a love letter to me, you, and everyone

Dear you,

Yes, you. Eyes in front of the screen, chasing my words-- you. But me dear me too, because sometimes this letter will only ever be something I need to stabilize the ocean that my head sometimes becomes when my focus turns inward instead of onward.

Today you have air in your lungs. You have hands to touch things. You have ears to hear things and to listen to others. You have a heart that can love and bend and break and fold and ache. You have everything in the universe trapped down in your rib cage waiting for your permission to come out. You know how to do this thing called laughing, and you can sing and you can cry. And today, right now, in this infinity, you share this great round ball suspended in the vacuum of space with seven billion other human beings.

A few days ago, I had something I call a gray day. You've probably had one-- and if you're between the ages of 12 and 25 you've had a freaking lot of these by mere self infliction. It's okay to admit it, I am. It's the type of morning where you wake up feeling slightly lower than sea level, with a weight in your heart or your gut (or both) and suddenly all of those things and places and people-- all those coveted nouns that you either lost or don't possess flood into your mind and start their endless loop through your cogitative. All the things you don't have, all the things you want to do but haven't done yet, all the things you wish you were doing but aren't. Round and round we go, until we are miserable and making those around us conform to our state of malady.

The other day I believe I uttered the sentence (on more than one occasion) "you don't understand what I'm going through".

Do you mind if we pause right there for just a second? Because I'm really feeling like you should know a little about me in order to understand what will and should inevitably follow.

I'm nineteen years old. I am healthy. I can get out of bed every morning.
I can walk.
I can feel.
I can speak and hear and see.

I live in a house.
With a roof. With heat.
And with running water.

I have clean water to drink-- on a daily, dependable basis.
I have access to sustainable, healthy food on a daily basis.

I have parents and siblings and friends who love me and whom I can love and touch and embrace.

I am able to create.
I am able to speak,
and bring about change.
I live in a place where equality is respected,
where I can work, and make things and live in a state that is free from acute oppression.

That is who I am, and that is my state of existence. And it is on that basis that I refer to my quote above, my bold, arrogant statement on other's ignorance of "what I am going through", and answer myself with total shame.

But we all have gray days, ups and downs, spells of feeling sorry of ourselves, some people might encourage. Like it's just part of growing up or being human.

But in actuality? We're covering up an infected wound.
And in order to understand why we need to understand the aforementioned seven billion.

783 million of those 7 billion don't have access to clean drinking water.
2.5 billion of those 7 billion do not have access to adequate sanitation.
Approximately 30 million of these 7 billion are living in slavery.
About 21,000 of these 7 billion die of hunger or hunger-related causes. Every day.

...I don't "go through" anything.

I mean, seriously. I freaking don't. I've abused the crap out of that word, and I've bent it to suite my needs. I've used it when I shouldn't have. I'd used it when things don't do my way, I've used it when I'm stressed to the max over paper work and people and pressures and meetings and presentations and feelings and relationships. And for it I am deeply ashamed. Not just because there are papers and search engines with statistics, but because I know something beyond those stats.

Because my family and I sponsor two amazing young ladies in Africa, from Swaziland and Ethiopia. Through our back-and-forth correspondence letters, I never glean anything less then beauty and hope and gratitude and inspiration-- yes they live in poverty, yes they live in areas effected by HIV/AIDS and malaria, but the way they see the world is nothing less than inspirational. Their words are like artwork. They are artists and athletes and they have dreams and hopes and ambitions and never- NEVER, in spite of their often bleak circumstances, have they uttered the words "what I go through". They could utter those words-- no one would blame them. If anyone has a right to say it, they do. But they never have.

Getting letters from them is like getting a poem from the world where things are real. Like "wake, up because this planet is beautiful and you're living on it". It doesn't have to do with the nouns. Reality reaches far beyond the mental garages in which we store all the things we think are important. Reality is like the one sitting in the back of the class wondering when we're going to let go of all that because our engines burn on passion and creativity and love and not all the crap we think is us. The papers with our names on them and the ids that someone just like us made up in their heads only slightly earlier.

Dear you, and me, and the girls we sponsor,
never stop waking me up. Because I freaking need you.

I know a dear young lady who is currently overseas in Thailand on a mission trip, working in the red light districts in Bangkok. I had the privilege this summer to listen to her message about ending sex slavery in Thailand and her hope for a brighter future for the prostitutes she helps out of brothels.

In Thailand there are more brothels than schools.

There are ore than 20,000 Thai women prostituting themselves daily.

70% of Thailand's income is made by the sex industry.

In fact, Parents are selling their sons and their daughters to brothels today for as little as 12 dollars, to serve 10 to 12 "customers" every day.

These are kids I'm talking about. Teenagers like me, who have ideas and hopes and dreams. Writers and painters and runners and photographers and soda-drinkers and social  butterflies and introverts. Kids who listen to music and hang out with their friends and watch TV and play video games. Teenagers with lives and families and mad rushes of creativity.

