At the end of a hard semester, I decided to write a love letter to myself, inspired by the letter my friend Rose wrote on Thinking Gender. I'm thankful I have it along for the ride this semester--this letter is something I can look back at when I need a reminder of these things. Writing this letter didn't solve all of my problems, but it was an important step for me to take anyway. Think about writing your own! Remember that self-love isn't something that just happens, it's an intentional process. We have to treat ourselves with kindness and appreciation, the same way we treat the other loved ones in our lives.
I have come to the realization that the only person I can count on fully, without reservations of any kind, is you. You have been strong through hard moments and joyful in light moments and present for all of the average moments that make up a life and I am so grateful for you. The longest relationship of my life is going to be with you. I haven’t always given you the love you deserve, but I’m going to strive to be better from here on out.
These are some of the things that I love about you.
You see beauty in everything and everyone. Your empathy is truly one of your most wonderful qualities. You connect with people---you understand them. That’s one of the reasons you have so many friends who trust you to tell you about their problems and what they’re going through and how they’re feeling. You give such great advice. You’re a wonderful listener. So many people love you and count on you. There’s so much you would do for the people you love.
You’re an incredible artist. You’re so talented. You have an eye for directing, I think you could direct theater or movies if you really wanted to. You understand how to make things come together. You understand how to tell stories. You’re a writer, and a reader. You devour words, you savor them. You admire the way sentences flow into each other. You have such appreciation for quotes, you write them on sticky notes that cover your room. I love those little reminders of beautiful words.
You are beautiful! You are so beautiful.
I know that the last year has not treated you kindly. And somehow, you handled the year with grace. You allowed yourself to be vulnerable with your friends. You let people help you! I’m so proud of you for that. You decided to live as you have always encouraged others to live. I know you still struggle with this, but asking for help does not make you weak. Relying on those you love does not make you weak. These are the very things that make you strong.
Sonali, you are so kind. You have such a big heart, and forgiveness comes to you so easily. I think sometimes you get hurt because people expect you to forgive them. I know that’s not easy, for your kindness to be met by those who take advantage of it. And still, somehow, you continue to forgive and you continue to be kind. You imagine people as the best possible versions of themselves.
You love the ocean. Being by the water brings you a brilliant kind of calm and clarity. You love the feeling of sun on your skin. You love tea and hummus and your dog and warm blankets. You love your parents. You call them as much as you can, so they know about the details of your life, to ask for advice, because you just want to hear their voices. You know how important those relationships are, and you cherish them.
You stand up for other people. You put yourself in harm’s way in order to help people however you can. You throw the word love around casually. That’s wonderful. You have so much love to give, there’s no reason to hold it back.
I have not always treated you well.I have pushed you too hard, almost without reason. Still, I know that there is only one person worthy of getting so lost in, one person willing to help me become the best version of myself, one person that feels all I feel. That person is you. I love you. I don’t say that enough, I don’t think that enough. But I love you. I love you very very much. I love everything about you listed above and so many more things that I haven’t discovered yet and more than all of this I love every version of you that you have been and every version of you that you are going to be. I promise that I will do my very best to love you every day. To treat you the way you deserve. To give you what you need. I love you Sonali. Don’t doubt that, even if I forget to tell you sometimes.
all my love,