letter #015 | dear younger me: let it ache.

let it ache.

Letter #015

July 29, 2023

dear younger me,

Can I be honest? Sometimes it’s really difficult for me to show up in public or online. Even in interacting with those closest to me, I often find myself holding on to the idea that if what I have to offer others isn’t teeming with hope and meaning and positivity, then I need to go sit back down until it is again.

But that’s not real life though.

Sometimes shit just sucks and you can’t quite pinpoint why.

The emotions we experience exist on a spectrum and it’s the contrast of our varying emotions that gives them depth.

For example, the more you love someone, the more deeply you grieve their absence.

The more you get to know your own sadness and insecurities, the more joy and confidence you can experience once the tables turn. And in my experience, they’ve always ended up turning again.

But if you try to raise the floor of how low you can feel, you invariably lower the ceiling on the joy and peace you can experience, too.

in today's letter:

  • why it's okay to have unhappy emotions
  • the best way out is always through
  • letting your actions serve as love letters to your future self
  • reflecting on the blessing of moments of ease
  • the ✨ glimmer gallery ✨

how much of your pain is self-chosen?

This season of my life could be summed up in a Robert Frost quote: "the best way out is always through."

One thing I loved about my best friend Mitsu was bearing witness to the childlike wonder, excitement, and fascination he had for things that resonated with him. His joy was so palpable.

I remember when he first discovered the poem, On Pain, by Kahlil Gibran.

There were two lines he was really fond of:

  1. Much of your pain is self-chosen.
  2. Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.

These two lines, especially the last one, have stayed close with me over these last few weeks.

For the first time in my adult life, I am learning to navigate heartbreak and sadness in a healthy way.

I've observed that not only is it difficult, it’s viscerally painful. My chest aches some days. On others, I’ll have a deep cry out of nowhere. And on other days still, there is no physical response, just this deep ‘longing for’.

Since I first started dating in college, anytime something didn’t work out with a potential partner, I’d pretty much just move on to someone else (would not recommend this by the way).

This is my first time trying to navigate a breakup in a healthy way. And the first time in years that I'm not endlessly bingeing on fast food and sugar until I’m too stuffed to think.
Instead, I'm now learning to cope through healthier avenues: by writing, by lifting weights, running, reading, walking, praying, cooking, cleaning, and by being in community with others.

Though I’ve always heard people say that “breakups suck,” it’s still come as a surprise to me just how painful this is.

It’s also weird because it’s almost like, I don’t even know this side of myself.

I’ve been aware of it and for years, have moved through life feeling like there was this quiet, underlying sadness I carried with me that I just couldn’t shake.

I could feel joy. I could feel excitement. I could smile and be kind to others.

But when evening fell, and I would no longer have people around to mitigate my sadness, well…it wouldn’t be so quiet anymore.

I realized this in college, but for years, I tried my best to just avoid dealing with these type of feelings (also something on my unrecommended list).

I moved quickly from relationship to relationship, intentionally never stopping long enough to tend to the feelings of sadness and unworthiness that these endings would often fill me with… Rarely would I stop to even turn these feelings over in my hand, to acknowledge that they were even there.

I’d just run.

I’d numb the pain by entering new relationships that I knew were not healthy or promising from early on, and would stay in them because that still felt safer and more familiar than dealing with the uncharted territory of being alone.

Today, I’m healing the strained relationship I’d developed with food, stress, and sadness. For a few years, I would numb with that, too, eating until I physically couldn’t anymore.

It’s taken years to undo some of the damage that that's caused, as it’s affected my health and well-being in multiple ways...

But things are getting better on that front, too, and for that, I’m grateful.

creating love letters to my future self.

What I’ve been learning about numbing, now that I’m being more conscious not to do it, is that ultimately, it makes me feel worse because now I have the shitty feelings from the vice I used and the shitty feelings I started with!

A few healthy practices I've picked up throughout this year have taught me the importance of acting from intention, and not just from what I feel or don't feel like doing in the moment.

And in doing so, I've learned that I can use my present actions to serve as love letters to my future self.

Earlier this week, I woke up at 3:33 one morning with a compelling urge to write. I thought it was weird but I pulled out my iPad and started writing.

The first three words of my entry were: Let it ache.

Throughout the week, these words have served as a reminder to me that it's okay and even necessary to acknowledge and feel my lower emotions, too. It won't make them last forever.

I ended that entry with the realization that: “The relief that's accompanied these painful emotions has come with the realization that: Oh. I can hurt. I can feel sorrow. But I know if I practice leaning into these emotions and actually sitting with and unpacking them, that over time, my life will be better because of it.”

with hardship comes [moments of] ease.

Sometimes I find myself holding my breath in a sense, waiting for the day when things get easier.

I don’t think it works *quite* like that, but maybe similarly:

I think bad/hard/difficult/shitty days are just part of the journey.

We can’t control everything that happens to us, and sometimes, it seems like God/the Universe/life is picking on us when things don’t seem to be happening in our favor, time and time again.

But I invite you to consider two things:

1) Why do we question God when we experience something negative, but not when we experience something good?

2) If life were totally predictable and we could always control what happened next and what others did, would it be as enjoyable?

Perhaps, even though life as a whole may not just magically get easier one day, we do get to experience moments of ease regardless.

Flickers of confidence.

Minutes of positive connection. Gratitude. Love. Feeling safe.

Hours of a good night’s sleep.

Is that not enough?

i’ll tell you what freedom is to me: no fear. -nina simone

Last month, I started a near-daily Bible study practice and it’s actually been kind of life-changing in this short time.

One thing I’ve found interesting is that the phrases, ‘Do not fear’ and ‘Do not be afraid’ are the most repeated instructions throughout the whole book.

As someone who spent many years being afraid of various things, I really appreciate how the words and music I’ve been consuming lately have been teaching me how to place my patience, hope, and faith in what I can’t see and trust that things will work out for my good in the end.

As hard as these last few weeks and months have felt sometimes, what’s different now is the sense of peace I have in knowing that things, and I, will ultimately be okay again.

The knowledge that I can do and overcome hard things is actually pretty life-changing.

I've repeated the phrase "I can do hard things" many times over the last few months to carry myself through hard exercises at the gym, but slowly, I've started to really believe it, too.

Even in hard times now, I know I can overcome. That's powerful.

The cool thing about perspective is that we get to control it.

We also get to control what we focus on.

And what we focus on grows.

I’m finally understanding that MLK Jr. quote that reads: “You don’t have to see the whole staircase; just take the first step.”

I’m choosing to center faith throughout this process.

And focus my attention on:

  • All I do have
  • Putting one foot in front of the other.

Each day, just taking baby steps.

It’ll all work out in the end.

✨ the glimmer gallery. ✨

I really liked putting this together in my last letter, even though a good portion of my pictures didn't upload because they were live photos and not stills. 🙃

But anyway, here's this week's glimmer gallery:

everything is gonna be just fine.

I noticed the "everything is gonna be just fine" pics from the last letter didn't show up! Sorry about that. Here they are for real this time:

In difficult seasons of my life, that phrase has given me hope and I really looked forward to seeing it in Sophia Roe's stories.

Thanks so much for reading, Reader. I hope you have a beautiful weekend. 🫂

Have any thoughts about this letter? Did anything resonate with you?

Just reply to this email to let me know. It makes my day to hear from you and I respond to every message.

Dear Reader,

Thank you for being here. I appreciate you and I'll see you soon. :] Hope your next week is grrreat! 🐯

With love,

Amahni E. Yarber


PO Box 814, Chino Hills, CA 91709
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