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An Open Letter to the Woman I Was Last Year,

This time last year, you were excited for your 31st birthday and the possibility of what was to unfold. As always, you had no plans for the year. Just vibes. Tethered to nothing but ambition and the desire to be at peace, you were optimistic.

You were living in your cute apartment north of Houston—you hated Texas but loved your 900 square feet. You had just won the Tinder “Put Yourself Out There” campaign, where you got a smooth 10k for just being yourself on the internet.

You had no solid dating prospects but a man who showed his interest. You let him host you for your birthday and things went really well—until they didn’t.

Your birthday was quite eventful (details sure to follow in your book) and ended with you completely wasted and crying alone on a dimly-lit sidewalk in Dallas. One of your best friends pulled up as you sobbed in the dark, hugging your knees. Having your location—she rolled up and said, “Get in loser, we’re going shopping.”

When you sobered up the next day, she told you how you drunkenly sang, “Don’t walk awayyy boy,” by Jade and passed out in the back seat of the car after crying that you were Beyoncé. That song will never not be funny.

Because of what happened the night of your 31st birthday, you pedestaled Somebody’s Son and inadvertently deemed yourself unworthy of decent human interaction. Somewhere along the way, you determined that you were only worth the crumbs of attention and affection this man sprinkled. You made up in your mind that this man was anything more than mediocre simply because he paid you a little attention and then snatched it away.

The magic gust of wind that blew him into your DM's is the same magic you left on the side of the road when you deemed his opinion more important than your own. You will spend the year to follow emotionally exhausting yourself and the ears of your friends over what that man did or did not do. They will name him crumb-lip or toxic bae and call him immature for not being able to grow a full beard.

You will block him and unblock him and mute his IG stories. You will see him having watched yours. You will both want him to watch and also not. You will write poetry and blogs and hope that he reads them. He does not. The last time you were lying in bed naked together he says, “I should probably read some of your stuff, huh?”

What kind of man fucks with a writer for 10 months and doesn’t read her shit? You were reminded that you married and divorced a man like that too.

May this letter be a reminder to you that if the person you are dealing with makes you feel like you alone are not enough, make haste in making peace with letting it go. Letting them go. This is applicable platonically but especially romantically. If ever you find yourself contorting your body into uncomfortable positions for the sole benefit of another’s acceptance, sis run. Hell, run, jump, skip, fly to West Africa and spend four months in solitude. But go. Please.

Waste no time splaying yourself open, showing your best stuff and hoping, just hoping that a person will see you enough to choose you first. Spend no time wondering, and if you do wonder sis wonder about all the amazing things you are capable of that you haven’t even learned yet. My love, you are enough. And your enough-ness is not contingent upon the love of another. Whether they give it in mounds or sprinkles—their love cannot sustain you. Will never make you whole; it is not meant to.

Someone will look at you with stars in their eyes honey, and I’m not even talking about love. I am talking about comfort in just existing with other humans who remind you how you sparkle when reflected off of beautiful.

Sis, you’ll get out of your own way when you’re ready. I don’t know what it is that will make it click for you but at some point, this idea of a man you pedestaled will dissipate. He will regain his rightful throne of mediocrity where you found him.

You will move. You will sell all of your things and make peace with losing things you thought you’d have forever. You will hold on to specks of good hoping you can turn pebbles of affection into boulders of love and security. You will spin the block and keep spinning the block until you realize you deserve far more than ever having to wonder, to question.

You will come back home. Both to Los Angeles and to self.

May this letter serve any bad bitch who forgot who TF she was.

May this letter be a reminder to you to keep going, keep resting, keep starting over as many times as you need to be your best self, your most happy self, your most healed self.

The faster you let it go, the faster you can move onto sharing space with someone or someones that encourage the you to show up. The you, you are when you are dancing in your underwear, singing loudly and badly. Just existing in your home frequency. You are beautiful—and I’m not even talking aesthetic, bitch YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. And radiant and intelligent and you got that fire shit when using your brain…or giving some.

What feels good about right now, this moment. Is that there is a possibility.

The possibility of taking it slow and savoring each beautiful moment during pockets of peace and joy. Your phone is dry but, dry like you like your eggs not dry like destitute. You are not looking or pining, or insta-stalking or hoping or wishing for Somebody’s Son to notice you. To see you.

You see yourself.

You danced with a beautiful bearded man the other night—something straight from a rom-com bar scene. Your hips and arms swayed without a care in the world of how on or off beat you looked. He danced around you while groovy R&B filled the room. Your bodies did not touch but your auras did. You scream-sang lyrics back and forth to a man with some swag, a touch of BDE and a beautiful spirit. You did not depend on intoxication or rhythm to keep you moving, you simply existed outside of your anxiety for a moment. You let that moment stand-alone without skipping to the part in your mind where you’re in a white dress. You just let it be. Sis, keep just letting it be.

Try not to hold on too long to some shit that could be holding you back. Keep your feet on the ground. Your mind can stay in the clouds, in the stars but be rooted. Tethered. Planted. Bound. Attached to the idea that you and you alone are enough.

Now, go fuck some shit up. We're waiting.

Love Always,

Carmalita AF

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