A dear friend and fellow author invited her readers to join her this February for a self-love fest. She inquired, “Have you ever written yourself a love letter, addressed to you, as you are?”
No. No, I haven’t. What would that feel like?
Last night, as I was lying in bed planning today, I thought, “I am going to do it. I am going to write a love letter to myself.”
It sounded so simple last night as I was nodding to the world around me and slipping into dreamland. But this morning I wonder, “How should I address myself?” Should I start out with “Dear Valarie,” the name most people use when they refer to me? Perhaps I would use the name my father wanted to give me, “Dear AnaValarie,” or the name on my birth certificate, Valarie Jane. Maybe I should simply use “Ana,” which at least one friend uses. I could address myself as AV, which is the pseudonym I use as a fiction writer, but then it occurred to me, “How can I write a love letter to someone whose name I don’t even know?”
So, I started listening to self-talk. This is a mistake. I assure you. Forget the self-talk. It will not get you near enough to love to pen a letter, especially when you are two days into foregoing coffee due to the multiple requests of body and spirit screaming “Enough.”
I am left with nowhere to go except to the computer for research, something every writer spends hours doing. I looked up my various names. The name Valarie, spelled multiple ways including the way I spell it, has a couple of meanings: In French it means STRENGTH, in Latin it means BRAVE.
A writer with the handle Nisse mjukr offered a definition in The Urban Dictionary on February 4, 2010. This writer defines Valarie as: Brave. Strong heart. Heroine of the people; She who walks with steadfast surety. (She is) the female form of eternal innocence battling eternal evil…born from a seemingly ‘other-worldliness’ who takes to battle the evil ones who recognize and fear her powerful seeing of the good and the evil in others…
…strong heart, steadfast surety, innocence, ‘other-worldliness….” Hmmm. Is that who I am? This writer goes on to say that: Valarie is one who refuses to be victimized and confronts injustice…she uses her gifts to protect others who are unknowingly, or deny being, the victims of lies and injustice. Others less hardy will avoid her with the fear of being targeted by the corruption that she takes to battle, but when in dire need will seek her wisdom, and guidance as she lovingly gathers them under her protective wings. She carries great strength and inner beauty even as she mourns the human/earth condition. Valarie will lead us to the truth.
Oh! Well, in that case, maybe I do deserve a love letter. I wonder, what does Ana mean?
In Spanish it means gracious and merciful. It has a similar meaning in Chinese. In the Urban Dictionary one writer, who uses the pen name Lifey, wrote on April 14, 2015:
Ana is very caring. She is always there for you and you can trust her…she is also very funny. She has a childish style that will cheer you. Ana is sensitive and (a) very beautiful girl. She is always full of joy and ready for a new day.
Full of joy, ready for a new day, that’s true. Lastly, I looked up Jane, a name from my mother’s heart. In Hebrew, it means, “God is merciful,” or “God is gracious.” Gracious and merciful. Didn’t I just read that following the name Ana? It seems my parents were on the same mental wavelength, pulling ideas of who I was from different cultures, using different names for it. What is grace? What is mercy? Do I embody either of those attributes?
I decided to use the name I have always favored the name my father wanted to give me. The letter goes like this:
Your teaching style was certainly a reflection of your name. You defied convention and did for each student what she or he needed, holding their precious images up to a mirror so they could see how lovely, competent, and brave they were and how much you valued them. They grew to understand and trust themselves, and when you let them out from under your wings, they flew straight and true.
You treated your own children like equal creators in life, which they certainly have become, admiring, guiding, and cherishing them each moment as they grew under your care. You will cherish any grandchildren that grace your life and feel a deep kinship with them as well.
You bravely took roads less traveled with choices taken as a teen, as a young adult, becoming a single mother, an alternative education teacher, following your dreams of becoming a vocal soloist, a graphic artist, a writer. You provided for your family as both male and female. It took guts to buy a house, wrangle ownership of cars, figure out the ins and outs of doing it all on your own. You appreciated help when offered. That took bravery. I love that you are brave. You lived up to your name.
I love that your primary focus is peace, an attitude reflective of grace and mercy. You are compassionate and seek connections with and between others. You find those connections when sometimes others do not see them for themselves.
Now, we bring in a new way of being, one that favors the path you have always walked. Here is your chance. When you write, sing, or draw, your words, songs, and images will be true to your needs as well as to those who receive them. I appreciate this ability so much.
I appreciate how easily amused you are. This is something not reflected in your lofty name, but you are silly. Life amuses you. I love that.
I love you. I love being here, a participant in this journey. Let’s live a long time. There is much yet to give, and I know you want to do that. I will make space for you to shine because in doing so, we all shine.
Thank you, dear AnaValarie for being here on Earth. You mean the world to me.
How do I feel now? I feel empowered. I feel renewed strength. I am ready to move forward.
I invite you to write a love letter to yourself, especially right now at the start of this month. There is a lot we have all been through with world conflict, the pandemic, and personal tragedies. I will hold a space for you and your love letter to self. I love you, even if I don’t know you. I know you are there, struggling in this world. We are the same in that, as is everyone. That makes you brave and strong no matter what your name means. My name gives me the power to see that in you, so please accept my gift, Brave One.
If you wish to share your experiences of this love-thyself-month, or be a member of my newsletter, please contact me at:
firstname.lastname@example.org or you can leave a comment at the end of this blog.
You can catch my friend’s blog at: https://www.hereiswhereiam.com/blog
May you find moments of Peace, wherever you are,