In early March this year, I saw multiple videos on YouTube with the hash tag #dearme. Essentially, it was women (and some men) writing letters to themselves as teens. It had something to do with International Women's Day. I was very inspired by this, so I wrote my own. I love the thought of giving recognition to the wisdom that has been gathered with passing years. It humbles and motivates me.
Anyway, here's my letter to me:
Dear teenage me,
Firstly, as awful as things seem, you WILL get through this time. I know, because I'm here! You are much stronger than you think.
I'm so proud of all of the art you make and your bright mind! But I am most proud of your HEART. Even years from now you will wear it on your sleeve, but I know now that is a strength, not a weakness. To be open, honest and truthful is....really important. It will give you freedom. And yes, even in your 40's you can cry at the drop of a hat.
I won't give you any advice on men. After you get past that older jerk (and you really should get past him!), you find a truly awesome guy, who sees through the fight and hurt and LOVES you. It won't always be easy and definitely isn't perfect, but you will mold each other as you grow, and every year you won't believe you could love him any more, but you do. You've got this covered.
I know now that all that fight you have in you is for things you need and deserve, even though you have no clue where it comes from right now. Confusing, isn't it? It took a long time to get that figured out, dear. That fight keeps you going when things happen down the road. It will morph into an asset.
Don't let that one sentence you heard from someone get seared into your head and change your entire view of your self-worth. It simply wasn't true. Do not blame yourself for that, it had nothing to do with you.
Don't get caught up in keeping up with your peers in regards to material things. When you get older and your health takes some blows, none of that stuff means anything. Having new cars, a bigger house, all that unnecessary shit you think you need will melt away. It is unimportant. Instead, concentrate on what you need to be healthy and HAPPY. And it isn't on an end cap at Target or in a new car, believe me. Having yourself and your family is everything. Build better bonds and deeper friendships - these things are free.
Get help being comfortable and happy with yourself. Address the dark, haunting emotional side effects of what you had to survive - this is not free, but worth every last cent. You will need to bare it all, and you won't want to, but it's essential for the help to work.
Try not to let people take advantage of you. It will be easy for them because you think you are worthless, like somehow you deserve to be treated less-than, but it simply isn't true. Dig deep for confidence! Be proud of what you accomplish! Your loyalty is second to none, but give it to things that give it back.
Exercise more while you can. At 41, you will literally dream of just running, hiking or doing daily tasks swiftly and without pain.....but it may not happen again. Do it all! Now!
And lastly, ALWAYS remember, you are ENOUGH. Be kind to and love yourself, it all starts there.