Dear skydiving: you are breathless, raw, kinetic energy. You are courageous chaos. You are gulps of adrenaline that I'm too scared to take. Dear spiders: you write cobweb poems in every corner, and something about that is beautiful. Dear past: you happened, and you taught me that painting is best with a smock on. Dear future: you're coming, and I can't see you. You're a swift shapeshifter, a marvel that still puzzles the psychics. I feel that you always will. I'll let you arrive when you're ready.

Dear clowns: you bring so much joy into the world. Keep being silly. The world needs it. Dear failure: you sting like a slap across the face. You're pink and scared and small and full of possibilities. You never forget to visit us all. Dear anxiety: you paint haunting pictures of pink failure that are fit to hang in an art gallery. You're the most reliable alarm clock, and you're usually early for the party. Your whispered words always know how to lodge themselves perfectly into my skull. Dear depression: you are fabulous at cuddling -- that is, the type of cuddling that makes you shiver and makes you sleepy at the same time. You are hooded and faceless. Your mystery and your constancy clash like sets of teeth. You make me feel everything and nothing all at once.

Dear regrets: you're those silvery clouds of mist we all try to catch in loose grips before you're out there in the world forever. You're the birthday balloon that flew out of my hands in the grocery store parking lot when I was five; you floated away, and I've always remembered that. Dear vulnerability: you are red scars, fresh wounds, new blood, purple-and-blue skin. You are wide open windows and freshly cut grass and leaves changing color in autumn. You are saying love first and never stopping. Dear death: you're the dark stranger standing at the end of the alley smoking a cigar. You're bathed in lamplight and surrounded by curling smoke. Everybody wants to know all about you, but none who find out ever make it out alive.

Dear everything that scares me and frightens me and worries me: you exist. You are crazy and unpredictable and wild in your existence, and I can't control the way you'll affect my life. The perfectionist inside of me hates you, and the worrier inside of me fears you, but the artist inside of me sees your beauty. You are a double-dog-dare staring me in the face, forcing me not to avert my eyes. And I'm trying my best not to look away from you. To stare right back and let you know that I exist too.

Love,

Heather