Your courage is the best part of you. I know you used to think it was your intellect, but girl, your intellect never saved anyone, including you.
No. It's the fire in your heart. The wolf in your soul. The bravery in your bones.
It was swimming the cove in the dark to get to the man who tried to drown himself. The horror you felt when you watched him walk into the cove like a zombie. But you barely hesitated. Off with your shoes and into the water.
It was stopping all of traffic on the mountain road to rescue the stumbling drunk. It was nightfall on the curviest part of the highway. But you saw her on the shoulder and you knew she might get hit if you didn't help. Dead stop with your flashers on was a risk worth taking.
It was charging out into the bus yard to put yourself between a woman and the man beating her. Everyone else thought it was funny; an entertainment. You knew better. You took the blow straight on the cheekbone and gave it back better.
You are a lion.
Now, my girl, it's time to use that courage for yourself. You have so much ahead and you're going to need every ounce of it. No fear.
Be brave. Be bold. Be you.
Oh, how I love your sense of whimsy.
The way you joined that couple trying to catch falling leaves by the carousel. The time you brought your rented flute to the cemetery to play for your great-grandmother. When you stopped to blow bubbles in the dark in that quiet little Illinois town.
You're taken with fanciful notions & you see them through. That's magical.
So keep convincing the kids' face painter at a party to give you a glittery paint job on your arm. Keep waving around a pair of tacos on the miniature train while reciting dialog from Willy Wonka as you go through the spooky tunnel. And keep pretending to scream lyrics so other drivers wonder what hard shit you're listening to when it's really the gentlest music imaginable.
You are weird & wonderful. It's an attraction.
You're just settling into the pain of knowing you've never been loved. That despite all your partners and your marriage, no one has ever cherished you.
My love, that doesn't mean that you don't deserve it. It just means that it hasn't happened yet.
You've been through so many hells. Dark places most people don't go. It's no surprise that you ended up seeking approval through sex; that you did things that society tells you should shame you.
Don't be ashamed. You were driven by pain.
You are not your past. You are Present Morgan. You're a woman who knows she deserves the sun & the moon & the stars on a chain. Focus ahead.
Your soulmate is out there. They will hold you. Comfort you. Make love to you. Learn every freckle. Trace every scar. They'll share all the beautiful experiences you've never had before.
And they'll love the wonder that comes into your eyes. The words that fall from your lips.
The Universe is full of love & intention.
"Comics aren't for girls."
That's what Eric told you.
He was offering his collection to your twin brother instead. Eric was headed to UCLA and considered himself too adult to hang onto this comics. So your brother got to paw through the boxes and choose books. You watched & felt a pang in your heart.
"Comics aren't for girls."
Eric was wrong. Comics are for everyone.
It took discovering Wynonna Earp - and in turn, Beau Smith - for you to learn that. Morgan, I'm so glad you did. Comics have changed you as much as anything has. The courage, wit & love in comics has helped amplify your own.
Oh, and the art! There's so much incredible art to love. Fantastic lines & bold colors to thrill you & draw you in further.
I know sometimes you still feel out of place in a comic shop. Don't. You have as much right as anyone to be there. Your age doesn't matter. What you're wearing doesn't matter. Being a woman doesn't matter. You walk in with your head up & you get the comics you crave.
Comics are for everyone - including you.
It started as a lark. A way to break the ice. A bag of sugar-free candies tucked into your courier satchel as you made your rounds to pick up records.
But soon everyone at the hospital began to expect it of you. "Hey, Candy Lady!" the shuttle drivers would greet you. Long-term patients smiled & waited for their share.
And you learned that a piece of candy could open any door. Melt any heart. Soothe any pain. Jesus, the pain you witnessed. Not in the children, but in the parents & grandparents. The kids were brave as hell; it was the adults whose eyes spoke of sorrow & possibilities they'd rather not face.
Pediatrics was always the hardest stop for you.
Remember the day you picked up the first record for that little girl? You knew her story from the news. You knew she had no one to care for her, and it tugged at you harder than anything.
