Age 4, from I Am Yours

Age 4, taken around the time I invented an imaginary best friend. I named her, “Love”.

Love appeared one night as I was falling asleep. That night I was awake when I felt something move by the window. There on the sill was Love. Watching.

She said, "I am here. I love you. I am yours."

So began our friendship. She had arrived to deliver comfort, wisdom, protection in the deep, inky, quiet stillness of night.

The years passed. I grew up. Love stayed with me. With every new wound, through the assaults, stalking, rape, miscarriages, marriage, divorce, disownment, more, she repeated, "I am here. I love you. I am yours."

Through my 20s and until recently, to support my art I worked with young kids. Every now and then, I'd meet a child who had invented for themselves an imaginary best friend. With those kids, I’ve leaned in and listened a bit deeper, more carefully than usual. To make sure I’m not missing any story they’re trying to share.

We humans, so much of our truth lives in the nook hidden between the lines. The subtext. The symbolism. The memories we carry, the pain we internalize, the signals our souls try so desperately to communicate. The invisible friends, fears, and hopes we hold most dear.

To navigate the sharp shards of life, we each seek something or someone to believe in. A beloved presence who remains loyal when loyalty seems like the rarest, most precious, most difficult resource to receive from others. This presence may be your inner voice, God, a benevolent ancestor, deceased relative, fictional reader, wishful audience, or your older, braver, future self. The presence you may believe in may be art, grace, faith, human kindness, or justice. Something made of light, a witness listening, standing guard near the window in the deep, inky, quiet stillness of night.

The name of what we believe in doesn’t matter. What matters is we can call upon it. This name and presence are validation that you exist, you matter, you embody a larger narrative and therefore deserve to keep going, page after page. The name and presence helps teach us gratitude, forgiveness, and peace. The name and presence are evidence that we are protected even in our pain, we are heard amidst the chaos, we are capable and resilient in all our unfinished, evolving precariousness.

Mine, her name is Love.

I am here. I love you. I am yours.

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