Yesterday, two years ago, my life changed in a forever sort of way. God dug a purpose deep in my heart. It took me a year to realize but it was two years on the Yesterday that the digging began.
Yesterday, two years ago, I left the girl I once was behind. A girl of my Yesterday. I haven’t written her since. This letter was overdue.
It’s been two years.
Two long, gaping, shifting years since the day I last looked you in the face and tried to strike a deal.
Don’t you remember how we always tried to strike a deal? Tomorrow we’d try happier. Our clothes would fit a little looser. We’d be more graceful and carry less awkward into the conversations we held. We’d be wittier. Yes, wittier. A little stronger. We wouldn’t wilt like yesterday. We’d try mostly, as hard as we could, to stop focusing on ourselves and shift onto others.
I took that last one the hardest. I became the girl who lived life out loud for others in the every, every day. And it was good & it was glorious. & most of all, it probably meant that I was never coming back to you. That I had left you in the dust. Left you in the house, beside old memories & softer stories, and you were running out of pasta, running out of crackers, running out of fuel and finally falling away.
but the old parts of us always come back
Oh, how the memories come back to roundhouse kick us in the face. BOOM. POW. Whatever sound a good, hard kick makes.
Like that first love of yours. You remember him. Flowers. Understanding. All the weavings of a Taylor Swift love song stuck in your hair. And all that pain you got stuck inside of you like peanut butter to the roof of your mouth.
And how you thought you’d shut the door. And pent up windows. And boarded back entry ways. In a “we are never, ever, ever getting back together” sort of way. And how you thought you’d hunkered down in a bunker that would never, ever let his name echo off the sides of it again.
Until, until that Brandon boy, or Brendan, or whatever Br- name of the boy at the party with the green rugby shirt. And how you left the party with him. And how you went to kiss him out of desperation mode. And how he pulled away more sudden that Daddy when his plastic little limbs yanked from the bed at the 26th hit of the Mattel alarm clock. Crank. Shoot.
“You seem like a really nice girl,” he said. “But there is a lot of hurt in your eyes. I don’t want to add onto that.”
And you wondered if boys actually said those kinds of things. Or if maybe someone should recruit him to sit beside the writers of future spin-off series of Dawson’s Creek because that line was just too good, There is a lot of hurt in your eyes. Bravo, boy with the Br- name, bravo.
But when he said that you turned, walked straight up the hill back to your apartment. You slammed the door (maybe twice). And you wrote that first love of yours a love letter that you never planned to send. Just to say that you were tired. That you never got to say goodbye. That you really needed to leave him behind this time. So that you could find a new door, a new window, a new piece of plywood with ceramic that would somehow love you better than him.
& you called it closure ever since that night. You slept more soundly than ever before. Remember?
Closure. I guess that’s what you & I need.
For me to tell you that you won’t stay this weak forever. That you actually grow up, in the two years ahead, into someone more beautiful than we both ever imagined. & eventually you stop apologizing for who you are. You are strange & curious & awkward & obscure, but you wear red lipstick and cowboy boots and people actually really adore you.
That you really should stay thick with wanting to change the world. Because you’re golden that way.
Stay curious. Stay thoughtful. Stay open to ideas that crawl beneath the sheets like old lovers after a long winter away.
& know this,
That if the world somehow spun soundly on perfect & peppermint, I’d somehow stay beside you and hush you and hold you in a Jack & Rose breathing icicles into the air on the door that once hinged itself inside of the Great Unsinkable Ship kind of way. I’d be a steady holding spot for you. I would. But I know this now: that every girl out there who wants to grow Stronger & Better & Greater than yesterday must learn to leave the Girl of Her Yesterday behind.
And if, by chance, someone outside of the Girl of My Yesterday is reading this right now then this side note is for you: You have to leave. Walk out the door. Say goodbye, no matter how much it scares you. That person doesn’t fit you anymore. She doesn’t own you anymore. You are not shackled. You are not bound. There is nothing— n-o-t-h-i-n-g— to keep you tied to the person of your Yesterday.
It’s not that I will forget you. It’s not that at all. This space is full of you. My journals hold you. And forever I’ll tell a story where you are laced into the Beginning. Always & Always.
It’s just this: I’ve bought a ticket. I’m boarding the train. My bags are at the door. My hand is on the knob. And I cannot take you with me no more. No more tucking you into suitcases. No more slipping you the stub when the conductor turns his head. You’ve got to stay this time. We’ve got to learn what it looks like when I don’t carry the Old of You around in my spirit. What it looks like when I am just me– strong, wise, ready for the world & unburdened by the Girl I Once Was Yesterday.
No more rattling in my ear. No more telling me “no” when I really want “yes.” No more fear. No more sadness. No more sitting round & round the tea party table with you & all the insecurities we collected throughout the days when we were weaker & we chose doubt like roses.
I don’t know how the story ends. I don’t know where we go from here. I don’t mean to make you wither or crackle or hiss.
You’re beautiful, though you don’t see it.
Lovely, though you don’t know it.
Ready, though you can’t imagine it.
Stay thick with wanting to change the world.
That will be your golden ticket one day.