Kids who don't want to have sex in order to stay alive.

Kids who want names and not just numbers-- kids who want to touch and feel without the fear of what ulterior motives lie beyond an embrace.

Kids who, despite the living hell they've endured and the horror they've had to close their eyes and swallow, still find ways to smile. They still laugh. They still find ways to create and express the creativity and love they once knew so well. Before a yawning hell, with hearts in shreds they still cry and wonder what went wrong. They still search for love and words and kindness and exit signs that might possibly lead to something better.

Dear me,
you don't "go through" anything.

God, there are so many stories and so many people and faces and busted hearts we could go through and talk about, but I'm afraid my words would stretch on from here to infinity.

So I guess we should talk about us, right? Because yes, there's a lot of suck going on but sometimes we forget. Sometimes our eyes forget their place and try, though vainly, to see themselves and we loose track of the fact that life isn't a rat race and that rejection isn't the end of the world-- sometimes we forget this vital, deep-seated stuff that somehow flies under the radar.

Sometimes we deal with stuff that's entirely messed up.
Sometimes we make wrong guesses or turns--
sometimes we fall,
we get bruised and we hurt.
Sometimes things cut so deep we bleed out the pain and feel as if we're drowning in the ocean that it rapidly becomes.

Sometimes we feel like "healing" is a word somehow alien to our race-- that it might happen to them, but never to us--

that we're not worth it,
that we don't have it,
that we are hopeless
and powerless
and ugly
and stupid
and busted.

Down, kicked, crying.

Deeply contaminated with a virus that says we aren't and we can't. We are the tears we cry and the sobs we pronounce.

Like, this deep, darkness seems to come out of us at these times, doesn't it? The universe and it's air-tight, frozen vacuum feels somehow stuck down inside of us, planning out a supernova to billow out a black hole and swallow us whole from the inside out. We allow an outward disease to go internal and we invite the virus inside just because we feel like eating ourselves hurts less somehow, than pushing it further away for examination.

Sometimes we wake up to this. Despite the world crying and dying and fading around us, sometimes our focus is going to fall inward and not onward, and sometimes we're going to fall and hurt and cry. Whether it's necessary or not.

Some days you're gonna wake up feeling like crap, and you're not going to be thinking philosophically like you are now. So when those days come, and when the hallucinations arrive and the pain swells up and threatens to tidal wave, come back here-- to this place where you are whole and beautiful.  Even if you have to drag yourself, because I don't care how much pain you're in-- I'm not going to let you give up. You look yourself in the mirror even if you have to watch yourself cry and you say:

I am going to make it

And you stand there, and you say that until you believe it-- I don't care if you have to stand there all day. Because we are not our falls or our pain. We do not become the tears we shed or the sobs that manage to escape our lungs. We are not who they say we are.

We're not weak and broken. Just because we're down doesn't mean we don't know how to get back up-- we know how to get back up.

We will get back up.

We have so much to be grateful for and so much to look forward to. To let the things that exist outside of us and around us fall inward and become who we are is to underestimate ourselves and our Father who formed us before the foundations of the earth. Because he has a story to tell about us and it has nothing to do with who we think we are or how much we identify with the falls and the breaks.

This story is a new, fresh retelling of who we really, truly are and what that means. And how that story of one effects the stories of the seven billion. It's a story about how our story isn't a story by itself or of itself but that it is only ever a story with and for and because of another story. One that includes all of us. A story from which ours branches and blooms, along with everyone else's-- each connected. Each existence because of the one and each having infinite amounts to do with the other. We are not our own and therefore we cannot behave as if we are our own possessions.

So dear me, you and everyone-- dear eyes on the screen, still reading,

the only way I know how to get back up is to stop looking in and start looking out and reaching out, and realizing that there is so much more going on than we initially realized. That we are beautiful, powerful and whole and that this doesn't just exist inside of us to stay there-- it's not an quiet in-dweller, but something aching to be let out to takeover.

Whoever you are, wherever you are, I love you. You're amazing. You're revolutionary.
You're not alone.

A Story In Progress


  1. Okay stoppp. This is beautiful. It's very much needed and I'm glad I read it and I will read it again. I actually can't fathom how you wrote this. Wow. More people need to read this and I need to stop being flabbergasted.

    Anna x

    1. Aww, thank you so much Anna. Your words mean a lot to me! I am so glad that you got something out of this letter. God bless you

  2. I love this kate its so tearjerkingly true.

  3. "I don't go through anything" - that is a huge, hard truth that applies to too many who think otherwise. Thank you for taking the time to write this, it had a positive impact on my day.

    1. I am so glad that it had a positive impact on your day. It helped me a lot to write it. Thanks so much for your kind words!

  4. This is so inspiring and eye-opening. Every single word has a meaning and reading this has really affected me, in the best way possible. Your writing is beautiful.

    1. Aww thank you so much, Ryan! That means a lot to me :)


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