When I look at my daughter, I see my younger self. There are so many things I want to tell her, advice I want to share, and pain I wish I could take away in advance. In many ways, I'm talking to my younger self through her, and becoming a mother has been a healing process. If I could say anything to the girl I once was, it would go something like this....
Dear Younger Me,
Let me start by telling you that things will work out, and you will navigate through all of it, the good and the bad, but there's no way around the mess that is life.
You will spend way too much time trying to fit some mold that doesn't exist. Doing things to please other people will become second nature. There will be sleepless nights worrying about every untruth told about you and trying to figure out how to change the things other people don't like. You will even start to believe the lies. You will have regret over things you did just to fit in with people who didn't even deserve you.
You will play small for so long, selling yourself short time and time again. The noise of voices who do not matter will dictate your self-worth for longer than it should. Some relationships will break your heart, some more than once. You will learn the hard way that words are cheap.
Your faith in people will be tested over and over. There will be times you feel as though you don't have a real friend in this world, and it will be really hard. Loyalty and the idea of anybody staying will be a foreign concept.
You will try so hard to drink your feelings away, becoming a version of yourself you don't even recognize. The binging and partying will be fun, but the bad decisions will linger like a nasty hangover.
You will have a fancy, big house and new cars and your own room full of trendy stuff, but none of that will be enough to drown out the sounds of yelling and hitting at night. You will wish you could give it all up for peace.
You will worry that you will never find real love. You will settle for less, convinced that's as good as it's going to get. The idea of real love will feel so out of reach.
As you get older, you will learn not to be so hard on yourself for the many mistakes made. You will learn to embrace your insecurities and that your worth does not depend on how deep a boy desires you.
Don't be afraid to speak up. Finding your voice and inner strength will take time, but you will get there.
You will learn to forgive the ones who mistreated you, leaving the hurt and resentment in the past where it belongs. It will hurt like hell, but you will never give up on love.
You will never have a large circle, but instead a deep appreciation for the small circle of friends and family. It will be solid. They will be the type of friends you never knew existed, and they will love you so well.
When the party is over and the bar closes down, you will deal with the feelings you couldn't bury in the bottom of a bottle. You will resurface and your head will be clear. Sobriety will come when you least expect it. She will call you "mama" and you'll look at life from a new perspective.
You will learn that all of the money in the world ain't worth your happiness. True value is not measured in material things. This will help you understand the importance of setting boundaries and protecting your peace at all cost.
You will find a deeper love than you could ever have imagined. He will be kind and caring and reliable. You will finally have security and real love, and he will show you that it's possible for someone to stay.
Your life will be so rich, not in money or things, but in your ability to appreciate who you are and what you have. In order to get there, you have to go through it all. The bad stuff will be a reminder of just how overwhelmingly great the good stuff really is.
More than anything, you will make peace with yourself.
What would you tell your younger self?