i’ve been sitting here for about twenty minutes trying to put something adequate into words for your birthday. so far i’ve been better able to conjure tears than actual coherent sentences, which sort of sums up all of my emotions about you as a human person. but you’re turning eighteen, so i will try to push through and make those words happen.
i know it’s sort of a weird thing to say about someone you don’t know personally, but i don’t think i’ve ever been prouder of anyone than i am of you.
it amazes me how much you’re willing to give, all the time. sometimes i want to tell you that you don’t have to give everything away. sometimes i want to make sure that you’re keeping things for yourself, too. i know that you want to give back. it’s so obvious how much that matters to you — it’s so obvious that you put everything you have into every interaction with fans. it’s so obvious that you would spend a thousand generations just trying to make sure everyone knows how loved they are, if only you had the time. but in your unfathomable whirlwind of a life, i know it’s not something that belongs to you. so i know you try to shove lifetimes of love into a minute, into a few seconds. and sometimes i just want to make sure that, in providing an oasis for everyone else, you aren’t running yourself dry.
i know that there are people who have told you they worry you’ve “changed,” and i don’t think i’ve ever heard anything more absurd. god forbid you didn’t change! god forbid any fifteen year old stayed exactly the same for the entire rest of their life. maybe that’s what i’m most proud of: your willingness to learn. you’ve come so, so far, and your awareness of the world around you has only grown with you. i’m proud, too, because i think you’ve finally begun to see the parts of yourself that everyone else around you had long ago noticed. i’m proud because you’ve begun to see the light that shines inside of you — so bright and so unimaginably vast. you have the sun inside of you, camila. and i think you’ve had enough of trying to direct that light into something you think the world wants, into something less than it is. i think you’ve had enough of trying to create a lamppost from that burning fire. i’m so excited to watch your light reach every dark corner, consume every piece of the world, make it better than it was before.
but do you know that you have solar systems inside of you? do you know that there are galaxies mapped beneath your skin? you are a series of constellations, a thousand supernovas exploding into improbably beautiful arrays of color. you are so much more than you think.
i don’t know that i’ve ever believed in fate, exactly, but living in a universe that turned your 1% into a yes sure as hell makes me believe in something. that you are in a position for me to even be writing this makes me believe that this is a universe worth fighting for. there are so many things i want to tell you: that i wish all the happiness in the world on you, but that it’s okay to feel anything else, too. that you feeling safe should always come first. that none of the terrible, ignorant comments in the world will ever erase the solar systems inside of you. that the world would be a much sadder place without your terrible (and not-terrible!) jokes in it.
there is so little i can actually give you, and so very, very much that you deserve.
but for the days that those insecurities begin to creep in, and you begin to doubt, i just want you to keep in mind: you are enough. you are enough. you are enough. you are enough. you are so much more than enough. you are the sun in every solar system. you shine light on every planet you touch, on every person who falls within your orbit.
thank you will never be enough, but thank you is all i have.