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your light is getting brighter, I promise

May takes, June gives. -Eleanor Rector Dearest, Can you believe I've been writing to you for six months now (if you missed any, here's all the old letters)? I feel like I've lived a whole decade since I started writing these letters, the years swirling by in big gusts of wind, my branches swiftly reaching toward the sun, and one big bloom unfurling like a metamorphic sail. I'm a different person than I was when I wrote January's letter. Hell, I might even be a different person than I was when I wrote last month's letter. The year is only half over, but I've taken many forms since the beginning, many forms over this lifetime. I think this is the best version of myself yet. Writing to you has given me a greater sense of purpose. For that, I am grateful. I'm always thinking of how I can be better for you, how I can bring more light your way. (I hope you can feel it in every word I write to you.) I want you to be happy, yes, but more than that, I want you to be fully alive--whole, as my friend Wendy says. Even in the tough times you're going through, you should experience everything you can from life. It's worth living. It's worth sticking around for. There are gifts life gives you, if only you know how to accept them. Even in the dark, there are glimpses of sweetness and hope. These letters may be their only source right now, but there's more to come, I promise. Eventually the stars come out, and you will smell the jasmine on the breeze. The cold grass beneath your feet will hold you up while the moon bathes you in silver light. Your skin will feel new and luminous, sweet angel. Then you will know what it feels like to be reborn. In fact, you are being born as we speak. You are being born. And every day you wake up is another opportunity to continue being born. But I have to warn you. People think that coming out of the darkness is like flipping a light switch. That once it all clicks, you've chased the demons away for good. But when you finally pull yourself out of the darkness, even if it's with the help of friends, family, or professionals, you still have a long way to go, and the ground is wet and hard to walk on. You won't be alone, but there are choices you'll have to make for yourself. No one can make them for you. You must choose to keep fighting, even though you've escaped the deepest part of the dark. After pulling yourself up to stand, then comes the rest of the journey. Healing... the path to wholeness... these are much more like walking through a swamp. The swamp has its own law. The swamp will resist you, but you will keep moving forward and appreciate all the beauty contained within your hard-earned progress. The swamp will make you bring your own light. And bring it you will. You are a lantern, a warm, fierce fire, and I believe you won't give up. You may feel like your light is going out, but as long as you keep trying, it is getting brighter, I promise. I took a trip to the other coast a couple weeks ago and ended up at a place called Tigertail Beach. But to actually get to the beach, we had to walk through a murky lagoon. We had no idea how deep it was, but luckily we saw a family walking back through the water. They told us to bear left and we followed the path we saw them take. We couldn't see our destination through the mangroves, so it was very much like walking through a portal to another world. But we made it through to the other side and found a beautiful white beach filled with shells and happy families. We saw clouds on the horizon, watched the lightning and heard the thunder, but it was far off and we held each other close as the storm blew north. Even as the storm turned around toward us, we laughed and waited for the rain to wash us clean. My point is we set out into the unknown, and we kept our hearts open to the possibilities. Now I have a precious memory of a secret place with someone I truly care about. There are many gifts along the way, my dear. Grab them with everything you've got. No one else can do that for you. 6 months into these letters... 26 years into this life... this story is still at the beginning. So is yours. I've only just begun my journey in earnest (read how I broke out of the dark here), but already good things are happening. Warm lips, a mind to dive into, a pure heart, a firm and tender embrace. But more on that, hopefully, in the future. Love, bread, and antivenom, Lex P.S. I'm sending this just as I arrive in St. Augustine, Florida, for my annual vacation with my friends. We're staying in a cute little house a few blocks from the ocean. Last year we went to a sleepy beach town in Delaware, and the year before that we went to a beach in South Carolina. We're all beach city kids. We can't help it! St. Augustine is the oldest city in the United States. I've never been, but I've been told there's a stately, eerie energy to it and ghosts roam many of the streets and castles here. I'll try to post some pictures to my story so you can see. Maybe something strange will happen, and I'll get in touch with something beyond myself. I sure hope so.