on becoming

my childhood dream realized (I was a train girl)

August 1, 2021

Dear Ethan,

Sometimes I wake up, and a sentence is already written in my mind. Sometimes I etch words out, always on paper, and ideas trickle slowly, like the halting flow of a fountain pen. Other times I am in the world but not of the world, and I can see the ways the world is a stage and we are all characters. As of late, I’m not sure if I identify as a writer anymore, and I don’t know where that leaves me. 

There are a lot of things I can’t do well: cook, focus, play any sport, play any card game (go ahead and rule out anything competitive, really), DRIVE,  do my makeup well, resist a donut, brush my hair out, blow my hair out, chemistry, organize folders on my computer, load a dishwasher…let me not bore you with the details, but the things I cannot do are overwhelming, and further, they are things I am not interested in doing well. They have always shone brighter than the things I can do well. That being said, I’ve always found it surprising that I feel freer on paper than I do in-person—to imagine other worlds, to stand up for myself, to see something clearly, if only for an instant. Words are infinite. 

As of late, I’ve been trying to come to terms with what it means to be mediocre and not a writer. I’ve never had anything move me as much as words, especially those of others. I expected a lot from myself, and I’ll never feel that I’ve lived up to that person I saw in my mind’s eye whenever things got difficult or when I was plagued with self-doubt. For the first time, when I look at the long road ahead, I realize that I’m here. I’ve arrived at what was once a distant future, and I still don’t know myself fully. 

Right now, I’m pretty good at making a perfect egg, meaning no crispy edges for you Ethan. I still consume books as if they were going out of style. I love big and wide and deep, and I try my best to be kind to others. Perhaps that is the difference between the life you are waiting for and the one that you have—the other requires you to live and embrace your mediocre self who wishes to become someone extraordinary. Becoming is the hard part. 

Perhaps that is what I’m doing when I’m showing up. I’m writing about the ordinary in a way I hope will comfort you one day. These letters will be breezy, often tedious, and always at the core I will/do feel immense love for you and for my tiny dreams that I hope I don’t superimpose on your future. 

I hope that you are never a people-pleaser. 

I hope you are brave enough to become an artist, especially a poet. 

I hope you never sell out, especially for money. 

I hope that you live honestly if simply. 

I hope you are never ashamed of who you become, because every time that I see you, I marvel at the miracle that you exist.


 yours,
Mama 

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