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Dear Jess...

Dear Jess,

I have entered a mystical and wonderful time writing machine in order to reach you exactly 10 years ago. I know things are still incredibly confusing, and you are only beginning to settle into the Truth that is, “it’s ok to not be ok.” In your avoidance of this truth, you came very close to losing not just your name, your sovereignty, but your literal life. It is ok to hurt so deeply when he died. It was not ok to blame yourself. He was unreachable, but you still have a chance to reach yourself.

These people in the hospital are trying to help you, I realize some of their methods are bizarre, but this is a place to lean into the “being not ok.” It’s what this place is for. You are lucky to be here and not in the dark places you were before the ambulance came. That night is not who you are, it is just one night when you faced extreme darkness. I can let you know that you will never face trauma like that again. You will heal. Slow is the way, and those who love you will guide you there.

You are seeking healing of the soul, and you will find it. It will come through the brilliance of leading your inner child out of the darkness inside you that you are too scared to face. Your dad will assist you, I know this surprises you to hear. His dementia will build a bridge between you, where he can help you and you can reach him. You will hold hands often. You will help him bear his pain the way he is helping you right now. His last year will be the most beautiful time of your journey. Enjoy every second. Even the hard ones and remind him too: it is ok to not be ok. He will need to hear it over and over.

I must be closing this time loop soon, before I do, one final urge. All the love you give to others, all day long and also in your songs, put a bright mirror on it and send it to yourself. It is truly the glue that will hold your soul to your body and your ligaments to their bones. When in doubt, circle around a fire with badass women. I love you so hard, from age 44, where life is very lovely. Some days are not ok, but there is peace within those days that you have worked hard to achieve--be so thankful you did. The universe is conspiring on your behalf.

All my deepest love,

Smiley (your new name)


Jess' Letter to Myself is part of our "It's OK to not be OK" campaign to recognize September as National Suicide Awareness month. If you or someone you know is struggling, visit for 24/7 chat support or call 800-273-8255.

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