A Letter From Heidy

No, the graphic for this story is not advocating more frequent masturbation. You guys and your dirty minds... I swear.


I get a lot of email. That's putting it mildly, actually -- between my work, Art of Akira, CNN, Huffington Post and blog posts, I get a TON of email. Some of it is spam, some is business as usual, and some is very kind words said by very great people.

As mentioned yesterday, periodically I get requests for advice or my thoughts on things, and every so often, I like to share those things here. It's even rarer that I share the positive things people write to me, because in so many ways, it feels like some sort of ego boosting or bragging when people share private communications that include lauds or thanks or other praise for something they've done. 

In this case, I feel like sharing this exchange with Heidy, because I think that it might do some good for some folks who read this stuff I write (a few people I know personally in particular, who need to hear reminders like this right now):

Hi Joe!

I'm a student at Georgetown University where the preps rule and wealthy, blue bloods gather. I want to thank you for sharing your stories and strength. You help me, and I'm sure a lot of other people,  accept myself  as I am rather than wishing I were somebody different.

And my reply:


You can't BE anyone else. So why not love who you are?

Spending time wishing you were someone or something else is a waste of time, because it's impossible. It will never happen. No matter what you do, who you hang around, where you go, you're still wrapped in your skin and your brain still resides in your skull.

You can change your economic status in life, you can change your physical appearance by going to the gym, you can change your style of dress or car or whatever else. Inside that skin and in your skull, you're still you. Learn who that is, know who that is, love who that is... You'll find very very quickly that the looks, words and thoughts coming from other people will start bouncing off that skin and that skull. Over time, you won't even hear them. Even the good stuff. Because by that time, anything anyone else thinks about who or what you are will be so irrelevant, they might as well be speaking gibberish. 

Thanks for taking the time to write. 


One thing I didn't write in my reply to Heidy, that I want her to know: her message came at a time when I was bogged down with all sorts of questions about why I keep doing what I'm doing. Reminders of why it's important to put advice, ideas, and feelings out into the world always seem to show up when I most need them, and they mean the world to me, so thank you.

And thank you to the rest of you for reading me. You are why I do this. And please remember: when you love yourself, you are always loved -- and that's a superpower for which there is no Kryptonite.