Dear One,

You will probably not believe this right now (and that's okay), but you are going to love yourself. Like, actually LOVE yourself. Not just SAY that you love yourself.  One day, you will start hovering beside yourself and watching with awe, saying, "Wow, this girl! Look at her! She is so interesting and strong and brave."

It will take work to get to this point. It will be hard.  Really hard. Some days you will wonder whether there is any point, whether there is anything on life's horizon beyond the misery and pain you presently find yourself in. At these times, the bathroom floor will be your friend. She will soothe you with her white-tiled coolness. When you are feeling small and alone, she will welcome you as her sleeping companion. She will hold your tears. Do not be afraid to melt into her when the short trip from bathroom to bedroom is too heavy a burden to bear on those particularly hopeless-feeling nights.

You will fail. You will fall. You will lose people. Relationships will slip through your fingers like water. Your heart will break. Again and again and again. You will wonder, often, if anyone is real and if anything is true.

You are brave.
You are fierce.
You have fire in your eyes.
A spark in your soul that does not back down.
Or give up.

And this is so beautiful.

And here is what you will learn: you have to go through this.
You have to go through ALL of this.

You have to make hard decisions. You have to lose things you do not think you can bear to lose. And in the aftermath, you will have to walk right into the pain and grief that follows. You will have to let all of it have its way with you. Let it wreck you; let it fill your bones with ache and your blood with fire. It will hurt like hell, but you will not die.

And then one day, all the hurt and grief will rise in a swirling smoke from your body. It will evaporate from your being and be gone. And as you gasp for breath, you will realize that you are still ALIVE and that you have been REFINED. You were made for this process. Enduring your pain will be your POWER. This is the path of the warrior. And you are a warrior. So, be brave, dear one, because none of this is going to be easy.

Your first Arkitekt word is behold. You don't know why, and you really never did figure it out the whole year that you carefully carried it around why you were carrying this particular word. That's okay. Right now, just BE. And HOLD onto the rest.

The word won't make sense until it has come and gone.  In the future, you will reflect on this:

that in your BE-ing, you were HELD.

Because now, the word is: BEHELD (past tense). And that is exactly what you needed. To be held. By your self. By your Arkitekt sisters. By the infinite universe. You will be held in ways you never knew you could be. You will break over and over again. You will gather up the pieces of yourself.  And your sisters will gather up pieces alongside you.  Together, you will hold them up to the light. And together, you will wonder:

What new thing shall we create with these shimmering shards?

In all of this, remember, too, that you don't have to be a fire for every mountain blocking you. You could be water and soft river your way to freedom, too. These words are from Nayyirah Waheed. You will soon find her poetry.  And her words will give you life.

You will also find sisterhood like you never knew to be possible. You will behold their beauty. (There's "behold" again).  You will help these women gather their own shimmering shards. You will forge CONNECTION.  You will be a source of change and life. You will be unstoppable because you said YES to the invitation and because you refuse to believe that this world is fixed, static, and small. You stubbornly believe that it is expansive, new, and ever-unfolding. This is also your POWER and your LIGHT. You will find that all choices are really as simple as this:

Does this thing bring LIFE?

Keep going, love. There is more life on the other side of this. I know it doesn't feel that way right now. The darkness feels eternally present, but know that it is only for a short while. And that it is so necessary. You have to go through this.

I love you, girl.
Keeping seeking, keep moving, keep hoping.

You are going to be okay.