[i]For you who realize that you have been living to be someone you are not For you who don’t know what you want For you who aim to please[/i]

Dear Mona,

It was a winter dawn, and you were loved. You were born a perfect, little, baby Chinese-American girl. Chubby, 9 lbs. You were quick to guzzle milk like a champion.

You did your best. You were nicknamed: Guai Guai. Obedient.

You began to listen to everyone around you.

You were happy to listen, to serve, to make people happy.

But listening to others, you never listened to yourself.

You lost your way, somehow.

You tried to be who you thought you were supposed to be.

You were polite.

You followed the rules.

You stayed quiet.

You smiled.

You didn’t eat too much, because then they would call you fat.

You didn’t yawn when you wanted to, because that wouldn’t be polite.

You abstained from bathroom breaks, as to not inconvenience the people around you.

You worked hard to be the best at everything, because if you weren’t, you lost it all.

You had to be better than everyone

You had to play by the rules

You had to be seen as good, pleasant, smart.

Because who else would you be?

You didn’t know

How to breathe

How to be

How to move

as who you were born to be

You didn’t know who you wanted to be

You became like everyone else

And inside, your soul become quiet

You went under

The shoulds echoing around in your mind

Then, one day,

your body said no

You hit rock bottom in a way that you still don’t understand

You’re not sure if anyone will understand, or be interested in that story, until it drags them under, too

You finally listened

You lost your mind

You found your heart

Your body took over

You danced at midnight

When your eyes closed, you saw light

and you saw darkness

You saw life and death

You still think it sounds crazy

You judge yourself for it

Maybe you were crazy. Maybe you weren’t. Maybe you were just trying to survive.

Now, things are starting to make sense

Maybe there’s no good or bad

Maybe there’s no perfect to uphold

But you’re struggling to understand the complexity of it all

Without rules

Without beliefs

Who are you?

What do you want?

Who do you want to be?

In this moment?

When you’ve never recognized what you want to do

That what you want is valid?

And is exactly what you need to be doing?

You never had strong desires, you say

You could make do, anywhere, you say

But what if you

had infinite freedom

what if you could be whoever you wanted to be?

Where would you be?

Would you be here, standing, sitting, exactly where you are?

Hold on to that hope.

That belief in yourself.

You know what you’re doing.

You’re fine.

Everything’s going to be okay.