Dear Lily June,
At this time last year, I was very afraid. I had called to check on results from medical tests I’d had done the day prior, only to learn that my doctor had ordered an immediate induction that night. I had thought, Lily June, that I was going to meet you on the night of Monday, May 11, 2015 when I went into the hospital. I was terrified of the labor, yes, but far more terrified of something it may be hard for you to understand until you have children of your own: I was afraid to meet you.
“We are afraid of the enormity of the possible.”
On its surface, Orchidblue’s Blog often reads like a love story, cataloguing as it does the sometimes tortured, sometimes passionate, always intense interactions between the narrator and THE friend. What’s at the heart of the story, though, runs so much deeper than a typical romance. Orchidblue’s blog, like her life, is the story of a woman’s relationship with her own heart.
Her courtship with vulnerability has sometimes between tumultuous. Her flirtations with fearlessness, independence, and career-savvy are nothing short of electrifying. Her long-term love-affair with reinventing and improving herself (whether the project be to trap good memories in a mason jar–the one that inspired me to start our family bucket list in a jar–or to exercise more or complain less) has taught me more about the arts of self-love and self-care than I care to admit to her (lest she think me just another fawning, jelly b*tch).
And yet, in the moments she might describe herself on her blog as weakest, I see her strength shine through. Sure, I see a kindred spirit of over-analyzed introspection. (It takes one to know one, friend.) But I also see a woman who can talk to her boss like she’s got HIM on a leash. I see a woman who repairs the relationships of others even while she longs for someone who will communicate with her as openly and honestly as she advises. I see a woman who is brave enough to look into the metaphorical mirror and describe the reflection she sees head on.
If it is terrifying to be a character in your own life, it’s all the more frightening to meet its author, who is also you. Orchidblue does that kind of work, and her advice to you below, Lily, is really to do the same with yourself. After all, you can’t overcome your fears, as she suggests, if you don’t first examine them under the magnifying glass to see all of their wriggling legs and wings. You can’t find the beauty in your differences if you aren’t willing to admit how and where you are different from the “normal.” And you can’t, as she directs you to, appreciate life’s disappointments and your own flaws until you’re willing to trace your fingers along the cracks in your own mirror and admit you’re as much those cracks as you are the glass and the reflection you see inside of it.
Don’t, little Lily, be afraid of the enormity of the possible, whether those possibilities be that you find Mr. or Mrs. Right, or that you learn more about yourself from Mr. or Mrs. Wrong. Don’t be afraid, little Lily, if all you find is Ms. You because you, all in yourself, are enough. You are more than enough. You will be brilliant and beautiful and brave, just as Orchidblue advises you to be. Just like she, herself, is.
Treat everyone, Lily, like they are already enough, and you will find yourself falling in love with faces you’ve never even seen. I know I have, through their blogs. I hope you will both on and beyond a screen.
Dear Lily June,
First let me say Happy Birthday, Miss Lily June and welcome to the next set of firsts of your life. I’d seen your Mother’s request to write you a letter a while ago and my first instinct was to slap fingers to a keyboard and write you all these wonderful inspiring things. But then fear got ahold of me. You see, your Mother is a wonderful writer, and I knew that anything I was to try to write would seem elementary next to her colorful recollections of your childhood. Then I realized that I could write to you about fear, certainly not as poetically as her but in my own version of it.
Fear is a human common denominator. It’s something that we should all relish that we can share together but it, sometimes, drives us apart from one another. My first bit of advice to you is to do things that you are afraid of. You will surprise yourself. Fear, in most of us, is in only the limitations that you set for yourself. Something tells me that with your Mother’s wisdom you’ll quickly learn just how brave you can be.
My next lesson is that you be better than those around you. Be kinder. Be more caring. Be the better person than you were yesterday. Peer pressure is something that you’ll be introduced to later in life because some things never change. Be stronger than those around you. Each and every life is a precious one, and you could be the smile on a beautiful face that turns someone’s bad day into a great day.
I read an article today that I’d like to share with you that encompasses both beauty and fear. People tend to fear what they don’t understand, things that don’t fit into a nice pretty decorated box. You will meet all kinds of different people through your life and some of them will be “normal” while some will be what’s consider abnormal. But it’s how you see all people that’s most important. We all carry scars whether inside or out that define us, make us different, but, to me, it’s the differences that make us all beautiful.
It’s easy, as a woman, to slap some lipstick or mascara on and be seen as someone who is outwardly beautiful, but it’s what’s inside that matters. Some of the most unattractive people in the world have graced fashion magazines. Who you are and how you treat people shows more depth and love than anything. You have an advantage already because you have two loving parents that will show you the way. As with everyone, both are not perfect but together they make the perfect teachers for your early years. You will get to be older and make mistakes and grow and become an amazing adult because of the love that those two people have shown you. Remember that perfection is never a thing to strive for but only growth.
So, in summation, what do I think a woman needs to know to be successful or happy? Love, acceptance and understanding of others. What’s the thing that’s given me the most joy and comfort? Friends who are like family. Love, giving and receiving. Lastly, appreciation. Learn to appreciate every little thing that makes you smile, Appreciate the bad things in life because they teach us. Appreciate your flaws because they’re what make you different. Appreciate your parents because not only did they give you life, but they love you with everything they have. Be fearless. Be brave. Be kind, and, in return, you will be a beautiful woman.
Your smile is infectious. Have a blessed day, little one. You’ll only have one first birthday.
- By asenat29 – https://www.flickr.com/photos/72153088@N08/6510934443, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org