re just looking to fill a perceived deficit, to make something we see as broken into a whole again. A number of people probably label behaviors that are actually emotionally abusive as “costs of admission”, in order to accept actions that don’t feel like love. It’s curious what a person will tolerate to feel like someone cares, if even briefly. Movies and songs that glorify toxic relationships certainly aren’t helping the issue, either. If asking for an ideal match is too much- How do we actually learn what the going rate for love is? And how do we make sure that no one is paying too much?

At work one night we got into a conversation about relationships. As it usually happens in these conversations, someone brought up the sage wisdom that “you have to love yourself first in order to receive love.” I take issue with this wisdom because self-love is seriously FUCKING DIFFICULT. It’s nearly a full time job to try to do the thing, sometimes. It’s easy to say “oh, you should just love yourself.” Accept your flaws. Know your worth. All of that. But for me, and others like me, our brains are sending us an onslaught of messages to remind us that we’re unworthy or hard to love. Of course when I put all of this together, I started thinking- what if the problem is that we don’t want to pay the price of admission to love ourselves? If we can’t afford to love ourselves, can we really afford to love someone else? 

I do want to learn to love myself and all that, but maybe I just gotta keep counting my pennies until I can afford to do so.