Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Dear 15-Year Old Me

*I'm a fan of Chatting at the Sky, and over there Emily has a book releasing this week. Graceful is written for teenage girls, and Emily challenged her readers to write a letter to their teenage self, so, here's mine.*

Dear 15-Year Old Me,

I will just come right out and say it: Life will not always be as hard as it is in this moment.

Some day you won’t have to tiptoe around wondering if it is a “good day” or a “bad day”, waiting for the words to come out of her mouth to know if you should have stayed hidden and avoided contact altogether.

SOME DAY the entire happiness of the home you live in will not hinge on your every action. You will be able to simply BE YOU without carrying the weight of everyone’s happiness on your shoulders (you never did, anyway, but how could you have known?).

And for a while, it will be so hard.

You won’t know what to do when people are just people and sometimes they feel like talking and sometimes they don’t. It will take you a long time to understand that people in the “real” world (read, emotionally healthy, or at least more emotionally healthy than your stepmom) don’t use silence to punish. Sometimes they simply need some time alone or don’t feel like talking.

And all that anger you feel? It is gonna come out fast and strong.

And it will scare you.

And it will scare those around you.

And a lot of people won’t be able to handle it at first.

But some of those most scared by it will become your strongest and truest friends as they stand by while you walk the path toward healing.

All that fear you have about your future? About wanting to be sure you know every detail of what degree you will get and what career you will have just so you can make sure you can provide for yourself and get out of HERE?

It will all be alright. In fact, it is okay that right now you don’t know. It is okay for you to just start living through each moment. The same God that has gotten you through these days has amazing things in store for you. You won’t get there right away, and some days it may seem like you are just jumping from one job to the next, but it will all come together in ways you will never imagine.

And it will be SO GOOD.

And that husband you already think you want? And that family you dream of having? Go easy on them. They are beautiful and amazing blessings, but you may be surprised when being a stay at home mom isn’t the perfect dream you’d always thought. As with all things, it will take patience and hard work and a lot of stamina. You’ll do just fine, but you’re going to have to be okay with not always being the best. And some day you may have to accept that God has a vocation in mind beyond what you are doing right now. And that is okay, too.

So that moment-by-moment fear that you have right now that if you take one wrong step you will destroy the equilibrium and all hell will break loose?

That’s not real life. In real life people just simply live. And love. And make mistakes. And forgive. And try again.

And some day you will live in that world.

In fact, you really could live there right now. But I know how hard that is. I remember trying. I remember the words and the manipulation and the isolation and how it all got a lot worse for a while so you just would rather not break things when they are good.

So the best I can do is to say … IT ENDS!

Someday it will all be over and it will seem like a story of someone else’s life. Not merely a chapter of your life, but a whole different book.

And on that day, you damn well better be thankful for the life you have – every potty-training-pee-pee-on-the-kitchen-floor, wild-children-chasing-through-the-house, everybody-needing-you-all-at-once-and-only-one-you-to-go-around minute of it.

Because THIS is real life, and it is beautiful.