By Emilee Clemons
I wish I could hug 2016-Emilee and tell her she is going to be okay real soon. I’d tell her that she’s prettier than she thinks and there are big things ahead.
My Summer self? She was walking through grimy lies and uncertainty. This would be the season where she finally opened her lips about a pretty little liar named Anxiety, an inner voice of confusion that did everything it could to keep her from loving and living like she could. She was in the middle of something, a mind battle that I now see from the other side. I am not suddenly immune to lies after distancing myself under the cloak of autumn and winter, but 2016 – especially summer, as it would unfold – was the kind of battle where I left limping but remembering.
I was scarred. I am scarred. But scars have the power to remind you of how you made it out stronger and softer than before you were marked, and why you’ve been empowered for something brand new. Scars do not ward off all pain and the possibility of someday breaking open again, but they give the hope of healing even when you’re aching. They are shining stars on dense, humid nights.
That girl I was a few months back? I’m not writing to her because she got it all wrong. I’m writing to her because she felt like she did. What happened to her, though, was a mission of true realness, a kind of authentic preparation for a new season of adventure, contentment, and friendship.
If I could slip a paper under her door, break the laws of time, this is what I would say. Perhaps you’re in the middle of something. You don’t know a lie from the truth or your feelings from what your mind knows. This is for you, too.
o o o
I know the headaches are strong and everything looks undecided and you just want to see straight but dare to look upward.
You’re working, and playing, and lying in the sun. You’re making new friends, taking long car rides, writing letters, and making life decisions. Don’t be afraid to sing before you know the answers. If you don’t sing before you have all the quadratic equations of life solved into a satisfactory fraction, you’ll never sing. You were never one for small, satisfactory fractions anyway.
You’ll worry that what you have to give today is not what the world needs. That whenever you find what enough means, you’ll never meet it just right. You don’t have enough rest, or experience, or the desired look. Perfection is not your friend, repentance is. Self-love is not a stamp on your story to make it better, but a process of vulnerability that never fully equals isolation. Cheap escapes are never the way, but grace always is.
You’ll feel a tightness of chest. Walls closing in, maybe? Walls building? Take a deep breath. It’s not your job to have it all figured out. I know you’re scared. Take a deep breath. Allow yourself the space to catch up.
It’s okay to take a day off. You’ll feel guilty. But everything will fall into place, and sometimes the world begs you to watch your favorite childhood show and get out of your current view. Get out of your mind in a way that inspires and does not blind, steady your breath, return to all the work ahead of you. Repeat.
That day that you opened your Bible and burst into tears? Because God chose the strangest way to work through a heartbroken girl? A bit too raw to take in the holy words on your own? That wasn’t the day you lost your faith. That’s another day in your journey that solidified what faith means. Coming back when you are hurt and confused, believing when you do not see. Em, keep coming back.
Cling to Jesus, your forming tribe, that old Chris Brown song. You’ll know how to sleep all night long again.
Someone Who - Because Of You - Is Real and Remade
She would have rolled her eyes, but still.