The other day I watched a movie where the main character could time travel between the past and the present. Because of this, he could right what he perceived as wrongs in his life & in the lives of those closest to him, but only if they were a part of his memory. It has, of course, left me thinking. What would I change if I had the same power?
While I don’t believe I have ever stood in a dark closet with my hands clenched into fists, hearing my heartbeat loudly in my ears, and focusing on a single memory so that I can return to it, I have been filled with an ache of longing for a do-over. As far as I know, I can’t go back. But, if I could, the following is the letter I would leave somewhere my younger self would find it…:
You are beautiful. Yes, you are. And you are loved. Even if the people around you forget to tell you or don’t really see it. You are lovely. You are not your parents. Your worth is not defined by how much money your parents do or do not have. Neither is anyone else’s. Do not believe anyone who would tell you differently. Money is just one sign of success. There are people who will always have more money than you, that have less to live for, that have never known the kind of love you will know in your lifetime.
On that note, eat less. The lack you feel cannot be filled with food, no matter how hard you try. Exercise. Everyday do something that forces your body to remember that it is alive for at least one hour. You are stronger than you think, both emotionally and physically. Use that strength now. The way you feel about your parent’s issues with food will be the fuel you need to either prove you are not like them, or to adopt their habits as your own. You are not too big, or too small, or too old, or too young to change your life. Do it now.
Feed your soul. Keep writing. Even if your friends don’t get it. Keep writing. Have the courage to write things that you wouldn’t show to anyone. You don’t write for them. Everyone needs something that they do just for themselves. This is yours. Never let anyone take from you your words. The boys who do not appreciate what you have to say, are not meant to stay in your life. They are just passing through. Let them go.
Keep acting. Someday all of your time on stages in front of crowds will pay off. Maybe not in the way that you hope right now, but in smaller, more meaningful ways. Every time you stand up and talk in front of others you are building courage in yourself. You will need it. When you are a Mommy, you will use your acting experience everyday. It will help you be silly, it will help you be fun, and it will help you assure your children that they are safe, even when you are scared or angry. Keep acting, so that your real life will be better.
Write one more letter to your Grandpa. He already knows how much you love him. But when he is gone, you will feel better knowing that you have done all you can to return his love. He will be gone someday, far sooner than you will want. Call him, appreciate him, hug him while you can. Bask in the way it feels when he laughs at your stories. Memorize the way his eyes twinkle when he looks at you. Surround yourself with others who believe in your worth.
Do not waste your time on people with the initials C.H. or N.J. They do not have anything to give you and only desire to take from you what does not belong to them. Trust me on this. Walk away.
Love. Love with careless abandon. Love God, love others, love yourself. There is truly nothing on this earth better than loving and being loved. Have the courage to accept the hurt that comes with giving your heart. Be trustworthy with the hearts of others. Allow yourself to be vulnerable. See yourself as worthy of being loved. Find things in others that you can love. Encourage those who are down, heal little hurts whenever you can. Give generously. Take the time to hear people’s stories. Listen.
Finally, relax. No one ever survived an accident by tensing their shoulders. Know that it is all going to be okay. Even if you don’t listen to a word I have said. You are going to have a beautiful life. It might not be the life you have imagined for yourself, laying on your bed, listening to mix tapes from Holly. But it will be real. Real is better. Breathe. You will not only live through whatever life throws at you, you will be better for it. Look around you. Appreciate what you have. It’s more than you think. Keep your head up. Shoulders back. Change what you can. Work with what you can’t. Trust. Keep going. Miracles happen everyday, but you have to be breathing to see them.