In Orbit

Dear Daughter,

At some point in your life, in the indeterminate and very-far-away future, you’ll be an adult. You’ll be swinging your way through whatever it is that you end up doing or being (and I don’t care what that is, as long as it makes you happy), and something will stop you.


In all likelihood, it’ll happen as someone says something to you. On the outside, you’ll be smiling at the person while they talk. Your ears will cover themselves and suddenly the sounds of the world around will muffle to some sort of weird din. It’ll sound tinny, like you’re suddenly within the confines of a space rocket and nobody can hear the inside of your brain.

It’ll feel like that space rocket has launched and as you, stratospheric, orbit around and pretend to be listening all the time, with that smile on your face… you’ll wonder – almost absentmindedly – why the earth seems to have slipped away from underneath your feet. You will feel a strange mix of liberation yet deep longing for the floor.

As you are orbiting, understand two things.

These two things:

1) You will come back down to earth again, probably with a bump and,

2) It is totally okay to be in orbit.

It happened to me, just yesterday, as the earth suddenly swam away from underneath me, and I kept clenching my toes to find a grip.


By the time I had exited the room, fathomed my way out of the building and into the bustling street, the ability to hear had returned to my ears.

It was a few minutes, I spent in orbit.

It was a strange place but, it was during my time up there that your grandmother’s words rang in my head:

Build within yourself a fortress.

That space rocket IS your fortress. As you orbit, you and you alone are experiencing it and, no matter what anyone says to you or does, you are protected, floating and fine. It is that fortress that surrounds you in your orbit, and it sinks back into you as you drift on back to earth.

Within you, deep within you, that space rocket exists. It was built by the women who came before you, and it is an immutable part of your biology. Your lineage has bestowed upon you a space rocket that’s made of pure steel, composed of a material that would fascinate and confound even the most learned scientists.

Whenever you need it, that space rocket erupts from within you, covers you and contains you, perfectly still, as the world slips on by.

Do not be afraid of it – for it was given to and created for you, by all of us who have used it before. Some of us put postcards up, some of us left letters. Some of us carved our initials into the walls of it. Some of us brought cushions and stayed longer than we should’ve. That’s also okay.

This fortress is your birthright, and one that shields you from the things you cannot counter, but also guides you through whatever it is that scares you. You are not, in any way, weak for using it to take a trip up for a bit. In fact, it is your strength that binds you to it.

And if you look really closely, you’ll see, that fortress that becomes a space rocket, is part of you. Just as your hands and toes and fingers and nose are.

Just like we laugh over how you got your dad’s legs, or your mom’s toes, or EveGranny’s hands or that smirk that you got from me, this fortress is given to you, and created from you.

Use it whenever you want to.


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