Dear John Letter

Last week, someone said to me, "Our weaknesses are the excess of our strengths." My first few months in Madison I could have walked a thousand miles without recognizing the sound of someone's sneeze. I went to the movies by myself, I went to dinner by myself, I went to shows by myself. The sun rose and set on my solitude. I wrote every day and I walked every day and the world was the most beautiful it's ever been, ever.

My courage and independence are two of my greatest strengths, but they are packaged side-by-side with isolation, a sort of self-inflicted quarantine. This conflicts with my ideals about community, ideals about which I feel passionately. It's as though I want that community to thrive just outside my bedroom door, like laughter down the hall and dirty soup bowls you find on the counter. I want to exist on its periphery and smile to myself that people are so good to each other. I fall in love with strangers because they don't expect to walk me home.

Sometimes I wonder if someday I will meet someone whose presence won't feel like an ill-fitting overcoat, like something heavy in my pocket that I should've left at home. Someone whose footsteps will fall next to mine like the sound of my own breath, whose body will sleep next to mine like an extension of my own, an eight-limbed Shiva tangled in the sheets.