"Stellaluna." That's what you read to her on your breaks. You weren't even sure she could hear you, but in case she could, you wanted her to hear something beautiful.
And the day you came when you found the slot on her door empty. As empty as her bed.
God, how that broke you down. You let yourself outside and collapsed under the eucalyptus tree. You couldn't cry, but you could mourn. Oh, how you mourned for her, lost little girl. How could you ever have thought you couldn't love others, the way you ached for her?
She's the real reason you left. The hole she made in you. But you, Candy Lady, are still strong as hell. Your loving heart isn't a weakness.
Music has saved you so many times. As a child, it was Raffi. You'd sing about baby belugas, and the octopus' garden, and you'd let it carry you away from all the horror you endured. That concert where you heard him play - and he let you sit on his lap for a picture - was the first time you met an adult that didn't hurt you or consider you a bother. He seemed genuinely delighted to see you. You never forgot that.
When you grew older, it was alternative rock. The harder beats & painful lyrics spoke to where you were. Then your history studies guided you to a love of Celtic music and sea shanteys. Your mental jukebox expanded.
Today you'll listen to anything that strikes your fancy, anytime. A jump from Justin Bieber to Niamh Parsons is nothing unusual. There's so much music shaming - one isn't supposed to admit an enjoyment of Nickelback - but that doesn't stop you. Girl, that's fantastic.
As you wrote this, you listened to Raffi, Týr, Christina Perri, Candlebox, Owl City, Motopony, and Planxty. What a weird & wonderful mix.
Never lose your love of the music. Let it keep saving you any time you need it to.
You deserve it.
Those still early mornings when you remember life in the mountains ... I know you feel restless, but my love, it's only your soul recalling you to wonder.
How you treasured your morning ritual. Up at 4 am, into the shower, and out into the dark with your hair still wet. 3 miles down the winding, empty two-lane highway.
You were so enchanted by it all. The scent of the trees. The sound of the night creatures. The rustle of coyotes ghosting through the brush. You liked to think they were as amused by you as you were by them.
Stars winked out. The sky lightened as you walked. And the world belonged only to the daring.
Always treasure that time. Your joy in the morning sets you apart.
I love your wanderlust, you fearless thing.
God, how crazy you were. That moment you stood up in the middle of English 101 to the astonishment of your classmates. When the professor asked what you were doing and you hitched up your backpack and said, "Going to see the country." Their faces!
I know you've doubted dropping out of college - and all that it cost you - but baby girl, it wasn't a mistake. You've lived a life few get to. You've seen things most people only dream of.
You always blamed it on Steinbeck, but Morgan, wandering is in your blood. You come from equally fearless forebears, a bold mix of freedom seekers.
So you built a life that could move on a whim. North Carolina? Sure. Arizona? Done. Maryland? Bring it on. The Greyhound bus was your sailing ship and though you didn't have the wheel, you were still the captain.
Your thrill at prairie storms and starlit roads ... your delight in meeting people from across America ... these are some of the best parts of you.
You were still so young, just 18, the night you shed your inhibition with your clothes and leapt onto the wall. You'd had a long night and went to the heights to meditate, as you often did in the late hours. 2 am on a Sunday and the world was asleep.
Except for you.
Lights shimmered on the valley floor all the way to the mountains. The moon shone brightly. And a light rain began to fall.
I still love the way you laughed as you shucked off your jeans and raced across the road to the wall. Your dauntless courage as you jumped onto the stones. The way you danced and spun atop them, face upturned, hands curled to capture the raindrops and Luna's power.
May you always be a creature of wonder.
Your peace & irreverence in cemeteries is so charming. Remember the time you spent Christmas Eve at Mark Twain's grave?
There you sat, your back up against his monument, holding forth about writing & wars & black humor with a man who'd long gone to dust. And when darkness fell, you began to recite your poetry to him, the words spilling out like a song in the night.
You memorized the words at the base of his monument like a prayer: "Death is the starlit strip between the companionship of yesterday and the reunion of tomorrow."
You're not sure about life after death, but it comforts you all the same. There's charm in that, too.
Never lose your ease among the bones of the dead. It makes you magical.