Reaching a Quarter Of a Century: A Letter To Myself On Being Flexible + Forgiving With Time While Fighting Lyme Disease

The shore of the Oregon Coast with my Dad, Grandpa, and Grandma (a.k.a BobnSue)

The shore of the Oregon Coast with my Dad, Grandpa, and Grandma (a.k.a BobnSue)

When I close my eyes and let my body sink into the springs of the pull out couch, all I can hear is the distant cheer of games being played downstairs, the gentle hum of those already sleeping, and the crashing of waves just outside my window. Ever since I can remember, I've struggled to keep a smile on my face as the hours of my birthday go by. I have often told myself that this makes me a bad person. That my inability to be fully in the present during this 24 hour period, laughing, smiling, and loving all that it means to reach a new age, era, and time in my life, makes me selfish and ungrateful.

Not true, and if you too ever tell yourself that you are either of these two things, stop. Don't you dare think of yourself as a burden, being less than, or someone other than what you, or others, think you should be. 

Now that I think about it, it's been awhile since I've written here, or even on Instagram. It could be that the weight of turning 25 is weighing heavy on me, or that I am simply in a creative funk, but there is this nagging feeling telling me that something else is churning up my core. After all, I think I quite suit being in my mid twenties. And sure, my creativity flows come and go, but amidst the lulls, there is always room to share my voice. 

With my 'want' to get to the root of this, I think I'll head back to the coast, where the salty air latches onto your skin, and the wind whips your hair around so fiercely it stings your cheeks. To that pull out couch, the soothing sound of a happy family, and eventually the thoughts that whirled around in my anxious mind...


Dear Chloe, 

Bring yourself back here.  

Stop distancing yourself and covering up the parts of you that you feel ashamed of. That you see as baggage that no one but you should see, let alone carry. Don't you see, you have lied, ran away from, and carried this extra baggage for far too long. Yes, lightening the load means letting go of what you no longer need, and that can be scary, but more importantly, that is the key to moving on. That is the key to being present and living each day as is.

Time, it's a fickle thing, and if you let it, it can tug, pull, and eventually unravel your life, taking away all that it means to be you, here, in this moment with the people that love you just as much as you love them. So remember, these people, they're here because they love you. They are here not because they feel that they need to take care of you, but because they want too. They want you to lean on them, to laugh with them, to open up and be your awkward, wonderful, quiet, creative, empathic, and thoughtful self with them. There is no pity or doubt for they are not here to live there lives next to you, but here to live their lives with you. Why? because you're amazing. Because no matter how many times you slip up, run away, fall apart and breakdown, they believe in you until you are strong enough to once again believe in yourself.

So go ahead, believe that you are enough. Know that your strength is not measured in a matter of years, and exactly what you've done with those years, but rather, the way in which you've gone about living them. And not the kind of living that is measured in text books and diplomas, but connections, lessons learned, heartache, and the calm that comes after a storm. 

I dare you to tell yourself that you are successful. That you are beautiful. That you have gone places and are going to even more! I dare you to do this because I know how hard it is to see past the mistakes you've made and setbacks that have brought you down. I know how awful it feels to feel as if your beauty has been stripped from the inside out. I know how this disease eats away at your self confidence, and I know how hard you've worked to get to where you are now. 

Say it. Say that you are all of those things and more! You know it, your loved ones know it, we just need you to trust in yourself enough to believe it. To live it day in and day out, even when things go south, because chances are they will. They always do. But that's what makes you so amazing; no matter how difficult, you always pick yourself back up, while continuing to care for, encourage, and love those around you. 

There is nothing standing in your way. No number of years passed, relationships broken, lies told, or missed opportunities that can hold you back now. So please, with care and forgiveness, set down that extra baggage. There is no need for you to drag along those parts of you that in a way, no longer exist. After all, they have no voice. No power over whether or not you can accomplish what you wish too.

Because believe me, your mind is a beautiful place. A place that holds all the tools that you will ever need to love without fear, to open up to those around you, and to lean into the moments that scare you. That push you to be the best you can be. 

With that, I want you to close your eyes, loosen the grip around your knees, and rest easy knowing that the laughter you hear is real, that the support you feel is real...

That the love you give and receive is real, and quite honestly, the only thing that you need to carry with you in order to "make it." Whatever "make it" means to you.

Your Best Friend,

Chloe 

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