First Written: March 21, 2021

First Posted: October 17, 2021

Last Edited: October 17, 2021

Love Letter to the Aching Soul

I write this from a place of softness and glowing warm light, and I want you to know that I’ve also been in hard places, in cold and dark and sharp places, in inhuman places, where the sun doesn’t seem to even exist.

I write this now for all aching souls, all throughout time: You are beautiful and whole exactly where you are right now.

The dark, damp walls of stone that surround your heart - they are temporary. I don’t say this to demand that you rip open your chest as a final act of courage, that you take your own ribs in your hands and use them to beat and break down the stone walls, until the bricks crumble and you can see the sun, as some stories seem to suggest you must do to be called brave, and to get out of your prison, your own personal hell... Because where you are right now in your body, mind, and spirit is something only you can understand. It’s something you’ve created as a reaction to your experiences, as you’ve learned about being human, and as you’ve needed shelter from the winds of horror and pain. And so, you’ve built yourself this place. You’ve built yourself this place for a reason.

It’s cold and dark, and you probably feel scared and alone. I have a suggestion, softer than what many will say, different from what many might demand of you upon finding out that you’re in a personal prison, when they might say, “well then, just get out already!” Because if your reaction is at all like mine in these cases, then you’d just add another brick to your wall, wouldn’t you? You’d just add another lock to your door, wouldn’t you? You have the power. And it’s completely okay to lock yourself in safety right now, when the hurricanes of people telling you to “just snap out of it” make you feel like you might just snap in half and then dissolve into a dust of despair.

Here’s my say. This prison in which you’ve found yourself is simply a room within your palace of personhood. It’s completely your own. Keep the walls; keep the locks. They will go when you are ready. Don’t hurry; don’t rush. Use your bare hands to feel around the room until you find a dresser drawer. Open the drawer; pull out a candle and a match box. Light a flame, and watch the golden glow dance upon the walls of your space. Look into your drawer now; see how many candles are there waiting for you - all that you need. More than you’ll ever need. Feel yourself breathing a sigh of relief. There’s been opportunity for warmth in here all along, and it’s okay that you took a little while to find it. Now, find your bed in your room. Curl up beside the illuminating candle. Rest. Let yourself rest. You are beautiful and whole. Feel yourself breathe. You are in the right place at the right time.

Soon, you’ll be able to make out all the clues you’ve left for yourself. On the walls, in more drawers, behind paintings… footprints on the floor, sprigs of blooms tucked away in corners, gems underneath overturned cups… perhaps you might even find curtains, and perhaps in time you might feel ready to open them up, and to find a window, and to peer out and see the greens, the blues, and the yellows of the world. Don’t rush yourself. Honor yourself and your surroundings. This room is part of your library of life experience. You’ve encoded information into this space to help yourself recognize lessons and to eventually show you how to get out. Everything is going to be okay. You are already okay. And it’s okay to take your time to realize that.

~ Claire Frances Turner