To my 22 year old self:
I want to start with this-you are an amazing, gifted, young lady. You walk tall and you look the world in the eye. You smile big and let little offend you or shake you. People see you as beautiful and full of life. They draw near you to be around your carefree, positive spirit. They lean on you for strength and you are willing to help them. You are good with people and you try very hard to accommodate their needs. But I know you, you are a performer and you are drained by pretending that you are strong, when in the corner of your room you cry. You are uncertain, betrayed, embarrassed, and angry….and no one knows.
Life is not easy right now. You feel that the foundation you have built your life on has fallen from under you. You are uncertain where to place your trust. Your family no longer actively pursues the gospel. What your parents have taught you does not seem to apply to them anymore. What are you to think of their teachings? Do you trust them? Do you obey them? In addition, the divorce has left you leery of everything your family has stood for. What is a family? What is my family to me? Is this the beginning of lost relationships and “different ways?” Do you have security? Safety? Love? Is it a “fend for yourself” situation? I know these are your thoughts and rightfully so. But I am here to tell you, it will be okay. This is actually the beginning of strength, support, unbreakable bonds, love and ironically…unity within your family. And although your family will always be your strength, they will not be your foundation and that’s okay. We are not a traditional family and we are not perfect, but we are a family and we love each other. Remember to share your life with them; they will be your strength. They will hold you up, build you up. Each one of them…every individual in your family supports you in your decisions. They may not agree at times, but they support you and they never pull you down. They genuinely want you to be happy and this becomes more evident as you get older. They will be the one consistent, reliable support in your life….your backbone.
Listen to your mother. She is usually right. Seldom do you agree with her the first time; she is eccentric to you at first glance. But as you sit in your room and process her thoughts and theories, you manage to pull truths from what she says. She is wise and she knows you very well. If nothing else….just listen. She becomes the voice in your head telling you “you can do it”. Encouraging you to take that step and any thought that comes to your mind is not too big for you to accomplish in her eyes. She is your personal Nike commercial…Just Do It! She is your biggest fan. She has much pride in you. Her love will make you feel accomplished and will build your self esteem as the years go on.
As for relationships: You have spent the last four years fighting for someone’s love. You have placed trust in him and he has failed you. Your best friend turned into your worst nightmare. You needed his approval and you lost yourself trying to get it. You allowed yourself to be used and abused for this man’s conditional love. You lost your soul and today you feel it. You feel ugly and unworthy of love. Your heart has never been more shattered by one person that it has by this man, even to this date. You found a deep hate, unfortunately for yourself. But this year you found a way to begin your journey away from him. I am not sure where you found the strength, but you found it. It is new for you today, and very difficult. But I am very proud of you. It is the best decision you have made. However, as a result of this decision you lose many of your close friends. You start over alone. And I am proud to say, it is a permanent decision. You never go back. Unfortunately, your hurt causes you to become calloused and once again you are at a loss of where to place your trust. Where do you build your foundation?
Regardless of your lack of trust, you find people to be fascinating; you learn so much of who you are through these people. You are not quick to judge, but you are quick to forgive. You will be criticized for this character trait…ignore them and forgive anyway…it is an attribute that has blessed you with good people in your life and less drama. Naturally, you admire each individual person for who they are and try to breathe in what it is they have to offer you. However, you learn that people come in and out of your life, and very few of them stay. Don’t be upset by this…it is just a matter of fact. Transition is a part of life and you do all you can to help people with new transitions. You are blessed to have them in your life for that short time, but also know they will move on. Be happy for them, you’ll find joy in that. You learn to enjoy the company you have, but you never expect loyalty from them. As a result, you are nonchalant with your friendship/relationships…never fully attached. People mistake it for independence…even you mistake it for independence. You might even hurry people to “transition” before you get too attached. However, don’t be quick to push them out; there will be few who surprise you and never leave you.
This is a year of self-reflecting, which sucks…I’ll be honest. But it brings about an inner strength. You find your foundation within yourself. You identify your belief system…in religion, within yourself, and of others. This is a push start to uphill achievements. You hit many obstacles, have thoughts and insecurities that test you, but because of your new foundation/belief system you overcome such trials. And one day, you self-reflect and will genuinely say, “I’m proud of you.” Stick to your belief system, it is your stability. Keep your family close; they are your backbone, without them you are weak. And learn from your friends; they are your examples.