love letter from 97 year-old me

by erika

Morning, lady.

I think it’s so cute how you get all brave and say something pithy or punchy in a room full of folks and then suffer the guilt and shame of your own poison more than the intended. I should say, it was cute…but you’re too old for that shame shit now. It’s about as age-appropriate on you as pigtails or that “Jimmy Eat World” crop top.

From here, at 97, I got a quiver full of darts, baby, and not a one of them has your name on it. Quiver…what a perfect word for this thing that carries the arrow of your words. You are trying so hard to get at your voice, crack that 5th chakra, state your power, speak up for and with others. But there, in your larynx and in your boots, you are still shaking. Especially after the fact. You hear that, “the fact!” And still! Still you have anxiety dreams of toilets and last night Trump sitting at the foot of your bed trying to snake his way into your psyche! Ewwww! Enough! Don’t let anyone tell you shhhhhh or quiet or stand down. You, my little peace-making kitten, are aloud (I know it’s spelled “allowed,” Sweet Kevin, but it’s a pun in this case…yes, we still talk to our beloved Kevin when we make an (in)appropriate spelling choice) to get mad, and have “choice words,” (you choose ’em, you use ’em!). Especially when you are speaking up for and with those who are systematically silenced, and tired, and age-old mad as hell.

Here’s what I know–TSwift was right, you’ve been the archer, you’ve been the prey…

“Combat, I’m ready for combat
I say I don’t want that, but what if I do?
‘Cause cruelty wins in the movies
I’ve got a hundred thrown-out speeches I almost said to you”

yes to editing, yes to thoughtful words of ahimsa, (non-violence), especially against yourself, but sometimes…sometimes we have to combat our own fears, our own be-little-ing, and sling away.

My darling girl. I love you. I really, really do. But now, 2020, is the time to speak up. You must practice. And practice means failure. But my future, our future, depends on it. Based on the world I am in now (we still can’t believe that Trump was such a shameful chapter in U.S. history and “Lover” is still your favorite Taylor album to dance to in the kitchen), I’m pretty sure you will not give up…but maybe, if I hadn’t written you this letter, if I hadn’t spoken up, you would have let some things slide or needle you into quiet yet again. But I’m you…and so maybe my speaking up comes from all your practice…well done, you.

Peace and ease to your heart today, beloved.

With the love of ever,

97 year-old erika