Letter from a Friend

Letter Written By Christian J. Ashliman

To the person you are, right at this moment,

What is your current state of mind? How can you be sure? Under the pressures of school, homework, the job you probably have, a relationship, family, a child, friends, your relationship with yourself; how can you be sure of your current state of mind? Will you be sure of it tomorrow afternoon? What about next Thursday? Were you sure of it five minutes ago, or are you still thinking about it? When you finally decide that you are sure, will you really be sure? One emotion jumps into the next, bouncing back and forth helplessly; when that happens, as it inevitably will, how sure will you be then? What does it mean to be sure at all, to know—to really know?

Well if you are looking here, than I am sorry to tell you, I haven’t a clue. To inquire in the first place is to have a state of mind; one which is fueled by curiosity, or wonder. One that doesn’t roll around all the time, so it’s best to make use when I can. Maybe it is because I have just finished an interesting read, something that always prompts another thought. And by ‘something’ I mean ‘anything’, of course. Ew, I hate that; starting a sentence with a conjunction. But why do I hate that? There it goes again. It’s schoolhouse rock, those childish rhymes that have never, ever, been forgotten.

Is a state of mind an overarching theme of your thoughts? Like what genre would be to literature, for example. Or is it just the thoughts, feelings, emotions, and reality that I am experiencing right now at this moment? A ‘state’ makes it sound all official, as if it meant business or was bigger than it seems. Maybe it’s more of a motivation question, asking what items or ideas are motivating me most right now, to push through all the daily stuff. It feels like it’s a condition, or span of existence; dictated by what kind of attitude or mood I want to decide to have. Under pretexts like those, I would ‘state’ that I am feeling anticipatory, ready to take a leap, only it’s not quite my turn yet. I’m just five or six people back from the front of the jumping line, a line that has hundreds, thousands of people in it. It’s an exciting place to stand, cause I feel ready.

But (shove it, conjunction peeve) I won’t deny, it hasn’t always been that way; it took work. My second inquiry must continue as my first one did, only growing a shade or two darker. What would I regard as the lowest depth of misery? Something ill thought of, a topic avoided like the plague in some situations, and spoken freely of in others. A topic that I have come accustomed to through degree and work experience. It isn’t easy, or even possible, to adequately build sentences with words that would pull out the guttural feeling it is to be at a ‘rock bottom’. When you get there, as everyone has to at some point, for life flows in waves, you will see it, you will feel it. It can show out in many ways, most commonly enough, though, in the way that you treat and speak to yourself. When a particular spot has been reached, one that is empty of any self-respect or self-love, where all regard for the ‘self’ has deteriorated, that is where the lowest depth of misery and anguish lies. A scary reckoning of being racked by yourself everyday, criticized needlessly, against your will. What will would you have left, anyway? It would wallow and wane against a host that has forgotten its divinity. 

Raise up your chin, because there are many positives to a rock bottom; for one, the only direction you can move is up. Consider your state of mind, contemplate your depths of misery, be aware of it, peel it apart, walk among it, feel it; then move past it. On towards the next hurdle, the next idea or creation.

For now, rest easy and relax on a Friday afternoon, with the sincerest of wishes,

The person who wrote this at the exact moments that they wrote it

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