Self love is a concept more tangled to me than the mess of Christmas lights now harbored up in my attic for another 300 or so days.
I’ve struggled with it. A lot. And every time another letter request comes to sit in my inbox, outlining the tracings of a girl who just doesn’t know how to value herself, I am reminded: I might not be so equipped to write this love letter. Some days I am. Other days, I need it myself.
Step One is always to write to her. To let her know that I am rushing to reach her mailbox. Her fingers. Her hands.
Step Two is to step back and find a way to speak love into my own arms.
Step Three is to write it all down.
Look up, look up,
For you are the littlest lullaby of New York City.
You are as brilliant as the sound that streams from the Old Man’s saxophone in Central Park.
You, you are as striking as the Sunday Times front-page photo, shot from the lens of a clever journalist who was standing right where he needed to be at midnight. To prop a digital to his eye and snap, snap, snap the Man who wore a uniform that told He’d Been Gone Too Long as he kissed the girl who wore a smile that simply said My Soldier Has Come Home.
You are as alive as the city that surrounds them, as the world sings down to twelve o’ clock and the confetti grabs and tangles in their hair.
You are as precious as the Little Girl with the ALDO shopping bag, the one bigger than her body, slung over her shoulder. She chews the ends of a noisemaker and lays back in her Mama’s Arms, leaving a subway to wonder, Did She Make it To Midnight Last Night? Or did her Little Girl Eyelashes fold into one another, like prayer hands, at 10pm?
You are as delicate as the antique camera the Boy holds in his lap. Stroking the grooves, thinking in Peter Pan fashion, “What magic will I capture on this first day of 2012?”
You are as unstoppable as a Café that holds a Floor that holds a Table that holds Two Chairs that holds Two Dreamers who hold the Power to Change the World deep within them.
And what’s more unstoppable than that Café that holds a Floor that holds a Table that holds Two Chairs that Holds Two Dreamer who hold the Power to Change the World deep within them is that they’ve realized, over Two Coffee Mugs and a Stack of Stationery between them, that they are Unstoppable. And they’ve decided to Never Stop.
You, you are as lovely as a page torn from a book, folded and carried beside Lip Smackers and Wrigley’s gum in the purse of a Lady headed towards 72nd Street. As lovely as the words she Reads & ReReads & ReReReads to herself on the days where it seems God forgot to put the color into the sky. “You your best thing,” she reads. “You your best thing,” she ReReads it again.
And Darling, you matter. You matter in the way that rain to the sunken soils of Africa matters to the Ones who haven’t felt the drops on their sunken shoulders in 17 months.
You matter in the way that the Girl with the rip in her tights and feather in her hair matters to the Boy who hurdles suitcases and becomes a running blob in a photo of the Korean bride as she kisses her fiancé at the top of the stairs in Grand Central Station. And he ruins perfect Save the Date photos just to find His Girl waiting at Track 26 for a southbound train, moving towards Away. He pulls her in by the arms and he tells her he’s made mistakes but this? Well, this would be his Biggest, if he let a train and his own fears rip His Angel away.
You matter in the way that bright lights matter to a City of Insomniacs who came here mostly because the bright lights assure them they, they too, were made to shine and shower light. In Some Way. Some Day.
You matter in the way New York City matters to a girl who has cut and pasted a world of high fashion & beauty how-to’s along her walls, waiting for the day when she won’t just stitch jean pocketbooks in her bedroom. Won’t just scan websites for internship opportunities in Manhattan.
You. You. You.
You are bright as the sun that peeks from behind the buildings– tall like players who make a life out of jumping up to wrap their Big Hands around the Rims of a Net. To slam-dunk and dangle for a while.
You are bright as the stars that jut through the skyline like the tips of lead pencils poking through black cardstock. The light pours & pours with each poke.
You are something bright, something rare, something I cannot quite name all by myself. As timid as Adam the day he found a dove and struggled just to name her right.
But it’s lovely, whatever you are, it’s lovely. So name it when you’re ready.
Littlest Lullaby, you go ahead and name it when you’re ready.