This will probably come as no surprise to many of you but I have spent a great deal of time in therapy. After my divorce and losing my brother, I started weekly visits to Barb. We had a good run together. Four years. A success. The one thing I can still hear her saying, all these years later, is “Maybeth, you must nurture that sad little girl inside of you. What would you say to her today.” Nearly four years since my last visit to Barb, I finally came up with the words to say to my younger self. Hopefully you will find some peace in these words too.
Who would have thought we would come this far and end up back 30 miles out to sea. Remember when we left and said we would never return. Funny how plans always seem to change. I was having a conversation with my dear friend Liz last week and we were talking about what we would say to our younger selves to help us today. What I can tell you is this… love yourself. To realize that indeed you are good enough, you are smart enough and you are beautiful inside and out will change you. When I think back to all those years I never allowed myself to enjoy food or indulge in a sweet treat because I didn’t think I was thin enough, I am just sad. Good news, we have finally made up for it! Enjoy life and eat dessert first, as my favorite bakery suggests. Life is far too short to worry about those calories. But do remember to be kind to your body. Nourish it. Eat your leafy greens and yogurt and try to shy away from soda and processed foods. We really are what we eat.
After learning to love and accept yourself the next exciting but sometimes challenging act is finding that certain someone who makes your heart skip a beat . Little May, please know you should never, ever be with someone who doesn’t treat you like the true gift you are. Don’t settle. Don’t stay with a man because you are afraid of being alone. And don’t try to force someone into loving you. When someone shows you their true colors, pay attention. People can certainly grow and change over time but know you will never be the force to change that person. Be patient, my dear. There are wonderful ones out there. Until you meet him, date. Meet people. Awful dates give you something to talk to your girlfriends about, I promise. They also help you figure out what is really important in that life partner. Here is a hint… it’s not just about looks. Find the one who makes you laugh!
Speaking of girlfriends, spend a great deal of time nurturing these relationships. Boyfriends will come and go, your family will sometimes disappoint, but your girlfriends will always be there. A weekend away with the ones who know you best is always a good thing.
Little May, I know you still carry around a great deal of pain over your childhood. Know that Mom and Dad did the best they could at the time. Life is never as black and white as we think. We need to get comfortable with the gray. And know, everyone’s family has their complications. You are not alone in this. Learn to accept your parents and your siblings for the unique and wonderful people they are. Will they let you down? Of course. And you know what, you may do the same to them. It’s ok.
Please try to not be so perfect. Life is all about the struggle. Everyone is trying to figure it out just like you. Our mistakes and imperfections are what make us who we are and you know what, you are pretty great. And don’t always look for the answers. Sometimes they aren’t always clear. As one of my favorite quotes go… “Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.” Some of the best advice I could give you.
So hang in there. If you are feeling down one day, that’s ok. Be true to your feelings. Honesty really is the best policy.
Love to you always. I promise there are great things ahead!