A Letter to My Angels

Adam Jang | Tel Aviva-Yafo

August 8, 2018

Dear Angels,

I heard you talking amongst yourselves, hoping I’d choose to write to you. Well of course, here I am. I won’t say this letter is overdue,  but it does feel timely and in some deep way necessary. Mostly I want to say thank you and make sure you know that my #blessed and #grateful are not masks. I couldn’t conceal the truth from you if I wanted to  and I don’t want to, so we’re all good there.

What I do know is that blessed and grateful are not fixed states; they do not cure migraines or make the sky rain cash money. But they are a solid place to stand and a soft place to land, and in writing my 11s tonight, I realized that so much of this life feels like a profound privilege. The fact of this would be and is enough, but moments like this one when I am aware of that privilege in such a quiet, felt way are especially special.

You really are always there when I need you. It’s not that I don’t always need you, but there have been long stretches in the past year or so of functioning to some degree on autopilot and in “go” mode. I think late spring and early summer — somewhere in that turn of season — the degree of cumulative exhaustion verging on burnout became clear.

I hesitate with my language as I don’t want to be melodramatic. The bitchy voice of my inner critic says, “For fuck’s sake, it’s not like you’re living on the front lines of oppression, woman.” Factually, she’s right. But these last several years brought me to the far edges of my inner reserves of strength, stamina, faith, and resilience in very real ways.

I remember crying to you — literally sobbing in the car and all the way up Mount Sugarloaf on a fall day. Was that two years ago or three now? Oh, the miracle of years blurring, or having enough distance and perspective that it no longer matters if that was 2015 or 2016. I was so tired, so wrung out and wrought, so lonely and scared. And in that state it was tempting to look over my shoulder at a long-gone past or ahead into the great unknown with the ultimate fear: What if things don’t get better?”

It took everything I had to keep going, to stay present, to keep loving but without abandoning myself. I did not do any of this perfectly, but I did do it — with your constant help.

And when I cried out in June or July and said I am desperate for a break, a chance to slow down and tend to my own overlooked heart, you were there — just as you are there every day from dawn to dusk and even through the night while we sleep.

So yes, I am writing to say thank you. I like that we keep being in this together and I’m especially appreciating the chance to reconnect with some neglected parts of myself this month, parts I really love and enjoy, parts that have become dulled or squeezed out these past few years by hustling so hard and connecting almost exclusively through screens.

I am not forsaking technology or social media by any means, but I am noting my unwillingness to sacrifice myself on those altars. And I am going to need you as close as ever as fall comes, seasons change again, the kids both enter new schools and stages, and Mani continues to heal and get her life back.

Stay close, angels. I feel you. I love you. And I’m here. Let me be a vessel.

Yours,

Jena

p.s. Can you help with the headaches? Oh, and thank you for sending some really exciting and unexpected work opportunities my way this month! You rock my world.

* * *

Dear Reader: Have you checked out my Patreon page. For as little as $3/month, you can support both the Community Writers’ Fund for lower-income writers AND my work on a Fierce Encouragement BOOK. Come check out the tiers for joining this membership community and the awesome benefits you’ll receive, including weekly writing prompts, writing group discounts, coaching sessions, and more. Feel free to contact me with questions. I’d LOVE to share this new space with you. xo Jena

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