There’s a whole life after the rabbit hole and the yellow brick road. And you’re living it.

letter 15 – someone not in your state/country

Dear Emily Jane,

When I was fifteen, one of my friends was ten. We both stood in line at gymnastics practice, laughing and singing along to the radio. She taught me dance moves to “Lean Back” and swore she knew every single song on the radio.

“Why would a 15-year-old want to hang out with a 10-year-old?” She often asked me. “If you don’t want to hang out, I understand.”

It kills me to look back and know she felt that way. That she felt like she wasn’t worth it. Just a skinny little girl with nothing to offer.

At fifteen, I was a huge wreck. I’ve seen pictures of myself in baggy sweatpants and wrinkled t-shirts, my hair knotted and parted unevenly, and I often wonder why my mother let me out of the house looking like that.

Now, I understand how Grace felt. I’m twenty—almost 21 (two months!)—and one of my most loyal readers is 25 and married. In the Real World with a Real Job.

And still I think, “Why? What does a 25-year-old stand to learn from me? What do I have to offer her?”

I’m not sure.

What I do know is that you’ve Been There. And that’s invaluable to me.

You’re Alice and you’ve already been down the rabbit hole and back. You’re Dorothy and you carved a path to Oz. You could probably draw me my own Yellow Brick Road if I asked you.


But more than that, more than the wisdom and insight you offer by being five steps ahead on the path called “life,” you are one of the most true friends I have in this crazy, messed up world.

Maybe that’s sad. Probably, it is. But it’s true.

I’ve never met you face-to-face, and that leads to more than a few reservations on other people’s parts.

“How do you know she’s not some forty-year-old man?” I’ve been asked.

And I grow angry, maybe tense up for a second, and then answer them calmly.

“Because you can’t pretend like that. You can’t pretend to be a 25-year-old British girl living in Canada with a job and a fiancé (now husband). With reservations about speaking in public and singing in front of something other than the mirror. With interests in science fiction and helping others.”

You’re more loyal than some people I do know face-to-face. You read each post and you comment and add some new insight with each one. You always encourage me to be the best I can be. You’re a cheerleader whose words take the place of pompoms. A guidance counselor. An interested bystander.

You’ve Been There. Done That. Crossed through every awkward stage, every tough moment, before me.

There’s a very large part of me that wishes I had something just as valuable to offer you. If you ever need to know something random about running or gymnastics or living in a suburban town outside of Philadelphia or dealing with little sisters or going to college where everyone else is paying in-state tuition and you feel like an outsider, I’m your girl. I can help you with that.


17 responses to “There’s a whole life after the rabbit hole and the yellow brick road. And you’re living it.

  1. Oh my gosh Kaleigh, I can’t describe how pleasantly surprised I was to read my name at the top of your letter today!! 😀 You absolutely made my day, and I loved your little story about 10 and 15 year olds. Your words were so incredibly kind and touching, and I am so incredibly glad we found each other in this big, big world. I hope I get to meet you face to face someday. We should Skype sometime soon! You are such an inspiration and you continue to make my life and, surely, every one of your readers’ lives, that much better with your wise words. Thank you so much for making my day ❤

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  3. I have had the extreme pleasure of meeting Emily face-to-face.

    And let me tell you, she is even MORE wonderful in person. We’re lucky she is happily a part of our lives. 🙂

    Also. Beautiful writing.

  4. YOU are a beautiful writer that is.

    See: sometimes, when I get real excited about a new blog, I can’t formulate proper sentences. 😉

  5. Emily truly is a wonderful writer and person to look up to and follow. I am so glad Hannah’s blog brought me to hers. I am pretty positive she isn’t a 40 year old man locked up in a house fooling us all–and if she were–wow man…Miss Emily Jane you’d be one fantastic 40 year old man who writes with the style and elegance of a twenty-something female. (HA)

    Nice post

  6. What a sweet letter! Thanks to Emily Jane for sharing this link. I’ve been following her blog for a while … and just realized I’m five years older than her 🙂
    I really like this perspective, Hannah – and pleased to have found your blog, as well.

  7. My best friend is actually nearly 5 years younger than me and it’s really funny because her older sister used to be my best friend.

    Me and Rach were best friends at Lower School and when we moved schools we grew apart. Then a few years ago me and Jess were introduced and somehow got stuck and became best friends – rock on 😀

    Emily is fab and lovely – she swings by and comments on my blog and I comment on hers. When she’s next over here or if I make it to Canada I hope to meet her (if it’s not too weird lol)

  8. Thank you, Emily. I am so glad to have stumbled across your blog. My roommate’s always saying her skype is acting up but I’ll totally give it a try!

  9. Either way I would’ve taken that as a compliment, so thank you. I’m sure she is. And I’m definitely glad she’s in my life.

  10. Hahaha she’s definitely not a 40-year-old man. People are so untrusting these days.

  11. It’s funny how age doesn’t matter when it comes to something like blogging. We all go through a bunch of similar stuff and we all want to share it and help the world.

    Wow, thank you.

  12. So glad you can relate! And I’m sure she would totally love meeting up with you.

  13. How can I fully express how much that I love this? Emily is a fantastic individual and the world is lucky to have her. Thank you for writing this Kaleigh… Wonderful.


    Hannah Katy

  14. Wow! What a great letter, you made a wonderful tribute to this wonderful girl. I share your feelings!! Emily is one of my most loyal readers as well, and I am so fortunate to have her as a blog buddy. She gives great advice, and she is wonderfully caring. I’ve written her in emails about things in my life, and she just listens and cares so well. Truly a remarkable person.

  15. I just had to tell you that this was beautiful! I am now subscribed to your blog and can’t wait for more. Your writing just draws me to it!! LOVE LOVE LOVE it! =)

  16. Thank you! I smiled so hard when I read your comment.

  17. Agreed, Jon Michael. I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels this way.

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