Dear Former Stephanie



There’s a word you need to know. It’s ‘lesbian’. Let’s skip a lot of time and confusion and say what needs to be said: You are one. You know that feeling you get? The butterflies and sweaty palms when you see that pretty girl? Yeah, she doesn’t feel the same way towards you because she’s not a lesbian, but you are. There’s another word for it - you know this one. Dad was just preaching about it - it’s 'homosexual'. DON’T FREAK OUT. No, they aren’t bad people - no, they aren’t going to Hell. And guess what? You aren’t a bad person either and you aren’t going to Hell. Actually, there’s a big chance that Hell doesn’t even exist - (that may be too much for you right now - we’ll talk about that in a few years). 

You probably think this isn’t me writing you and you’re probably suspicious that I got the Devil in me, but I really, really need you to listen to me. You know how every night you wonder if there’s another world out there - and if there is - what it’s like? I’ve been to the other worlds. I’ve traveled to all the places you were scared you would never go AND to the places you were too scared to go. The reason why you feel like your world is entirely too small is because it is. One day you’re going to figure out that the 800 people that live in our town only represent a very small percentage of people on the planet, and a very small percentage of lifestyle, culture, beliefs and language. And though there are scarier places to live, there are also much more loving places to live. You aren’t there yet but you will be. So take a deep breath, don’t worry about the Devil right now, and let’s go back to that lesbian word. 

In about two weeks you’re going to meet a girl that DOES share those secret feelings you’ve been having. It is going to rock your world - those are actually the exact words that you tell her in a love letter - that she ‘rocks your world’. Maybe choose a less catastrophically embarrassing phrase… You’re a nerd. You always will be, but you do pick up a little bit of swag along the way. You are going to get caught with her and though it pains me so much to not tell you how to escape this, I have to let you go through it or else I don’t know how you’ll ever get to me, and I really want you to meet me. So I’m not going to tell you which day you get caught or how, but you will get caught. The first thought that will go through your head is, 'What are my brothers going to think of me?’ (quick fast forward - they still love you), and the next thought is going to be about our basketball scholarship. 

This will be the most difficult thing for you to hear so I want you hear this from me first: You won’t be allowed to go and I know that sounds like the end of your life, but it won’t be. There are other difficult things you will have to navigate, so I want you to have this letter, hold onto it and never disbelieve any of these words I’m about to tell you: You are going to be okay. There are going to be times where you think you won’t be. There will be times where you will want to do nothing more than kill yourself. But this will all lead to one big moment, a moment where you will have to choose between opening door A or door B. I’m not going to tell you which one you should open because I have faith that you will choose the one that leads you down a path of beauty, transformation and freedom, and I can’t wait for you to get here. 

P.S. You live in California now, you were on The Voice, you’re a published author in a scientific journal, and you have a really hot wife that still gives you butterflies and sweaty palms.

- Stephanie Rice, musician