Jodi Lewchuk lives and writes in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Her deeply personal storytelling and self-portraits explore the vulnerability, and bravery, of the human heart.

Letters to Lovers: The Self {6/6}

Letters to Lovers: The Self {6/6}

—Series inspired by Mary-Louise Parker's captivating Dear Mr. You

Darling Girl,

Well. That was an experience, wasn't it? It all started innocently enough. Inspired by a book of letters one woman wrote to men who have shaped the trajectory of her life, you thought you'd narrow the focus and write to men you've loved as a way to map the topography of your heart. Except you ended up reentering and reliving some of the most beautiful, devastating, euphoric, and defining moments of your existence. It's been a revelatory and exhausting two weeks.

And as you wrote your way through this history of love and loss and gratitude and lessons, a question surfaced, didn't it? It's been there for a long time, haunting your heart. It was impossible not to hear it so very clearly and turn it over and over in your hands as you told each of these stories. It's okay. Ask it out loud. I'll ask it with you, if that'll make it easier: "Why?" . .

You want to know why, don't you? Of course you do. There's no reason why you shouldn't. And it's okay to put the gratitude aside for a moment and get angry. Just for a bit. You don't have to dwell in it, but go ahead — rage. For this paragraph only. I'll hold your purse. Because why, indeed? Why is it never you? Chosen, fought for, kept, and adored. It's never, ever you. Go ahead, shout it. WHY? 

There. Feel better? Good, because I need to remind you here that you have made choices contributing to that Why?, and the choices we make in love can often tell us interesting things at a subconscious level about what we think we're worth. But you know all of this and have dug so deeply into yourself that there's no need for more pop-psych analysis here.

No, what I really want you to know is this: You're an extraordinary woman. Do you know that? Really know it? You have a voracious mind and an indomitable spirit, and your throbbing heart combines being fierce and tender with such utter beauty. The list of your talents and interests is eclectic and long, and I think you'd surprise even yourself if you took the time to write them all down. You are funny and generous and thoughtful and kind. You also kick ass and take names when called for. And honey, when you walk down the street you turn heads. For just once in your life, would you please own the fact that you are stunning. But then don't forget how to be humble and a little shy because gracious confidence is so much more palatable than arrogant confidence. The point here is that you are a presence unlike any other, and so don't ever think for even a second think the answer to "Why?" is because you're not enough. You are. You always have been. You always will be. 

So put the question of "Why" aside and look at this another way. You can see it, can't you, as you go back and read each of these letters? How each of these men, one by one, has gone in deeper and opened you wider? And now, here you stand, the most open and receptive and ready you've ever been to have someone see all of you, recognize every passion that drives you, and want to walk beside you and experience the world with you. 

And I want to promise you that it is out there somewhere. Love. The kind of love you seek. But we both know I can't do that. Nothing in this life is guaranteed to us, and love is no exception. You might find it. You might not. But the only way it has any chance of making its way to you is if you keep that heart of yours open. 

Oh, I know. Sometimes it seems like it would be so much easier to snap it shut and feel nothing at all. Because what's the point of it ending up in pieces yet again? But if you look back on these posts you can see the progression, the process of becoming, the evolution. The potential gets bigger every time for being with someone who matches you in a way that will let you be the most vibrant version of yourself. So promise me that no matter what, you will continue to walk through the world with your heart wide open. Even when it hurts. Perhaps especially when it hurts. Having felt the pain will let you savour love whenever it touches you with such a profound sense of wonder and remind you never to take it for granted. 

Most of all, keep hope alive. And believe. Believe with every fibre you're made from. Because everyone deserves to be loved deeply, fiercely, and so very well. You do, too. Do you hear me?

You do, too.

Courage, my love.



Letters to Lovers: The Hunter {5/6}

Letters to Lovers: The Hunter {5/6}