Letter To Me: Annie Woods

Dear Annie,


When you were younger, a teen, you were obsessed with the boyband "Westlife, " they had this song you used to love, "Loneliness knows me by name," and in the middle of your first heartbreak you would lock yourself up in your room and sing your little heart out.

At age 16 you had just broken up with the love of your life, you know, the first of many, and it felt like the world was going to end. That's the lie of heartbreak, the myth of isolation, it makes you feel alone, and the pain seems unbearable.

You thought this was your first heartbreak; you wanted to believe this so bad because to admit to anything else would be even more painful, to acknowledge that your heart broke every morning when you were a baby, and your mom would leave you in daycare.

You were also heartbroken when your best friend from fourth grade moved, and you lost her, or when your best friend from middle school started telling everyone that she didn't really like you.

You knew heartbreak at age seven and beyond when you were asked to play an adult in the middle of your parents' violent marriage. You just wanted to be loved, but it seemed like no one had time for that... For you.

Your heart has cracked open, so many times it is easier to ignore it and pretend only romantic love has brought you to your knees, even if the pain is too real to ignore. Because no one likes heartbreak, but you learned to hate it with passion, you armored yourself against it and created the illusion of invincibility.

When you finally started doing the internal work required to living a healthy life, you told your best friend how much it hurt you not to be chosen by her sometimes, and she said: "I didn't know I had the power to hurt you." And that summed up the bulk of your emotional interactions by age 30. But by simply saying, "I'm hurt," You took your power back, and life, and you have never been the same.

Up until you sat down with yourself and admitted to your pain you had been tough; now you're brave. You chose anger over the hurt and paid the price of loneliness, and now here you are, heartbroken again, but feeling the size of your humanity.

Your heart is a broken vessel, and your bravery is light filtering through the cracks. Your pain had been waiting for you to listen, the lessons had been dormant and gaining strength, and I am so proud of you for paying attention, for choosing to sit with them.

Choice and the power to choose is at the heart of your story, my girl; you are choosing yourself when you once waited for others to choose you, for others to show you your worth. You learned that the real battle is not against your feelings but rather, FOR YOUR FEELINGS. You have learned to appreciate the art left behind by years of pain, the patterns your scars have woven through your crucial relationships, your mission to help others, and your passion for growth.

To quote Hamilton, "Pride is not the word I'm looking for... there is so much more inside me, now." I admire you so fucking much, and I am sorry it took me so long to meet you finally. I promise that even when I forget the lessons, I'll hold on to the feeling, I won't hide from pain anymore, but instead, use it as the teacher it was always meant to be.

You were not forged in the fire; you are THE FIRE.


And I love you,