Love letter from 99 year-old me

by erika

Dear One,

What do you need today?



Still need more?

Dammit, I thought I could get off easy this morning and spare these old crooked bridges a moment of arching from one vowel to the next consonant. You want me to list your “sins,” make a numbering from 1-211 of how you aren’t as “good” as they all think? Nope. I refuse. And it’s not because I don’t remember the trouble you caused…

You are cracking me up these days, listening to the new T Swift album like you’re a 14 year-old in heat. And that one song about the heiress in Rhode Island, the one who filled the pool with champagne and dyed the neighbors dog green…the way that song ends in “I,” like Taylor is identifying with all the trouble that came before her…and how “she had a marvelous time ruining everything.” Just wait til you get there–to The Marvelous Time. There in that time, from the other side of the smoke, the fun doesn’t come from the ruining, but from the ruins. In The Marvelous Time, the thorned flowers that bite through those rocks will make a bouquets to bloody your fingers… a small posy to make you really feel the beauty of this life and all its pains and gains. And our skin, now crepe paper thin, feels it all, feels it all. And we feel it all without shame.

Let’s make a different list for you as this school year starts:

  1. You will fuck up.
  2. You will disappoint people.
  3. You will not get that one thing you want and will not dare mention.
  4. You will have to tell someone something that makes you both uncomfortable.
  5. You will be in incredible pain.
  6. You will have one thing cut from your back, and one thing stitched in your hip.
  7. You will keep missing what you don’t have.
  8. You will imagine 10 years from now and all that could go wrong.
  9. You will slip on your own damn tongue.
  10. You will not have the answer.

ok, that was the list of stuff you know, smarty pants. Here’s the list you don’t know:

  1. You will be forgiven by someone who is angry with you.
  2. You will stop caring so much about the anger of the one who won’t forgive.
  3. You will use your words for good and never get a parade or a compliment for your actions.
  4. You will figure out that the green jeans are not the measure of your worth.
  5. You will let go of the emotional pain in your hip after enduring more physical pain and healing there.
  6. You will see the future coming over the ridge and this time recognize it.
  7. You will write something that is a permission slip to someone you will never meet and they will become something else because of it.
  8. You will come undone. (This is a good thing)
  9. You will wish for something new.
  10. You will be so content with what you have that for one moment, you will not notice that you didn’t get it.

Here at 99, this life of ours is just about in ruins. Ravaged and havoc wreacked, we are lying in the thorns like they are new baby blades of grass. We can find comfort anywhere…even, and especially, in the rough patches. Because we survived them. YOU survived them. Keep making lists and I’ll keep unmaking them. We’re in this together, you and me.

From the ruins,

99 year-old e