how i am

dear timothy,

hi. how are you? i guess that’s not a very good question to ask. today i spent hours looking at the sky, composing this letter. thinking about these sort of things keeps you close to me. it’s a sort of comfort for me. i think you’d like to know this, if you could.

i’m not doing very well. that’s the honest truth. i’m not doing badly, but there are a lot of things that are really painful right now. a lot of uncertainty, a lot of hurt.

it’s march. this month marks two years since you died. just stating that simple fact takes courage. i’m so grateful i’ve gotten to build a relationship with your sister, a friendship not defined by the things that happened to you. i’m so grateful i get to dance and perform with her, with the group you loved and put so much into. i love and miss you. it still hurts. on days like today especially. but i can always feel your presence, somehow.

the world is in a frenzy. things are happening, things that simply scare me. i’m a creature of habit. the world is shutting down. it’s illegal to have a group of more than 10 people together now. online school is nice, in some ways. but i miss human connection, even with the people i don’t understand. i crave human interaction. i’m horribly afraid that this will last for months, and then at the end, no one will ever connect again in person.

i’ve started loving again. it’s hard, but worth it. things are complicated. sometimes i think i’m losing them too. but something tells me it’s gonna be okay.

school is a lot. guard was even more. my second mock trial competition went wonderfully. if there’s one thing i’m good at, it’s that. i think you’d have been proud. i’m writng poetry again. i’m working on my plan. working hard. hoping to get a job, doing college classes, applying for scholarships. i want to be a defense attorney. can you believe that? but i want to have children too.

i’m trying. i’m planning my garden, making plans for spring that i know won’t happen. throwing my flag and rifle and dancing my heart out. picking flowers and laughing. letting myself think. writing love letters to myself. tonight i spent hours watching the sky and thinking and singing and resting. it was beautiful. i wear pretty dresses most everyday. i cut all my hair, but i’m growing it again. i can’t wait for summer. i hope beyond hope things are straightened out by then.

the world is still beautiful. i love people uncontrollably. things are terrifying, but i still have hope.

things are hard. but i’m trying. all the memories are overwhelming sometimes. sounds and looks and moments. it hurts.

there’s something better. i know there’s something better.

i miss you. i know one day i’ll see you again.

but ’til then,



I see you everywhere, in the stars, in the river, to me you’re everything that exists; the reality of everything.

Virginia Woolf

you changed my life in a way I can hardly fathom.

you are beautiful, beautiful.

i miss you.


oct. 26, 2019

tonight, i am happy.

happy because i’m here. happy because i can be proud of what i’ve done the past few months. happy because after all the hard work, i finally caught a glimpse of what it means to be just plain good at something.

since july, i’ve worked and worked to move my body and a six-foot metal pole in a way that looks beautiful while dancing across a football field. i’ve performed on four different fields, on the streets of my town, and in a gym, in front of hundreds, and perhaps thousands of people.

and believe it or not, i loved it more than almost anything else i’ve ever done.

i was shy, scared, confused, and clumsy when i walked into band camp, but last night i walked out onto that field and i was confident, smiling, laughing, even as it rained and i couldn’t see. i’ve found a place where i belong, something that’s been a part of me for longer than i’ve been a part of it.

there were moments that were hard. moments i was so angry i could hardly see straight. people said i couldn’t do it. people said i shouldn’t do it.

but last night, i proved everyone wrong.

last night, we showed the world (or maybe just the crowd last night) that our band is not a failure. that we have worked hard and we’re back, even after everything.

i am so incredibly thankful i got to be a part of this group this season. i look forward to all the next seasons i have in front of me, both in marching season and in winter guard.

the more i preform, the more i realize that this is what i’m meant to do. that i love this and, to my own shock, i’m actually pretty good at it.

so here i am. more of a performer than i’ve ever been before. better than i’ve ever been before. more confident, more graceful, and more at peace with everything i’ve known.

and this is only the beginning.

tonight i did something i never thought i’d do.

tonight i stood in front of a crowd in the middle of my little town and performed with our high school band’s color guard. i marched down the streets like i’d watched the band members do so many times, feeling all the tradition this group has. i stared into the rainbow sunset and smiled as i swung my flag, danced, and sang.

two years ago, i stood on the exact same field, smiled into the exact same sun and listened to beautiful music. that night i watched you perform. that was the night i made a new friend.

something tells me God let you paint the sunset over a little town in north carolina tonight. i think that you were watching me, smiling, proud of me, happy i did what i thought i couldn’t do.

while i was standing there, smiling, my shoulders back my face to the sky, there was one word that stayed in my mind while music filled my town:


because it’s beautiful. the times we had, the memories i have, the songs we sang, the beauty i saw and still see.

it’ll never leave and it’ll always be beautiful, beautiful.

i don’t really understand it all. all that happened, all that will happen. what comes next, how i feel. but i have something hold onto no matter what.

my mountains

home is within. within me are mountains.

aimee brown

below are pictures from grandfather mountain, craggy gardens, the blue ridge parkway, and other areas near my hometown in the nc mountains.

