Voice Notes to My Younger Self

Mar 1, 2024 | 2024 Spring - Letters to Myself

By  Lila Hertelius


The sun has just set, and the full moon is rising. You know, it’s funny. The moon is often associated with the night—in literature, in conversation, in metaphorical allusions—and what a lot of people often might not think about is that the moon is out in the daytime, too! We just don’t see it as easily, because there’s less contrast between the sky and the moon. And people also may not be looking for the moon in the daytime or expecting it to be visible. It’s kind of like bisexuality in that way. People tend to only notice it when it looks noticeably different from societal norms. And so they might think that’s all bisexuality is. But bisexuality is so many things! And it exists whether anyone recognizes it or not, and whether anyone is expecting it to be present or not. So if you ever come out to someone and they say they had no idea because you don’t look not-straight, just remember that many people may often forget that the moon is not only out at night.


It’s already noon, and the waxing half-moon is only just now rising. Some people might think that means it’s late to the game; but actually, the waxing half-moon routinely rises around noon. You may not have heard it yet, but there’s this term “late bloomer.” It tends to get a bad rap, because there’s this idea that you should have yourself all figured out by a certain age. And what I want to say is: one, that sounds boring—we can keep discovering ourselves for as long as we live—and two, it takes each person the time that it takes them to understand each thing they come to understand about themselves—and there doesn’t need to be shame in that. And just because you’ve understood yourself to be bisexual doesn’t mean that’s all there is to know about you. It also doesn’t mean you have to fit yourself into some preconceived idea of what it means to be bisexual just because that label reflects certain aspects of who you feel yourself to be. You get to decide who you are—and you get to do that on your own timeline.


I’m up late—it’s almost midnight—and the waning half-moon is about to rise. A lot of people might not get to see it much unless they’re up in the wee hours of the morning and they happen to be outside. It makes me think about how, just because you might feel glimmers of something in yourself in rare and precious moments—maybe something you’re not used to thinking of as part of yourself—that doesn’t mean what’s glimmering is tiny or insignificant. Maybe it just hasn’t had the time or attention or love it needs to feel safe enough to reveal itself to you more fully. I mean, that’s not to say that I think you should stay up late every night. But maybe the reason it’s been so hard for you to put yourself to bed is because there’s something calling to you in that quieter, less seen time of the night. And maybe you need to listen to that. And maybe you don’t need to keep it sequestered to the night. Maybe you can let it out in the daytime, too. Maybe you can dare to let yourself connect with it, and feel it, when you’re out walking in the world, with people around. Maybe you don’t need to keep those moments of connection with that something-in-yourself only for when you’re hidden away from the world. Maybe you can find pockets of safety and comfort in broad daylight, with others who are on a similar journey.


I know you can’t see it, but the new moon is rising with the sun right now. And what I want to say is: labels are for others. What matters most is knowing who you are—what you like, what you want, what you need, and what you will and won’t accept. And if you also find a label that makes you do a happy dance when you call yourself by it, even just when you’re looking in the mirror, that’s great, too. And if not, you still exist—just like the new moon exists even if we can’t see where it ends and the sky begins. And just like the new moon, your self-concept can renew itself whenever your self-understanding shifts. And whether or not anyone says that means a previous self-concept was a phase, keep in mind that life itself is a phase—and enjoy it while it’s here, and do what you can to make sure it’s long, healthy, and happy, for yourself and for others. And also remember that the moon has phases—and nobody bats an eye at that.

Lila is a neurodivegent, bilingual (English and French), queer, multidisciplinary artist and writer who practices neurodiversity coaching with Neurodiverging Coaching: neurodiverging.com/about-neurodiverging. Some of her passions are chronobiology (including menstrual cycle syncing), cats and cat behavior, process optimization, and systems thinking.

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