Letter To Myself

Mar 1, 2024 | 2024 Spring - Letters to Myself

By strega claire manning

dear you,

right now you are too familiar with the lavender carpet in your bedroom closet—what once was your sister’s space, now yours—as you plug your ears to the sound of your parents fighting. right now, your world exists exclusively in theirs—a small bubble of tension and regret. but know that in a few short years, your life will expand. just like your lungs when you breathe in the lemon-scented lysol after scrubbing down your first apartment. you will stand on top of torc mountain as ireland blooms beneath you, an expanse of lush green and deep blues.

for years you searched for spaces that felt like home, dissociating at family dinners, and asking yourself if you were adopted. it wasn’t until you learned that your great aunt in new mexico was queer,—despite only meeting her a few times, that you felt like something in you made sense. to this day, you wear her turquoise ring on your finger, slightly tarnished and a reminder that you belong wherever you go. 

you will get your heart broken a few times, but most memorably in college, after falling in love with your best friend and resenting yourself for feeling like a cliché. you will play tegan and sara’s “boyfriend” on repeat way too many times. she’ll read your journal, and things will never feel the same between you again. you’ll lose her, the cigarette habit, and the budding alcoholism. you’ll gain, years later, a husband just as bi as you. he will wear a full-purple suit at your wedding, and you will both insist the dj play lady gaga during the reception. instead of waking up every day with regret, you’ll wake up in his embrace of who you are entirely. 

and you’ll find that getting married doesn’t make you immune to rejection. your grandmother will tell you that your freshly dyed red hair doesn’t look good, your mother will hate your shoulder tattoo, and a friend will insist that you don’t look gay. but you will love your hair, wear tank tops to show off your chrysanthemum, and feel pride that, for once, your insides match your outsides. you will make your coffee on a quiet monday morning in the office, amazed at how normal life finally feels. 

for all the days spent inside of that closet, gasping for air and clutching your wrists, you will make your happiness out of your own two hands. this joy will be molded from the pain of the past, and the resilience of the person who knew that there would be something better ahead.

i loved you then, and i love you now.


strega claire manning is a poet based in baltimore, maryland. she loves spending time with her cats and her partner, taking walks, and overthinking. find her on substack: stingingsentences.substack.com.

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