4th of july fireworks

now more than ever, i’m in awe of this beautiful place i get to call home.


as most people know, i love mbti personality types. i’m an infj. one of the most interesting things i’ve read about my personality type is that we’re very good at “rearranging priorities.”

when i first read that i didn’t know what to think of it. i pushed it out of my mind until a few months ago, i saw another article that mentioned that infjs were talented at “redefining priorities.”

and i realized that that was what i had been doing all my life, but most especially over the past few months. it’s something i’ve recently embraced as a strength, one of the few characteristics i have that actually seem positive.

one year ago, if you asked me what the most important thing in my life was, i probably would have said writing books. now, there is no way i could say that. when people remind me that i was planning on having another two books out by now, i get uncomfortable. if they ask me if i’m writing still, i can’t breathe. because i know where i thought i’d be, and i know what i was then, and what i told people i was, but i absolutely cannot dream of being there now. of that being the most important thing in my life now.

three months ago, theatre, dancing, singing, and the addams family was the love of my life. i was living in passion and new understanding i hadn’t known before and i thought it would last forever. it didn’t. i thought i would minor in theatre in college. now that makes me feel uncomfortable. now i blush when i think of all the passion i threw into it, how much i talked about being the stage. i learned something from it, and i will always love it, and i’ll be on a stage again someday, but it is not the love of my life as i thought.

because i am constantly, mentally rearranging what’s important what’s not, sometimes i suddenly look up and realize, “oh wow, that thing that was really important to me isn’t actually that important now!” in fact, i might hate it. it makes the separation, the letting-go of things i cared about a little easier. allows me to figure out exactly what i’m doing.

things change everyday. what i love evolves, how i feel about things moves.

i’m growing used to this ever-changing thing. this moving and exploring and figuring it out. somehow i feel as if part of me has always been waiting for these months and weeks and days where i feel myself finding myself.

here i am. not the same as i was yesterday or ever. so changed constantly.

i’m living in this journey and finding that maybe this, this amazing self-discovery, is my real passion.

so i’ll keep going.

and it’ll all be okay.

what to tell you

***disclaimer: this is a long, rambly letter to a friend of mine who died from suicide. it could be potentially triggering for some people.

today i was sitting on the bus alone because the girl who usually sits with me was sick. we took the long way to the high school, so i had plenty of time to think.

it started with the guard auditions. as everyone around me knows, that’s all i’ve been talking about lately. i was thinking about how today was quite possibly the last time i’d get to spin a flag and my heart was sinking. thinking about how i wouldn’t be able to spend anymore time with your sister.

and then, as it does, my mind went to you.

your name came into my mind as it always does- it’s always there, watching, this dull something that sometimes i still forget but never really do.

i felt sick to my stomach when that horrible image of you came into my mind.

i lifted my head a little higher and thought about what i’d say to you if i had the chance to talk to you again. i felt the need to write it down, so here it is:

the first thing is that the flowers are blooming again. they came up early this year- mid-march. the wildflowers are my favorite, as always. i planted a whole garden this year, with white marigolds for you, just like last year. i’ll take a bouquet to your grave when they’ve grown.

it got hot early this year. its burning and my windows are open 24-7. i’m not as cold, in fact, i can feel the heat this year. i like standing in my room during golden hour and dancing to the radio with my windows open and the sun on my face.

i’m desperate to make guard. i don’t think i did, and if i have, i most likely can’t do it. spinning flags and improv and dance is like theatre- when i do it, my heart skips a beat and i’m happy and i know i’ve found another love of my life. my guard gals are the best. today i was doing a flag hit and i couldn’t let go of my flag i was so bad. and i almost started crying. but i still want to do it. more than they know.

things are weird right now. i get used to things, but then they get weirder. you’ll be happy to know i smile a lot more than i did right after everything happened. especially when i hold my little people. they’re the light of my life.

the stuff with my family’s getting worse. k’s being more distant, but she’s still my sister.

i miss the theatre. so much. if i could do guard and spring musical, oh, how happy i’d be!

people are still weird. things are still up in the air. i’m still working on my plan.

your family still loves you. g talks about you all the time. nothing bad. all good.

your friends still love you. i met h and she’s awesome. i can tell she misses you.

you aren’t forgotten. when i say your name, people know who you are.

your name is still going to change the world.

i could try to tell you just how much you’re loved. how beautiful you are. but i won’t even try.

the next time i go to the grave, i’ll still there and i hope i don’t cry. i hope i just smile and laugh and talk to you and maybe dance and i hope i look toward our mountains and i can remember how you smiled, how you laughed, how you loved and how, if you were here, you’d tell me to embrace everything that’s bursting in me.

to let my passion live.

my heart thrills a bit when i think that one day i’ll see you smile again and i’ll be happy. that one day, we’ll dance to a tune that’s far, far more beautiful than anything we heard on earth. that one day, you’ll embrace me and i’ll never lose you again. that one day, your laugh will ring in my ears, that laugh i’ll never forget.

that one day, all will be well.

and you’re already so free.

today is your birthday.

eighteen years ago today, you drew your first breath. it’s impossible to believe its been over a year since you drew your last one.

i never celebrated a birthday with you while you were alive. at this point, the time i knew you as my friend is less than the time you’ve spent in heaven.

but the impact you’ve had on my life is impossible to describe. people call me crazy because i’ve not forgotten you. they don’t understand the love that practically poured out of you. they never saw your comforting smile.

today i went to the grave for the first time. i sat there and talked to you for longer than i ever got to talk to you when you were alive. it still doesn’t seem real. i believe it. but somehow i still expect you to run up and hug me one morning in the guard room.

my feelings are a whirlwind. i’ve not been the same since you left this world.

i miss you, timothy.

happy birthday, sunshine.

smile so radiant it put the sun to shame