I was inspired after reading this book, What I know Now, Letters to My Younger Self, that I wrote one of my own. This letter is to my 20 year old self. It is a powerful exercise that I encourage you to try.
I will be 40 years old soon and today is Mother’s day. My youngest son sits close to me holding my hand and snuggling his head into my side. I am content and filled with so much joy that salty tears trickle down my aging face. On my other side is my husband that after sixteen years I am falling head over heels madly in love with again and yet again. For the umpteenth time.
I wish you could see me right now.
The scars from all the years that you ran from life took so long to heal. I wish Lee that I could stop the years of pain ahead of you. Stop the years of running and help you live now.
Life is short.
You will later wish you had those years back.
Lee, why are you so afraid? I see you, late at night frantic and rigid as you perfect your lines for your play. I see you run so fast keeping yourself busy so you don’t have to feel. I see you abusing your body and it hurts me so. Because that body is your gift. It births three beautiful boys, it becomes strong, and it holds your heart. Now that body is my friend, not the enemy. And that heart of yours that burst with emotion is a good thing, but you are so afraid to see.
Don’t be afraid Lee. It is ok to be you. To be you with all of your emotions, all of your hyper energy, and even with all of your pain. It is ok to set boundaries and follow the path that stems from the desires of your heart. But, you listen and you worry so much about others, what they say you should do. Who they say you should be. It is wasteful Lee to listen to them.
You see...all that you have been through will help you later when you finally stop running. It will help you become a wounded healer, one who is compassionate and empathetic to those who are hurting just like you.
But Lee, you don’t see it.
You don’t see that when you fully embrace your life you will find joy and peace and deep relationships like never before. You will learn to love with great capacity when you finally see the outlandish capacity to which God loves you. I see you Lee so wrapped in pain and confusion and shame. My heart hurts for you.
You are so afraid. And your fear will ruin relationships, ruin your body for a time, and will build a wall that will take you years to break down. Time is precious Lee. Why don’t you let your voice be heard? Stop hiding behind characters on a stage. Stop thinking God wants perfection. Stop living your life by a number on a scale or a grade on a test.
None of that will matter later.
Be free now.
You will wish you had later. Let your voice be heard now, don’t wait until later. And Lee, how about you get some help for that depression that follows you around like an old mean friend. I believe in you Lee. God does too. Won’t you listen to me? Won’t you see me now and believe that Life when fully lived and embraced will be so wonderful. Won’t you see Lee, that it is Ok to be you?
I love you so. Stop running. Start living.