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
You can still sign up to get the prompt emails over here
thank you for sharing this Susannah, I’m heading to the end of my thirties and feeling more together than before. I’m looking forward to exploring my forties.
Thank you for April Love – I’m actually writing poetry for the first time in my life! I don’t think I would have done that without your prompt!
Oh, I love this!
Thank you for sharing this, Suzi! So very sweet and kind! What an amazing example for how all of us can treat ourselves compassionately. Deep gratitude for you!
Oh, my heart. Susannah, thank you for sharing, again, and always, the truth of how it feels to be human – and for modeling such fierce kindness toward your self. It’s an inspiration.
Oh I adore this.
So sweet! I resonate with some of the same feelings. So nice to grow up!
To be human is to relate, even though our journeys may look very different. I so admire and appreciate your honesty and vulnerability, thank you. I’m also in my 40’s and feel very connected to your thoughts on this part of your life. My biggest revelation over the past several years, is how sensitive (highly) I am. Embracing this side of myself has been liberating and empowering, and I too sense a new me on the horizon. I wish you the best!
Oh my goodness Susannah. So much of this resonates so deeply with me- especially your 30 year old self and 40 year old self. Thank you so, so much for sharing. When I entered my 40s last year, it seemed there where very few people who spoke the same language as me. Who were processing the same feelings as me-loving this stage of life, but also realizing it’s maybe not how we had imagined it being. Not being regretful one bit, and loving this crazy life, but also processing the sadness of some things that are not going to happen. Finding your voice and words are a breath of fresh air.
Susannah, how refreshing and honest. Such compassion you have for all of you. You have learned well from your younger selves and it is a force to be reckoned with that not everything we imagined will come to be in our lives. I love the way you express gratitude and inform us all with your hard earned wisdom.
An absolutely beautiful blog post. Thank you for sharing x
Oh my goodness! So beautiful and tender and brilliant. This was amazing!! I’m always amazed when I meet 30-year-olds who aren’t a hot mess — they’re like unicorns to me. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
As with all of your writing, this is beautiful and tender and touching. What a wise woman you have become, thanks to all your younger selves!
They are! (that really made me laugh :-) xx
Thank you, Sue :-) xx
[…] not quite ready to share my responses publicly, but Susannah has. Two of her responses can be found here and […]
Well thank you for making my eyes leak a little – these beautifully wonderful words resonated so much with me that they brought out my (equally) tender self. She hasn’t been around for long, so she still takes me by surprise! I’ve just turned 46, and sometimes I wonder what on earth took me so long to embrace, love & make peace with every single version of younger me. May your words find their way to all young women who spend their time hating themselves like I did, so that they can circumnavigate the pathway back to full self-love x
So clear, so light, so beautiful – you’re a doll. Good luck with the househunt – I hope you find a totally magical one! x
Beautiful Helen, how synchronous you are here too! What a magical day :)))) Much love x