A letter to my younger self
My dearest Erik,
You deserve your own respect. In your life, like most people, you will fall down and you will get back up. Trust your gut and your journey, but just keep getting back up.
There will be times that you will feel like there is no going on. You will feel invisible, unheard and so small. Keep going anyway. You are never invisible. You were not meant to be small.
There will be men. Some of them will hurt you, some of them will love you and some will do both. Some will respect you and some will discard you. Know that their treatment of you is a reflection of them and not you. Being discarded does not make you unworthy, it makes them a person who discards anothers humanity. Dont drag yourself across that floor, trying to make yourself more worthy in their eyes. Forgive them. For your own heart. Move on.
Some things will be harder for you than other people. Some things will come easier. Comparing yourself to others doesnt honor your strengths or theirs. Write. Paint. Run. Box. Do things you love, even if you think you suck at them. Its not all about being good. If you want to paint, paint. Make a bunch of terrible paintings and enjoy it the whole time. Enjoying it is reason enough.
Do the things that scare you. The kind of scared thats all butterflies but no real reason not to. Get up in front of people knowing you could fall flat on your face and speak your truth. Try things you are curious about. You have so many limiting beliefs about yourself. Doing the things that scare you will help you see what you are capable of. Jump.
Dont be afraid to change course. You will change course. You will take your best laid plans, uproot them and even though you are terrified you will begin anew. You will become good at this. Trust in your becoming.
There is nothing wrong with your body. You will be fat. You will be thin. You will be strong. And eventually you will learn to value your body for yourself, view it as the walking manifestation of your spirit and not obsess over its details, your weight, if its perfect. Making a practice of treating it well will help lift you up into the person you are meant to be. Dont underestimate the power of self care. Be patient. Be kind. You dont deserve the way you belittle yourself about it now, you never have deserved that.
Everyone will not like you no matter what you do. The sooner you let go of trying to be what you think others want you to, and start to live as authentically you, the better. It is better to be hated for what you are than loved for what you are not. Its less lonely, requires less pain and is a hell of a lot more fun. That doesnt mean you shouldnt grow or consider others perspective, but being true to yourself will always feel right in a way that trying to mould yourself otherwise will not.
Use your voice. Even when it quivers. It matters.
At times you will feel broken, used up and beyond repair. In some of those experiences you will find meaning and wisdom. Some will be unjust. Some will be at your own hand. You will survive. The depth of your pain will allow for depth of joy. Feel it all, but look for the joy. Its there, too.
Being assertive and articulate are traits you will fight. Because there will be people who will call men with the same behaviors leaders and you a bitch. You dont have to prove you arent a bitch to anyone. And you dont have to be quiet either. There are lots of ways to be a great woman. The best way is defining it yourself, for only yourself.
I know you dont like being called sensitive or opinionated. You are both. It will take time to learn how to navigate each. But they are strengths.
You will not end up where you thought you would. But it will be better.
You are worthy. You are worthy. You are worthy. Let that sink in until it takes up so much space that all the ways you worry you are not have no space to live in your head. Because youll be a Mommy one day, you will want to teach her the same. But you have to learn it yourself, first.
There is fire in you. Trust your fire, but lead with peace.
Your life will be full of powerful women. Learn from them. Watch them. Listen. They are your tribe. They will keep you afloat. They will never give up on you. And there will be times that they will need the same from you.
You will be absolutely and not at all ready to be a mother. Just like every mother who came before you. You will lose your patience, do things you felt really judgmental about until faced with the decision yourself, you will have terrible days. But you will be great. Your heart will grow about 1000x in size. It will be transforming, and more than worth it.
You matter. Youre gonna make it. From this side I feel like I should thank you. Shes coming. She needs you. Youve got this.