Friday, February 7, 2014

A Letter To My 10 Year Old Self

Dear my sweet 10 year old Anne, 

This has been a tough year for you, I know. Last year Mom and Dad moved you to a new home across town. You didn’t want to move away from Katahdin Avenue, away from a neighborhood where you knew every worn path, every mark on each picket fence. They underestimated your attachment to that house, its memories of your earliest years. In your new home you’ve cried at how tough it is to start new at a different school where suddenly even the color of your hair or your “smart girl ways” aren’t being accepted. You've gone quickly from being well liked to well, disliked. And sometimes the biggest pain we receive comes unexpectedly, like that sucker punch to the stomach you were given by a friend’s friend last week. What was THAT about?! You certainly learned the meaning of having your breath taken away, didn’t you? Wow. But you refused to let that girl see you cry. I noted that. You have to believe me when I tell you that the struggles you are experiencing now are only adding to the strength of your spirit. And this 45 year old is incredibly grateful for how determined you’re remaining in the face of ridicule and intimidation. Your courage taught me some important life-long lessons. Hang on. It gets better. So much better. 

The funny thing is, we don’t count on our childhood selves to preserve the strength we’ll need as adults when times get tough. This past year of my adult life has taught me so much. Despite my passion for learning, if I had ever been given a choice however, I’d have remained blissfully ignorant. Although I won’t share with you what has brought me pain, before I take another step forward, I am going to try and list some of the lessons the past several months have taught me.  I’m sure it’ll be a little tough for your young self to understand what has brought me to this new understanding, but that’s okay. You just keep sharing your days with Mom and Dad and I’ll think of you as I continue this list. 
  • Love never ends, it doesn’t matter how few or how many miles we travel. It’ll remain.
  • It’s okay to feel broken. Change has to happen, and it’s okay to cry when it does.
  • Change, pain, and love all work to strengthen us. My strength amazes me every day.
  • Because of hardship, we become more patient, accepting, forgiving, compassionate, understanding, and intuitive than ever.
  • I am also accepting and proud of my continued vulnerability. It is who I am. 
  •  No one, not even another who has suffered the very same things, has the right to judge another’s journey. We all travel our own paths and that’s perfectly okay and how it needs to be. 
  • I am not alone, even if it sometimes feels that way. There are good people in the world who have my back. 
  • It hurts to keep pain inside, but it’s sometimes necessary to do for self-preservation’s sake. But when too many days of holding it in come to pass, be ready for a trigger and the tears to hit out of the blue, at the most inconvenient times. But that’s okay too. 
  • People who are hurting can still choose to be happy. I do and I am. 
  • God never abandons us. His gifts are everywhere. We just need to be open to seeing them. 
  • It helps to keep talking to our loved ones. 
  • Our biggest challenges define who we are and who we want to be. 
  • My eyes have seen so much and perhaps have never been more red, but they have also never been more beautiful and never more open.
  • Sometimes you have to take a time out from the world, from daily responsibilities, from anything or anyone who gets in the way of your healing. Listening to your soul is important work too. 
  • I am fiercely protective of others who are hurting and nothing pisses me off more lately than having one’s pain complicated by the ignorance, insensitivity, or denial within others. I will never stop trying to help others.
  • It is important to get extra rest and to loaf to refuel. 
  • It is important to eat healthily and to get daily exercise, even if it’s only a ten minute walk outside. Look up at the sky. Go to the woods. Find water. Feel the air.
  • Sorrow affects our hearts, our souls, our minds, and our bodies. Each will ache even when we’re not conscious of the source. 
  • You're what they call an "old soul", incredibly spiritual and emotional with a philosophical outlook on life. Old souls are a unique people. But you are who you are. Own that. God makes no mistakes.
What an incredibly lucky young girl you are, Anne. Thank you for working so hard to remain true to yourself in spite of the challenges you’re facing. And remember, in another couple of years, this 4th grade pain will all be behind you. Your middle school and high school years are going to be incredibly happy. You’re going to shine! And although I don’t want to ruin the story for you, let me tell you that the 45 year old woman writing this letter to you knows for sure that you are going to live a rich life filled with honest and genuine love, respect, warmth, adventure, romance, friendship, laughter, and fun. You are on your way to becoming an amazingly fierce young woman whose dreams will indeed come true. And something tells me that as you approach your 46th birthday, you are going to be filled with confidence that your next 46 years will be full of moments that take your breath away, without the sucker punch to the gut. 

And hey, enjoy the attention from the guys. Those awkward boys who are now looking rather silly in their polyester pants? They are going to make some great boyfriends in the future. Trust me. They'll all serve to help you better understand, appreciate, and love the men who will be there for you in your adult life. 

Hang on girl. You’re amazing. Then and now. 

I love you. 


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