header photo

Monday, March 14, 2011

Erika W

Dear Erika,

At seven years old, you are my favorite version of myself. Strong, fiercely independent, with a mind as stubborn as concrete, complete only with scabby knees. My very own superhero. You got the highest grade on math quizzes and ‘wowed’ parents at the science fair. At twenty-four, you’re a little different. Buzzed off of anti-depressants and spending most of your free time in bed, counting the days as they pass by.

Dearest girl, what happened?

Do you remember the day they took your daddy away? You hardly blinked.

“I’m strong” you assured your grandmother as she broke the news to you.

Never mind that your daddy had slit someone’s neck in the woods. His face would be plastered all over the news, “Colorado’s Most Wanted”. You would be labeled an orphan. You were tough, sweet girl, you could handle it. You went out to submerge yourself in the French language, in music, and in God. Quiet whispers of judgment all faded to be background noise.

At age ten, the voyage to California took another stab at your strength. You would be away from your little brother indefinitely, your rock. Two days in the back of a crowded Toyota Corolla, passing the Great Salt Lakes and pushing a hundred mpg, you make it to a run down, white-trash destination, where dreams had seemingly had come to die. Abandoned hope and trailer parks; this was your new reality.

You didn’t blink an eye, love. “I will be above this.”

Sixteen. Your first broken heart. Feeling even worse after coming home to your mother with a needle in her arm. You had just graduated high school, two years before scheduled. You were a diamond in the rough, showing so much promise, earning straight A’s your first semester of college. You soothed yourself with tears and apricot jam. You fell asleep in the shower. Do you remember?

“It will get better.”

Eight years later, in an apartment overlooking the San Francisco skyline, you’ve lost yourself. Drunk, alone and disheartened, you’ve fantasized about plunging into the ocean for far too many months now.

Your little brother is lost. Your grandparents are gone. Your sister has cancer. Your dad is still gone. Your mother is still stricken with addiction.

It is in this moment that I dare you to find your seven-year-old voice.

I AM strong.

I WILL be above this.

It will get better.

Take your life back, my love. It is waiting for you. Happiness hides behind the corner, slightly out of sight. Without depression, we will never know exhaltion. Call on friends, call on Jesus, but most importantly, call on yourself. The precious gift of life has always been yours for the taking.

Your favorite version of yourself has always been inside you. It’s waited to surprise you again and again. Re-bloom, rebirth and experience all that this life has to give you.

I love you always and I will never leave you,

Erika W.


Anonymous said...

This made me cry so hard. Wow. I feel like there is something very special about that 7-year-old voice inside many of us. When I feel disconnected with that part of me, that true side of myself, I will think of this letter and send you a silent thank you.

Dulcet Bella said...

WOW. I am speechless but amazed. You are a STRONG woman. Take pride in all of the greatness that you are!

Des said...

I know what it feels like on the father ip.. my dad was arrested on 9 news and it was something that scarred my childhood tremendously!! to get past that is the mark of a strong woman!! and I thank you for your strength as a fellow woman and survivor of childhood!!

Iman Woods Creative said...

Erika, I can't imagine going through what you have. You have described great pain with grace and love. I hope you see the grace and love inside yourself. It's beautiful.

Laurel said...

I have no words. Thank you for sharing such a painful part of your past along with the amazing person you are. Thank you

Amber Murphy said...

Erika you are one of the strongest, wisest, most inspiring people I know. Your brilliance will take you so far in this world! I love you and I miss you and I pray to God some day our paths will cross again!

Love love love you!!!!!

Paul Jessie and the Boys said...

wow. thank you for sharing that.

Post a Comment