Dear 6-year-old me
I wish I could remember being you. I watch my nephew and I see his bravery and exuberance and I wonder: was I like that? I’m not sure if I was.
Dear 11-year-old me
For a long time I was ashamed of you, which is ridiculous — you were so vulnerable and scared. But I see that your vulnerability lives on in me, and it took a long time to realise that when I shunned you, I shunned the tenderest parts of myself. You had to grow up so fast and didn’t have the skills that that required. I truly wish I could go back in time and wrap you up in my arms and kiss your forehead. I try to do this for myself now. I try very hard, and I do it for you.
Dear 20-year-old me
Oh my love, what a screwed up hot mess you were, and I love how, despite that, you forged ahead with what you wanted. You knew, even back then, where you were supposed to be heading. We couldn’t have predicted what actually went down, which is probably just as well as you were in no way ready to be that person, but thanks for following the urge to go to art college. Thanks for being your tie-dyed, whisky-drinking, tarot-card-toting self. There was so much to be healed, but there would be time for that later. I’m glad we had all those years in the darkroom. I’m glad we found our creative calling, even if it did have a few twists and turns before we found our place.
Dear 30-year-old me
Susannah, Susannah, Susannah. Thank you for being brave enough to leave him, even if it did take six months of red wine and endless talks. That year was brutal, and the years that followed didn’t get any better did they. It wasn’t the start to our 30s I would have chosen, but now I look back I recognise the threads that wove the path we stepped on the day we sent that email. And then a fire burnt down our life at 32 — we had no control over that. Somehow — I’m still not sure how — we survived, and more than that, we thrived. I’m so proud of you for healing all that you did. It was a cellular regeneration, my love, and I feel it to this very day. We regrew our skin. We were born again, stronger, braver, and so incredibly tender I now cry at the smallest thing. There is no barrier between my emotions and the world, and it is my superpower. Thank you for birthing it for me.
Dear 40-year-old me
You were right. I’m three years in and I can authoritatively report that our 40s are just as empowering as you felt they were the day we turned 40. There are a few things we’re probably not going to experience in this lifetime, and I know you were still hoping they would happen, but I don’t think they will. The more steps I take through this decade of our life, the clearer the path becomes. I’m processing some sadness about this, I won’t lie — but I also have this new clarity that’s propelling me forward towards other possibilities, pieces of the puzzle I hadn’t seen when I was you. I hear my future self calling me, and she is smiling. She is happy. I’m on my way to meet her right now.
To all my younger selves: thank you. I love you bigger than the moon and the stars.
For the April Love 2016 prompt: Dear younger me
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