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To All The Girls I've Loved Before

Updated: Jun 4

Ah, hindsight. That crystalline surface in which everything is so clearly reflected. But a mirror is just a piece of glass until the coating is placed on the back. Without the reflective coating of experience, hindsight cannot provide its notorious clarity. It's not so much the looking back, but the place and perception one looks back from, that gives hindsight its 20-20 reputation.

It's all too common to look back on the past versions of oneself with judgement. Why did I do this, why didn't I do that? How could I not have seen, why didn't I recognize? If only I had chosen differently. But this judgement is a trickster, a funhouse mirror of sorts. To look back in judgement is to rely on the reflective medium of hindsight--experience. From the place of knowing what is now known, using the glaze of experience to sharpen focus, judgement comes much too easily. But those earlier versions weren't working with the same knowledge. Younger, smaller, less experienced, these past selves were doing the best they could with what was available to them at that time. This truth is often clouded by the very clarity for which hindsight is so well known.

The woman that I am today is transforming so rapidly. She's shedding skins and reshaping the very bones of her being with a force and magnitude that would make a werewolf shudder. In her rearview, the ways that her past is shaping her present and preparing her for the future have never been more clear. I can see every flawed and fated choice made by past versions of me, framed in hindsight's often cruel clarity. Yet I am thankful to find myself avoiding the funhouse, transforming while holding tight to my understanding that it is only through my current level of experience that I am able to make my current choices. In this moment, as I am propelled forward with rocket speed, I'd like to send love back through my personal line, to honor each and every woman I have been before.

To the girl who knew she was weird, and even knew she liked that about herself, but had absolutely no idea what to do with that: look at you now. Your innate connection with being different and your natural ability to ask "why" have made you into the ultimate world breaker. Cultural mores, institutional beliefs, and inherent biases shine like glow sticks in your visual field. You can easily see the machinations of Oz where others see only a curtain, and you excel at showing others how the voice behind the screen is keeping them from their magic. You go, weirdo. You were made for this.

To the child, the teen, and the young woman who felt awkward and out of place in their physical bodies: I can't tell you why we had to go through that. But I can tell you that it ends. I can assure you with 100% certainty that your body will become a source of joy and pleasure, a central feature in your recreation, and a celebrated temple for your soul. You will love moving it, dressing it, and decorating it in all manner of ways. You will experience moments of profound grace, power, and sensuality delivered directly through your physical form. You will continually surprise yourself with what is possible in this body, and delight in each new discovery. Perhaps most surprisingly, you will learn that your body is a conduit for deep knowledge, a walking antenna tuned to a wisdom beyond your own. Your body, which seemed wholly and imperfectly physical to you, will transcend the corporeal and become a divining rod for your faith. Just wait; you're going to love this.

To the young woman who was afraid of risk: I'm so fucking proud of you. When the future you (that's the present me, for the record) teaches people how to get uncomfortable, and why it's essential that they master this skill, you're not teaching from any book or course. You're speaking your own deep truth, turning your transformation into a manual for personal alchemy that everyone can read. And this life chapter? Could you have even imagined this for yourself? Of course not. The level of risk here is so high, it is exceeded only by your faith, the belief that was fired in the crucible of your discomfort. The path between you and me was long, arduous, and utterly voluntary. You never had to take the first step. But you did. And that makes possible everything that's unfolding in this moment. I'm not just proud of you; I'm grateful to you. Thanks for being the dream seed, long before we had the dream.

To the fixer in me: we can do better. We will do better. I bow to your heart. I honor your healer's soul. Your desire to mend the hurts in the world is true and right. Here's what I know that you didn't--this starts as an inside job. All of those wounded humans you chose? That deep ache you felt when you saw them, the irresistible urge to fix them with your love? That feeling wasn't for them; it was for you. Your healing love, my healing love, is for me first. Only after I have given something to myself is it safe for me to offer it to another. Any hurt in this world that calls to me is calling from within me, and in my own healing I will find what is needed to broadcast the curative frequency outward. The time has come to stop seeking wounded souls. That was a misapplication of your gift. You didn't come here to fix others. Rather, your work is to show others, through your own example, how they can engage in deep self-repair. When you turn that healing light inward, when you go first, the souls that are ready will follow. Trust me when I tell you this is going to work so much better, for everyone involved.

To the woman who believed she needed to be palatable: you have always been so. And you'll find so much peace when you realize that you don't need to choose who you want to have around you. The perfect people will self-select when you move through this world precisely as you are. We're already in Rumi's field, out beyond base judgements of right and wrong, good and bad. The person you were then, she had people. The woman you are today, she's got people, too. And every woman we are to become will have her fans, friends, and family, as well. The secret to finding these people isn't in looking for them, it's in being who you are in the moment and allowing them to see you. The more fully you can release any artifice, the more completely you can display the unique wonder that is you, the more acceptable you will seem to the people who are perfect for you.

To the woman who failed to stand her ground: I offer you my deepest sympathy. This is a wound we have carried for many lifetimes. It's healing now. Our inner Shield Maiden has been released from her bonds and we're learning when and how to employ the sword and shield. It's not your fault we didn't learn this sooner. Everything takes time, this no less than any other thing. You won't always freeze when threatened. You won't always offer yourself willingly for sacrifice. You will learn to guard what is yours to protect. But for the wounds you suffer before the lesson is complete, I am sorry. Release your guilt, knowing that I love you fully, through every moment you weren't able to protect us. We didn't pick up this burden, but we are living the lifetime where it is laid down. In this very moment we are evolving beyond the inability for self-defense. Stay with me; the future looks so very different than the past.

To all the girls I've been before, to every version of me who filled the footprints that have led me here: I see you. I appreciate you. I honor you. I thank you. On the altar of your sacrifices, I lay down our fear and shame, to be purified by the light of our faith. On the foundation of your experiences, I arrange our knowing in the pattern of our future. On the graves of all you've lost, I leave the budding blossoms of all that is yet to come. Each of you was perfect in her time, and I love you all so very much.

Photo credits (in order of appearance): Cara Beth Buie, Damien Santos, Daniel Novykov

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