Book of the Nazarite: Letters to my Daughter 
Saturday, June 29th 2019
My Dearest Em,
I write you today as I leave for my trip. I’m headed to 3 different countries for different reasons, the Netherlands for work, Morocco for pleasure, but most importantly, Spain for a Pilgrimage.
Pilgrimages have historically been about religious devotion, and while I was certainly raised in a very religious household; I would characterize my own personal pilgrimage much more as “spiritual”, than religious. It is hard to understand the difference, regardless of your age when reading this. To put it more plainly: It’s far less about trying to understand a greater power, than it is about trying to understand the greatness in myself.
I don’t know how old you’ll be when you read these. Personally, I hope you read them (even if for the n’th time) as an adult. So that you may see these, thru the lens of humility that only time can teach us, mortals. These letters are, after all, meant for you when you grow up.
I believe there comes a time in every person’s life when they have to decide how much they are willing to push themselves, even at the expense of comfort and contentment. Personally… I have taken a Nazarite vow this year, with the intent of pushing myself slightly further. Not because I am not happy with my accomplishments, but because I have a huge fear of settling. I fear that the moment I stop challenging myself, I will ease slowly into contentment. Letting life pass me by, only to realize too late, that the best years of my life are already behind me. Missing my one chance to know just how much I can really be. And while I have nothing against those who choose comfort (I often find myself wanting to be one of them). I do believe, that [for me] the purest form happiness comes from from finding new creative ways to push myself outside of comfort. Happiness certainly doesn’t come from losing control; that is both painful and mentally unsettling. But the process of gaining it back, I find it to be immensely pleasurable; in the same way chess players find a long game to be pleasurable (fyi — I don’t play chess, but believe to understand notion enough so as to use analogy). And while to some, that might sound exhausting (or boring); to me, the idea of pushing the frontiers of my own conciensce and abilities is nothing short of a thrill.
However, while I’ll definitely be doing a lot of personal introspection during the length of this trip (which is just another way of saying that I will be talking about myself often in these letters, you’ve been warned), I also want to talk about you. And say some things that I would love for you to hear from me, your father. And what better time than the present?
Em! Strenght, true strenght (and consequently confidence) comes from within. It comes from self-trust and self-love. The reason I say this, is because one day I would love for you to be in the position I am today, to have the luxury to pursue self-improvement, to challenge yourself to be the very best version of yourself that you can be. But to do that, you’ll need to be able to trust your instincts, and to do that, you’ll need to be able to trust yourself.
Confidence is a trait that far too few people have today. It saddens me. And while your mother and I are spending a lot of time trying to instill self-confidence in you (and so far its taking!), by making sure you only face the challenges you’re ready to take on. I can’t do that forever without also shielding you from life itself.
I will do my best as a parent, but life will still throw you curveballs. There is no way you can prevent this. You will fail, you will fall. We all do! The greatest men and women in the world have fallen far more than their lesser accomplished. Yet, remarkable people know that a fall is only a problem until you get up. It doesn’t matter how bleak the outcome might seem, how shitty your current position is, there is always a way back up. Remember this…. Always. Please.
My job is to make sure that you believe in yourself enough, to weather the grind, because getting back on your feet is the hard part. The harder the fall, the harder the rise, and as painful as tha fall is, the rise will likely be more painful still.
But all the strenght you need… you have. I see it every day when I look in your eyes. The fire of resiliency, the courage to push back. It’s there! And no matter what anybody tells you, it will always be there. Long after I am gone. Because your strength comes from within, and from nowhere else, despite what you might sometimes feel to the contrary.
Trust yourself, my love. Life, mostly via other people, will try to make you doubt yourself. They will do this to attempt toget the better of you. Don’t let them. But if they do… brush it off, push back, and move on. It happens to ALL of us. Failure is not an event, not many, and certainly not one. It is an attitude, I have been bested by life and people many times. But I never took a beating laying down. Sometimes, it’s taken me a while to get up. Maybe even longer than it should have, but that’s allright. Every time, you just get up. Every time, you hit back. And I promise you, with time it’ll get easier to do so.
Remember… your life is yours to shape, no one else’s. Not even your mother or I can make these decisions, nor fight your battles for you. Know that I love you, today and always, you are beautiful, you are strong, and nothing can change that. Nothing!
So when life knocks you down, or tries to intimidate you, look it (he, she or them) in the eye… and say, “I am Em. Stand aside or I’ll make you stand aside!”
I love you! So very much. You are the apple of my eye; my pride and joy. You will always be the light of my life. And with love like this… The world’s got nothing on you.
Your father, who loves you.