Open Letter to the People Who Saved Me

Thank you, Janice and Joanna for pushing me.

I put others before me, always. It’s how I’m programmed. But doing what others “think” is best for me, isn’t always best for me. When my programming needed rewiring, Janice, you told me, “Parents aren’t always right. It’s not selfish to disobey them and do what I want.” Joanna, you told me, “If something is making me unhappy and I can change it, then change it”. So I veered off that career path that made Daddy happy and me miserable. You two were more than colleagues, you became positive catalysts.

Thank you, Neha for caring.

You hired me as a nanny and gave me flexibility to write my novel. But, I was sinking six-feet deep in a red pool of shitty, caustic feelings. Remember when I cried in front of you? You listened. Remember, when I got pissed off, drove off, and demanded you fire me? You refused. Remember, when I became numb, showing little interest in your sweet kids? You called and asked what was going on. By end of 2015, I became a walking carcass from keeping too much in too long. I was sick of hurting. Sick of being between angry-teenage-me and depleted-young-adult-me. And then you cried and asked me to seek help. It shook me hard how much you cared.

Thank you, Min for fortifying my vessel.

Sorry for thinking your healing practice was a joke. Five elements (wood, fire, earth, metal and water) construct nature’s order and as humans, our well-being is a balance of these. I distinctly remember your first treatment. You needled below my chest. The bells clanged as I closed your door and descended the metal steps to my car. I thought, this hocus pocus isn’t going to fix jack shit. Hours later, I’m hysterically balling in Giant’s butter aisle. You replied to my panic texts. I felt defeated. Like a joke. A college-educated dumb-fuck. You told me, “I’m inches from uncovering diamonds but I won’t ever know if I stop digging.” For a year, you hardened my roots and strenthened my limbs with higher love.

Thank you, Manny, Amy, Lindsey, and Payal for making me courageous.

Anxiety used to hold me like grudge, promising to never let go. Outings terrified me. Thank you Manny for coming with me to my first MeetUp. Remember how I spun around and tried to go home? You, little brother, plopped your hands on my shoulders and made me socialize. You’re why I went to my next MeetUp alone. I parallel parked my blue hatchback and I entered the D.C. bar. The crowds, the noise, the dim lighting unnerved me. I almost left. Almost. The 30-minutes goal I set for myself quadrupled. You girls actually liked me. Actually talked and laughed and were interested in me. I was shocked. We hung out again. And again. Thank you for making me feel less alien. Because of you girls, I’ve released my inhibitions.

Thank you, R for giving me confidence.

That first time you approached me in boxing, I was in complete disbelief. A guy like you actually likes a girl like me? What! But I was not what you expected. I was insecure and scared with the amount of attention you gave me. I rarely texted. Didn’t meet your eye. You broke my heart in a million different ways the past nine months but, you helped me in a million more. You made me feel pretty in my skin and confident in my body. You never made fun of me. You lessened my physical insecurities. Christmas Eve, I had a burst of confidence and kissed a girl on the dancefloor. Old me never would’ve let myself get swept into a moment. But moments make life spectacular. Thank you for our moments together.

Thank you Josie, for being my anchor.

We’ve been besties since elementary. We’re dangerously alike and as I was transforming, you were right there with me. All our lives, we’ve always felt everything deeply. From the little side marks loved ones make to the hand-toss disregards. From the little pulses in our fingertips to the heat swelling in our heads. We take it all in and hold it in our hearts. Both our minds overthink and overanalyze everything. We both wanted to change. Remember last New Year’s how scared we were to go out? As I began my journey to transform, you listened to me. You never hung up the phone. You read my shitty and less shitty manuscripts. You cheered me and praised me. 2016, we both transformed. Love you times a million + 7 & 3.


Oh how far I’ve come, from crying in the grocery store to kissing her on the dancefloor. I’m stronger. Happier. Healthier. I’m good. So good. Thank you, each of you for building me up. It’s amazing to feel alive and sparkle. 2017 will be epic, too.

With love,

Zee

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