Early on in my second pregnancy, a mother at the coffee shop recommended a book to me: The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal. I bought it months ago but just opened it up in the last few days and started doing the exercises within. One was to find a picture of yourself at 8-10 years old then write a letter to yourself at that age. It’s a little schmaltzy so I will add my own version here and keep the other for my journal. But both got me thinking. Thinking about how I was then and how I came to be the me I am today. Thinking about how my daughters already have their innate natures that will guide them through life. Thinking about my role in guiding them, not leading them, through life.
Look at yourself. You are gorgeous! Right here you already know life’s biggest lessons. You know that simple things bring joy. Sometimes all you need is a spin, twirl, hop or boogie to put a smile on your face. You know that being outside, amongst nature, brings out your true nature also. You need not over-think because thoughts have a way of tripping over themselves. You act instinctively. Naturally. Simply. There is no need to be, act, aspire to be anything other than who you are in that moment. In the moment.
There is no use in me giving you advice or regret actions you took back then. For they are all learning tools. Besides you won’t listen to me anyways. I am old and stuffy. You know you need to learn your lessons on your own terms. Otherwise there is no growth.
So it is useless for me to inform you that all those ‘popular’ girls are just as self-conscious as you. They may not have acne or bad clothes but maybe they are fretting over their noses or families or sadness. It is useless for me to tell you that small boobs are brilliant later on in life for you do not believe me. It is useless for me to tell you to embrace the creative aspects about yourself because that is what will make you happiest later in life for that is a lesson you will learn for the rest of your life. It is useless to tell you not to care what others think of you for you need to learn on your own terms what value and worth you bring to your friendships, relationships and community.
You need to go through the hard times. You need to feel fear, ridicule, embarrassment, anger, and resentment. If you didn’t, you would not learn to feel empowerment, acceptance, pride, joy or forgiveness either. Your path will not always be easy. You may do some bushwacking along the way. But your experience of love and loss, adventure and security, independence and community, work and creativity will strike a balance. You will find your path and sometimes that will mean you choose to wander off it. For you do not always choose the obvious way. You will choose your own way and you will know it is the right way. So enjoy it all girl. Enjoy the bad with the good and the tough with the easy. For it all makes you, it all works with you, to be who you are. You. Me. Stunning.
And as I write that it strikes me, Kaya and Brennyn will be hurt. They will have to be. When I wrote the letter to myself from the guided version in the book, I wanted to scream at myself “Do not care what others think of you! Do not be fearful of expressing your true self! Do not be self-conscious or hard on yourself! Things get better!” But of course, they only get better because of the lessons you learn having been fearful. You need to go through that for your true self to come forth. My kids are going to have to go through that. And I am going to have to sit back and watch it.