Dear You.


Dear you,

What would you say in this moment if you weren’t afraid of anything?

Because I know that’s often why we refuse to speak… fear. 

For everything we don’t say, every sentence, thought, and song desperately trying to claw itself from within our heads and out into the world, there is the smallest bit of fear, holding it back. If you watch closely enough, you can see it, hiding in the hunched posture as we lean forward in anticipation of a response. You can hear it, lying in the breath withheld as we tense for the reaction. 

Some people are great at hiding this small bit of fear, concealing it through confidence and a great deal of apathy for the words of others.

But you and I are not those people. 

I can see you hold your breath when you smile. It’s like you’re putting on a brave face before you even know you need it. Because people like you and me aren’t just afraid of the words we speak…

We’re afraid of every thought in our heads. 

Somewhere in time, we convinced ourselves that we are destined to be alone. And we fixate on that thought, so afraid of the self-fulfilling prophecy, that we mold ourselves to anyone we can grasp close to us, because we’re ready for them to leave us behind in an instant. So instead of letting people love as we are, we meticulously arrange every piece of ourselves, silently editing the thoughts that we think and the words that we say, so they see something appealing. Something they want to keep around. Although you and I go about that differently. 

I choose to say nothing.  That way, there’s no risk involved. If you say nothing at all, you can’t say anything wrong. And people always seem content to have someone who’s just there to agree with them. Maybe I’m just filling the empty space, but hey, at least that space is mine.

You, on the other hand, choose everything you think, everything you’d never dare think, and everything in between- and you say it. A lot of times, you shouldn’t say anything at all, fake or real, because they don’t know you don’t mean to hurt them. But you realize that if you say everything, they’ll never know what you’re really thinking, who you are. And if they don’t know who you are, then they can never really hurt you. 

But you and I are used to being alone. We’ve lasted long enough this way. Mostly when we are held back from our own words, it’s a different kind of fear:

The fear of being wrong. 

I can always tell when know-it-alls are wrong. You can watch our faces fall, the short breaths, the fidgets. And I’d hate to be on the other side of out-smarting a know-it-all. Because in a single sentence you’ve undermined our entire identity, even if it feels like nothing to you. 

Our job is to know things. To understand things. And God forbid we’re wrong, ´cause if we’re wrong, then who the hell even are we? Living as a person who exists to be right, who distinguishes themselves from the others based on something as fleeting and changing as knowledge, means not knowing makes us just like everyone else. And we realize the only thing that makes us who we are isn’t ours, isn’t real.

And that’s terrifying. 

So to avoid being wrong, we don’t even try to be right. We lock away all our knowledge and passion, because ignorant bliss is better than the all encompassing black hole of not knowing who we are.

Instead, we always say we like to listen. And I think that’s the worst lie of all. People always seem to think that silence means we’re watching. And watching means we know things, that we’re wise somehow. It’s kind of funny to me, for them to think we know so much, when we keep quiet because we don’t even know who we are, much less about the intricacies and meanings of the world around us. 

And where does all this silence leave us? Sitting alone in courtyards and libraries. Running to the same spots in the same corners, back to the same friends who are content to ignore the people they think we are. Contorting into quiet girls with fake wisdom and arrogant boys with fake confidence; hiding who we are behind the archetypes we think we are supposed to be.

And maybe that’s worse somehow. Worse than any mistake we could make with our words or thoughts. 

So I ask you again… 

What would you say in this moment if you weren’t afraid of anything? Not of saying or doing the wrong thing, not of being alone. What if for once we could sing the songs, speak the words that float around in our heads when we aren’t selectively silencing them? What would you do if you could meet that person, that person who’s always wanted to say all those things?

Who would they be?

I want you to know. I want to know you.

So tell me. Tell me what you’d say.

Sincerely the girl who notices everything and yet nothing at all,



Read a creative writing response by Ariel Solomon here.