I’ll say this to you, but can’t say this to me: you are strong, you are fierce, you are capable.
I’ll say this to you, but never to me: I believe in you, I love you, you can do this.
The words we say to others go far beyond hypocrisy. They are ingrained in the very being of who we are and what we are not: it’s ok to love others and wrong to love yourself. It is not hypocritical, but instead two distinct beasts. Love is not equal, not deserved, not worthy. Love is a gift that can only be given, never taken or accepted. We are alone in this battle where we hold up the world and tear down ourselves. This is what I’ll say to me, but will never say to you.
Because you deserve the love that is the greatest of all, which is that which you’ve given to me. Your love that supports me and holds me in my most painful moments is something that I want for you. Every tear, heartbreak, and empty scream that stands before you is worthy of your own love. The love you give to me is the greatest, most powerful gift. It embodies me to continue and persevere into the darkness. It is both the lantern in my hand and the hope at the end. I want you to feel this. I want you to see this. I want you to have this. Your love is the greatest, so please, accept it yourself.
I know who I’m saying this to as I write these words. I can see you and I know I want to say it.
You are the one who spent the day crying but won’t tell me you spent the day crying because a moment of peace is worth the denial. We talk about our personal battles as if we are standing back to back in broken chain mail armor, our shields shaking as two very distinct armies approach us, one from either direction. They won’t touch the other; no, these armies want just one: you or me. These are two very different wars waging violently, but we have chosen to fight them, back to back, in broken chain mail armour, our shields shaking.
I know who I’m saying this to as I write these words. I can’t see you, but I know I want you to hear it.
You are a whisper on a computer screen, not yet brave enough or ready to turn on your camera. But when my voice warbles and whimpers as I ask for help, your words pour through the chat to hold me together. You are not one, but many people with your own plots, antagonists, and chapters left to tell. But in my story you are one: the one that shares their hardships and advice and love. The greatest love.
I know who I’m saying this to as I write these words. I can feel you in who I am and in who I want to be.
You are the one running through the trees beside me, a fairy, a wizard, a princess, tripping over roots and calling out so our fantasies can be shared together. We walked together for the beginning and as I watch you take your own path, I worry. I worry that you don’t realize you were my guardian on the playground, and that you won’t protect yourself. I worry that that you won’t hear your pride in me, and not feel it in your own bones. I worry that you won’t see the light in the fantasies that you built that built me, as these fantasies that let me thrive could do the same for you.
Yes, I will say these things to you, but can’t say them to me. I will never say them to me.
Unless, of course, you tell me to. Because as I write these words, I know you write them too. Our love is for each other, but never for ourselves. This letter is the love that I can give you, but not me. The question of why is not the point. I write this letter so that you can read it and love, but maybe I can read it and do the same. I can love you, and you can love me, and you should love you, and…
This letter is the love that I can show you, but not me.
But, maybe, with your love…maybe even with my love…tomorrow.