The Midlife Letters

walking tall

I see you, and I know your struggle to stand tall and be seen without losing your head. I know how difficult it is, and you’re not alone in this.

To all the Tall Poppies,

If you’ve been going against your subconscious grain by standing tall to reach what you’ve always wanted, I see you.

I see you, and I know your struggle to stand tall and be seen without losing your head.

Some People don’t know what we’re so afraid of. Well, how nice for them, the lucky fucks.

But I recognize your quiet tension followed by bold, tentative action; how you brace yourself equally for criticism or applause; your silent withdrawal to tend to that ancient wound you’ve just poured salt on — the one you’ve always known without knowing where it came from…

That one which always itches but never heals because even after you learned to stop scratching at it, other people — even perfect strangers — were happy to pick at the scabs.

So, I see you. And I get it because I feel it, too.

All that we’ve deftly avoided for so long is coming to light, into view, within reach, and it’s all exhilarating and satisfying and terrifying…

Mostly terrifying. But also satisfying.

Overcoming our lifetime’s aversion to meet a long-held desire is no small thing; it’s daring and courageous and totally insane.

It’s mental hurdles and visceral responses and emotional upheavals that Some People — those lucky fucks — will never know, never understand, never appreciate.

I know how difficult it is, though; all the Tall Poppies do.

We know how it feels impossible to move forward, and we understand that you can’t go back … that you absolutely refuse to go back.

We appreciate every heartbreaking, breathtaking step toward the thing that’s only slightly bigger than the pain and grief of getting there.


There may be someone out there who can hold your hand through this, but it ain’t me. I thought it was, but I was wrong. Sorry.

I’ve come to see that hand-holding is a kind of hindrance, really, so I’m here instead of there, but I am here.

We’re all here.

We’re here to say: I see you. I get it. I know.

We’re here to say: I’m sorry this is so hard for you — for me, for all of us. But here we are, and we are here.

And I’m here to say:

Seeing your progress draws me forward and seeing you pause reminds me to think, to blink, to breathe, to trust. Both your progress and your pauses make me proud to know you.

That said, don’t worry about the impact your actions (or inaction) might have on me.

You don’t slow me down, only I can do that. You don’t move me forward, only I can do that. You can’t stop me, only I can do that.

No one can stop me — or you or any of us — from reaching our divine purpose. You may have noticed that bad things happen to people who try?

Today I’m noticing that obstacles I’ve put in my way mark my way…

And the obstacles Some People drop to bar the way are the way.

They do it because they fear me, fear you, fear us. They fear what we might say, what we might do, what it might mean.

They fear what could happen if, instead of ducking our heads to save our necks, instead of clutching our baskets to bury our light, we dared to stand tall and upright and blazed bright.

Well, they should fear that.

They’d better.


photo credit: Edgar Laureano

By Crys Wood

Crys Wood lives in Montana with an old guy, a huge cat, and lots of unread books.