How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these.George Washington Carver
Hello, Human Beans! That’s what I’m calling you all now, in case you don’t follow me on Twitter. I love a good nickname and I couldn’t come up with what to call you. A good friend of mine suggest Human Beans (because my Twitter handle is ADHD Beans) and I love it!
Anyway, it’s been a while and I’m sorry for that. Though my creative side is starting to show it’s face again, I’ve been working on other things besides the blog. Namely, my second novel. I know you’ll forgive me this.
Anyway, a quick update. I’m going a lot better, as far as depression goes. I’m still not out of the woods, but I’m writing more, feeling more motivated at work, and not spending as much time in bed. This is mostly because of an adjustment with my meds but, either way, I’m glad that I’m starting to snap out of it.
But, this post is for a different reason. For a few months, I’ve been wanting to do a letter to my younger self. I decided that I would make it a series, “Dear Amber.” I will go through and write a letter to myself in each decade of my life, letting her know all the things that no one told her back then. I hope that you enjoy it.
A Letter To My Younger Self
Dear Little Amber,
I think about you a lot. I think of the things that you went through, are still going through in the deep recesses of my brain, and I grieve. I grieve what you could have been if you hadn’t been subjected to all of the hurt. I grieve the life you should have had; the life that you deserved.
I want you to know, it wasn’t your fault. None of it, in fact. You were just a child. Even when things got really bad at the end, you were only dealing with things in the way that you would at the time with your limited life experience. Amber, you are not bad. You are not broken. You are not the reason that the family doesn’t work. None of it is your fault.
They’ll try to make you believe that it is and it might even start to work for a while. Let your anger guide you when you start to think it was you. Your anger is the part of you that knows it was wrong. It’s the part of you that knows you deserved more. But you have to be careful. If you’re not, the anger will consume you and you will spend a good portion of your young adulthood bitter and mad. Find the sweet spot. Let it spur you forward, not weigh you down.
Here’s what I know that no one else seemed to notice then; you are desperate to be loved. You want to be accepted for who you really are. You want encouragement. You want safety and protection. You don’t get a lot of that at home right now and I’m so sorry for that. I wish I could change it. I wish I could fix it for you.
For the first few years of your life you were safe and loved. You were surrounded by your parents and extended family and everyone treated you like what you were…a little kid. A person that was growing and learning; absorbing the world around you. You were held up, picked up, and taken care of. Not just physically, but you were mentally safe.
Until you weren’t.
I know what was in your heart and mind. No matter what they said, I know your intentions were true. You tried. You wanted to fit in. You wanted to be a part of the family. You didn’t want it to be your fault. You wanted to be accepted. I also know that is why it hurt so much, watching him turn his back. You were his princess. His girl.
Until you weren’t.
What I want for you, more than anything, is to find someone who can teach you to love yourself. You won’t have anyone who knows how to teach you that for a long time. Even the people who love you the most aren’t quite sure how to love themselves. It’s not their fault either. When you aren’t loved right, you never learn how to love right.
When you lost his love, you came to believe it was because your weren’t worth it. You are. You were. You always have been. It was his shortcoming, not yours.
To be sure, there are people that love you right now and if love could heal your heart, you’d be the healthiest person on the planet. Your mom, Mamaw Jerry, Mamaw and Papaw, the aunts and uncles. They all see you. They’ve always seen you. No matter what they are told, they know you aren’t bad. They love you just like you are. Cling to them when you feel your identity slipping.
What they aren’t telling you, what no one will tell you for a very long time, is that your worth doesn’t lie on how clean your bedroom floor is. You are worth more than a forgotten chore or an impulsive action. You are beautiful, creative, deep, sensitive, and strong. Stronger than you have any inkling of. You’ll amaze yourself at how strong you really are, eventually.
I won’t lie, kid. You’re in for a tough time. Someone stepped into your story and decided it was their right to give you a re-write. They (quite literally) scrambled your brain; got things all mixed up. Because of that, the darkness comes for your early. I wish I could save you from it. I wish I could find you the help you need now instead of 30 years from now. Alas, in just a few short years, it will damn near swallow you whole.
The thing I want you to remember during the darkest times is that you make it. Over and over again, you pull yourself up again and you make it. It’s not fair how many times you get knocked down. The amount of pain that you’ll have to go through isn’t fair. The fact that it will be your responsibility to do the work to heal isn’t fair. You got the shit end of the stick, kiddo.
You are a sweet, sensitive, and loving kid. The amazing thing is, they’ll never beat that out of you. No matter how hard she tried, she could never change who you truly were. She tried to convince you that you’d never be anything, that you’d never make it. But you did. You are someone and you are someone special. You’re special because, through all the bad, you never let it change you at your core.
They’ll say that you’re just being dramatic. They’ll say you’re “faking” it. They’ll say, “She only says this stuff when she’s upset.” In a desperate attempt to convince themselves that all of it is normal, they’ll dismiss your clear and ever-present unhappiness. They’ll read your personal thoughts and then use them against you. They will ignore your tears and only see your anger. They will then hold that anger up as proof that you are the one who is out of control.
It’s all a vicious game and, Amber, you can’t win. You won’t win. You don’t win. No matter what you do, what you say, how much you try…it will never be good enough. You will never be good enough in their eyes. They’ll always want more. The goal posts will always be on the move.
Here we are, a month out from our 40th birthday, and we’re still trying to heal the scars of the past. We’re still trying to convince ourselves that it wasn’t us. She would have treated us the same even if we had been a perfect child. You can’t win.
Despite that, keep your chin up. Hold tight to who you are and, damn it, love yourself. You are so cool. You’re smart and funny. You’re kind and soft-hearted. You are an old soul. You deserve your own love, even when they tell you that you don’t deserve theirs.
A day will finally come when you are in control of your own life. Don’t let their voices rattle around in your head. Don’t let old wounds hold you back from your dreams. You have so much to give this world; don’t try to fit yourself into a mold to please other people. Be yourself unapologetically. It’s the only time you’ll ever be truly happy and the only way you’ll ever find your true tribe.
I wish I could hug you. I wish I could love you. You deserved better.
Hang in there, kiddo. You’ve got a tough row to how, but you’re strong and resilient and they won’t ever beat you, no matter how hard they try.
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Love and light. Keep fighting the good fight!
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