Anyone that knows me can vouch for the fact that moving back to Vancouver after university changed me, for better or for worse. That diagnosis depends on who you talk to. I would side with “for worse”. Something about being home eventually made me lose a pretty big piece of myself. My confidence dwindled, my fire went out.
I have long suspected that my friends are superior to most. For some unknown reason, my gut and my sense of personal judgement have allowed me to gravitate toward some amazing people. The past six months have only highlighted the fact that I have made great judgement calls in that regard. Since moving back east I have regained that sense of self that I thought had left me forever. Thanks, almost fully to having pushy friends. Two in particular, and you know who you are. One convinced me to get on a plane, fed and sheltered me. The other kept me sane, my head above water and constantly refused to let me give up myself or have a pity party for one.
No offense intended to friend number one, but it’s friend two I need to praise and thank right now. This person has constantly found ways of encouraging me and supporting me even when I had nothing left. Today, I want to acknowledge and thank them profusely for their everlasting faith in my abilities and tenacity, lord knows I had no idea I had the capacity to land on my feet in such a way. I am going to reference excerpts of an email they wrote me in the summer, picking me up from the bottom of the barrel and putting me back on the right path.
Question posed: What do you think is my greatest strength?
“Joking aside, and I know this is going to come as a shock to you, but I think your greatest strength is your self. You know who you are. You are one of the most adult people I know. Everyone knows how they stand with you. You are up-front and straightforward.
When I met you I knew you were one of those girls, and there aren’t many of them, who is good in relationships but at the same time isn’t quivering when she is alone. You are strong enough to be happy in either without being swallowed up in any extreme. You know your self, and what you are as a human being. Most people discover only the peripheral of themselves until they are faced with death. You are different. You understand what is funny. You know what makes you happy. You know about friendship and love and heartache and life. You have a sort of gravity, even when you are making light of something, that shows people your depth and level of understanding.
I think this is your greatest strength because it is what makes you strong and able to resist peer pressure, and the pressures of life. Most people ask themselves “what would Jesus (or some other religious leader) do?” (Or, in my case, “What would Barney Stinson Do?”). I like to think that you ask yourself “What Would Almeera Do?” Then….you do that.”
Question: What do you think I should let go of?
I think you should let go of worry. I think you should let go of the American insanity that seems to pervade our culture and embrace the European worry-free mentality that is their trademark. You consciously try to do a lot, and to push hard and push yourself, but I don’t know if you require that propulsion to be amazing. Honestly, that’s my only advice to you. Let go. Just let go in general. You won’t fall if you let go of the ledge, you will just float away from the wall. You aren’t hanging off a cliff, you are in a pool of water. Take a breath and relax those fingers and feel your own natural buoyancy keep you afloat. What would Almeera do? She would just chill and lean back and have complete understanding that she can just float on her back and smile in the sun.
You see? You don’t need to worry because of who you are as a person. You are talented and smart and strong. I hope to have daughters like you. You are cool and chic but oh so smart. I don’t have the worry that you will end up marrying the wrong person or finding yourself in completely the wrong area of your life because you are only going to do what is smart. You are only going to do what is Almeera approved. You don’t need other people’s approval. You don’t need to be patted on the head – you pat your own head, while holding other people’s hands and helping them through life.
What do you wish I was less of, for my sake?
Shortsighted? (See Last Question).
What do you think I could give myself more credit for or celebrate more?
How far you’ve come in life.
Here’s my theory. Hillary Clinton was pretty awesome when she was young. She had to have been pretty awesome, otherwise she never would have grown up to secretary of state, first lady, and all around champ. Obviously she didn’t know where she was going to end up through it all, but she must have known that she was awesome. She must have had some impression that she was smarter than others around her and that she could go pretty far in life. Now – assume that Secretary of State Hillary remembers the Hillary who has finished school and had some hard days when she was around 30 years old. Being a bit lost, or having trouble with something. I think that, if she remembers the struggles that everyone faces, she would start to laugh and smile in remembrance of how shortsighted she must seem to herself at 30. She wishes she could send a note to herself back in time. The note would read “don’t worry about the little things in life, or the month you feel a little bit lost or adrift….you are going to be both first lady and secretary of state. Also, you are going to be super rich. P.S. Definitely cheat on Bill Clinton.”
This is why you should cheat on Bill Clinton. Errr. I mean – this is why you shouldn’t think of your life in days or weeks or months. You should think of it in acts, or decades, or as a long and unbroken journey. You can’t understand the first or last chapters without the whole story.
This is, in essence, why I don’t think you’ve lost your mojo. I know that your mojo is YOU. When you are in the right place, or the right circumstances present themselves, you are yourself. Know why – you are always yourself. It, honestly, is just a weird phase. Read some letters from future Meera. She knows a lot of shit. She would write you the most humbling and compelling letter ever written. Something you would read and make your personal manifesto. It would read just like the last paragraph of this email. (Although hers would be better). ***Don’t skip ahead and read the last paragraph!
This is why I say that you shouldn’t be shortsighted. Because future Almeera is way smarter than current people. She has the answers. You have to know that you are her – and she is you. (I also ghost-write for Maya Angelou in my spare time).
Your half-remembered rendition of “Walking in Memphis” is still the best version I’ve ever heard. A life half lived well far exceeds three whole lives where there is no understanding of the things that makes a self whole and life complete.
I want you to feel three things (with this letter, and with life): Celebrated, Supported, and Good. Meeri, I love you. You are great. You are strong and kind and warm. I want my friends to be like you. I want to be like you. I want my daughters to be like you. I want them to know that their lives hold promise and strength and that they are limitless in their capacity to love and obtain knowledge and know the beauty in living. I want them to know what you know – that you can live with grace and humility. That being beautiful and smart is possible simultaneously. That if you are good then good people will find you. That you can recover from the bad things in life just by being open to the good. I think that the word Almeera should be written in music notes.
With an opus like that, how can you deny I haven’t made great life choices in the friend category? I remember the day I got that email. I cried because I didn’t believe a word of it. It’s been seven months since that landed in my inbox, and I and now beginning to see glimpses of that person my friend talked about. I can’t deny the fact it’s a great feeling to think that you are actually living up to the idea of yourself. Hopefully this is something I can continue to build upon on the days and weeks to come. I am getting back to the person I thought I was once upon a time, and with the gentle nudge of a friend or two, that wouldn’t be possible.
So, you obviously know who you are. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.