Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Dear Shirley

The other day, I found an interesting post at Writing from the Inside Out. Here's how it starts out:

Dawn tagged me with a meme called "The Letter" The idea is to write a letter to your 13 year old self. I almost passed on this one because that was a life-changing year for me, but not in a positive way. The adolescent and teen years can be painful for many of us. I would be interested to know how many people can look back at their youth and say "I had a good childhood" and how many would look back and feel like crying.

I thought today might be a good day to write just such a letter, and I also wanted to post a picture of myself at age 13. So, I went scrambling through scrapbooks and photo albums, and while I was flipping through pictures, I was thinking of what I might say to that 13 year old me. And I was also wondering when exactly it was that I "lost" the "real" me, the "special" and "wonderful" me, the "all that I can be" me and became this "other" me that I don't take very good care of. Was it before or after boarding school? Have I lost "me" and found "me" and lost "me" again? Am I lost at all? Have I ever been found? What happened? and when did it happen?

Interestingly, every time I found a picture of a time that seemed to signal the "beginning of the end" of "me being me" - it would be closely followed by a time of me stepping out of established boundaries and doing something interesting, or inspiring, or foolhardy, or brave. All the way up until the situation I find myself in RIGHT NOW, my life has consistently been a series of me taking leap after leap in the dark!

So, while I am going to write that letter to the 13 year old me, I am also going to write a letter to the right now me. It goes something like this:


Dear Shirley,

All your life you have done an admirable job of making sure that you maintain your integrity and your individuality. I am so proud of you. Yes, you get scared, and yes you often find yourself in dark places, but you persevere. You are awesome. All the astounding things you have accomplished in your life are just the beginning of what is yet to come. I know for a fact that you can do whatever it is that you set out to do. Right now you are in a nice safe little box, and it feels way too much like a box. So you have challenged yourself with debt, and you have challenged yourself with other interior obstacles because you will never be happy or comfortable in a safe little box. Go ahead and climb out of that box. Whatever you do, it won't be as terrifying as dog training school, it won't be as heartbreaking as boarding school, and it won't be as horrendous as that one year... you know the one...

So, get busy. Sell your stuff, liquidate your assets, go get your
Vardo Van. Start now on a program of regaining your physical fitness, begin now to eat right and to exercise - you are going to need to be healthy and fit when you start this next new thing. You know this is true because your intuition is telling you this, and your intuition is always right on. Remember, you don't have to do a goddamn thing unless you want to. So, pick what you want to do and do it full throttle. I support you 100%. If it comes down to us living in a cardboard box under a bridge - so be it! I still support you 100% and we'll have a hell of a time there and a lot to talk about if and when we ever get old.

I love you,
Your Best Friend Forever,

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Daniel B. said...

You Go Girl, Ya right on, You Can Do It. Anybody with as many gifts and talents as you can get their ass out of any box or frig. YOU WILL DO IT.

Two Feathers said...

I will and I am! Thank you so much for being my friend!

Changes in the wind is said...

Great advice...now just take it:)

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