Letter to my 18 year-old self - Your Kick-Ass Life

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Writing a letter to your former self is an interesting thing. At least it is for me. Because the truth is I wouldn’t want to go back and change anything, even with what I know now. But, I love to look back and see where my beliefs came from and how they shaped me. As well as what I can do now to create new ones. 

I write this letter for my daughter and anyone else who wants things to be different.

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My sister and I at my high school graduation

Dear Andrea,

You are 18 today. Your parents are going to split up later this year which will completely rock your world. And you’ll pretend throughout the whole thing that you’re okay. Everyone will tell you how strong you are and you’ll take that validation and cling to it like it’s the end of your rope and that’s all you have to cling to. And you’ll hang there as long as you can with no tools whatsoever to help you heal. And it’s a really long time.

The boy you started dating last year will eventually be your husband. Well, first husband I should say. The two of you will have a long, intense, sometimes beautiful, sometimes ugly relationship. When you’re 30 and it falls apart you’ll wish you had trusted your instincts about him. But, don’t worry. The lessons you learned from that time together will be the foundation in which you rebuild your life. You will hold him in a place of gratitude forever.

The abortion you had just a few months ago when you were 17 will sadly, be a source of grief forever. It comes and goes. I’m sorry that you felt so alone during that time and that you weren’t sure if you were making the right decision or not. At 17 it’s tough to make those kind of decisions.

Between that and your parents split, it’s going to be a hard year on your heart. And you’ll swear that you’re fine and even vow not to shed a tear at that therapists office they sent you to. And you don’t. You’re either smiley or stoic. But, your heart says otherwise.

Inside you’re in a tremendous amount of pain. Confusion, anger, guilt, frustration, and despair. Feeling lost you cling to that boy. And he tries his best to help you. But, he’s a teenager too and isn’t sure how to help you. He urges you to get help. You dry your tears and tell him you’re okay. You even apologize for yourself.

He becomes your first addiction. You won’t see it until you’re out of the relationship—well, I should say much later after you look at your pattern of love. Intensity and love are your addictions. And the two of those together give you the perfect high.

All of the pain you don't look at will manifest into destructive behaviors. You’ll slow dance with an eating disorder that becomes worse that you’ll like to admit. You’ll say you like the control, but it really is the one controlling you. You’ll spin farther and farther down into the murkiness of pain until you don’t recognize yourself anymore.

And thankfully, at 31 years old, you’ll start to heal.

The thing is, my dear, there was a missing piece all along. In that time of healing you’ll look back on the years past and see it. It’s actually two missing pieces and one follows the other. You see, during all those years you had no spiritual connection. No divine guidance to call on. No higher being to give up all your pain to. No foundation to turn to. You thought all your feelings were wrong and that no one should know that you were suffering. There was no way for you to gain any peace around any of it.Your soul was in constant torment and isolation. With no reprieve in sight.

The second missing piece was love. Not the love of others but the love of yourself. In those years you looked outside of yourself for the love you needed and it was certainly hit or miss. You shape-shifted into whatever you thought would get you that love which only led to frustration, anger, confusion, and self-loathing.

It was a recipe for disaster to say the least.

And at 34 you’ll have a daughter.

And you’ll look at this little girl and see parts of yourself. She has your smile and your sass. And you’ll vow to teach her everything you now know.

So, for that my young self, I thank you. And I love you.

Love,
Me

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