Monday, October 1, 2012
A letter to my 7 year old self......
This is you. Although you are 32 years old now, I want to remind you of a couple things. First of all Life is not fair. But then again, life doesn't promise to be fair, happy,cruel, or all that you dreamed it to be. I know right now that you aspire to be a writer/singer/artist. While most people your age are aiming for the veterinarian or doctor route, you are set in stone that you just want to share your life and be nice to people. By the way, your friend (who shall remain nameless and always called you a loser) got addicted to bath salts, acid, and coke. She lives with her enabling parents and takes advantage of them. Remember when she tried to get you to throw rocks at the "stinky boy" at the bus stop? I am proud of you for not doing it. You were heavily tempted just to fit in but in the end you felt so bad for him. Believe it or not all of just want to fit in. That is why people make fun of others who don't wear things from the Limited 2 or Gap or that hideous store 5-7-9. Your clothes were hand-me-downs. They weren't the newest or greatest or hippest clothes to wear but they kept you warm and your parents didn't have to put off paying their mortgage to impress everyone that everything was okay. Nope..no show and tell there.
Moving on I will tell you there will be some more moments that I am going to explain to you some things that may or may not make sense. Yes you are 7 but in dog years you are an adult. And you are an old soul. So if you add that together, you have the heart and mind of someone who is 60 plus years old. You worry. ALL THE TIME. You have anxiety about everything. Just the other day I remembered the time you freaked out because the little neighbor kid put lizard heads in your pool. You were scared of getting spanked because you were "supposed to put it away the night before". They stood there and laughed at you as you fished them out and cried. There was no need to cry sweet girl. As you will learn this will become the least of your worries. You are the light of your great grandfathers world and he is the light of yours. Take as much time as you can with him as his existence is limited.Don't be embarrassed to sit in his lap, hold his hand, and tell him you love him. You often take off by yourself and sing. Sometimes you sound really good and sometimes the song is so touching you cannot even get the words out. On this particular day in November you are attending the family Thanksgiving get together. There are always around 100 people there and your anxiety is at full throttle. You have an issue with hands. In your mind you imagine the old women in your family scratching their butt or going to the bathroom ..not washing their hands and making some sort of casserole where mixing involves fingers and mashing. You say your hello's and then you immediately take off. You find solace in cemeteries and you go by each headstone, say their name, and sing your best version of Bette Midler's "From a distance". You feel bad for them and wonder if they are alone. Everyone says they go to heaven but to you it just seems sad. And it is. You are scared for them and wonder if their family ever comes to visit. You see many gravestones of babies who were lost at 1 or 2 years old and you cry for them. Another thing you need to learn...don't bottle up your tears. Let them flow freely because if you hold them in they turn to anger. Something you will also learn later in life. You know...in your bitter stage. Basically, you never want anyone to feel alone like you do. You never want anyone to hurt and would literally do anything to take their pain away even if it meant you hurt even more. You know how it feels to be made fun of. To be the butt of everyone's jokes and feel as though you are all alone. You are never alone. All of us are like you. Everyone. Even if they act like they aren't. We all at some point feel lost, sad, and scared.
You have a baby sister. She looks up to you more than you know. You will teach her so many things. The best way to teach her is through example. Be her guide. Your mom cleans houses and your dad works at a convenient store.They do the best they can..with each other..with the weight of the world on their shoulders and they love you and your sister as much as possible. They will not work out in the long run. They will get divorced but that is later in your life. It is going to be hard not to blame this on one party or take sides but as I have already expressed life isn't always fair and you can either get bitter or get better. Don't get upset over this as you will notice it happens to shape who you become. At this point in your life you are starting to hate being made fun of so you play the sick card almost everyday. Which your mom always replies, " Don't you remember that award you got in first grade for having no absentees? PERFECT ATTENDANCE?? Don't you want another award?". The truth was that you DID want that award. You did want to go to school. You just wish those other kids were not there. Upward and Onward ..you did it. You went to school. Just another day.
You are now in sixth grade. You have become one of the "cool kids". You caved. You started making fun of people. Now that you chose that journey you now have unlimited access to all the coolest things. You even went to lost and found and spotted some real "keds". You hurriedly ripped the blue keds logo off the back of the shoes and glued them to the back of your Kmart version. And what do you know? You are now a fashion icon. You fit...but you don't. Because at night when you go home you feel like a monster. But what if you stopped being mean and started being the person you really were? No one would want to be friends with that girl. Trust me you had already tried many routes to making friends. This was your last resort. That or be lonely.If you only knew how drastically your life would change and how many options you really had. Someone you knew killed themselves...a total devastating incident you will always carry with you. Maybe it was because someone bullied him. You felt overwhelmed with shame and wondered if maybe you could have prevented it by being nice. That's when the ball was kind of set in motion for you to stop caring about your image.
Ahh the joys of being in middle school.. Older people...smoking pre-teens, band geeks, the jocks,and the pretty girls vs the average girls. You at this point had lost all your friends except Haley Peacock and were back in your own world. The next year you will move away so your dad can be a pastor in LaGrange and the only friend you have ever kept around your parents are taking you away from. You will hate them for a little while. You will act out. I wish I could stop you and shake you and tell you that in the latter part of your life meeting new people and listening would be your ambition. You went from being a really good kid to being grounded indefinitely. What you should have learned was that you needed to let the tears out. Cry, scream in your pillow, approach new people, and walk away knowing you were a good person. But then again your hormonal and everything would be perfect if only you were blonde and a size 0. One Sunday night you hear a message on the family answering machine. The words hit you like a ton of bricks. It was my grandfather.. "Hey guys. Just wanted to let you know that Papa Steppe passed away tonight". My WHOLE world came crashing down..this is the great grandfather that you got "too old and cool" to go visit because you are too busy making fun of people. Trying to be something that you are not. Feeling guilty about it at night and repeating those patterns during the day. You didn't have time to keep up with your friends AND Him. Regret sweeps through your body and you will still sob to this day when you think of him and all that he gave you. You will eventually forgive yourself but you are stuck in a time and space where you know you will NEVER see him again. Suddenly it all makes sense and you cannot take anything back.
Oh lord, we have made it to high school. You are working 3 jobs. Your dad and mom have divorced and you have made a few church friends who seem to embrace who you are. High school is a long 4 years but you made it through. Congrats on graduating kid. You are beautiful and smart and you never even saw it.
You meet a guy. You fall in love. Sounds perfect right? You get married then you get divorced. You refuse to allow his abuse anymore. The straw that broke the camels back might have been that 15 year old he got pregnant. She arrived at your doorstep 8 months pregnant when yall were only married for 4 months. And yes....he will have told you he was a virgin. You saved yourself for marriage also. And thats what you got??? Uhm was this a cruel joke? You get angry..very very angry..and you start drinking. Not the brightest of solutions sweet Kelly. But it temporarily takes away the pain and you feel cool again. You have a group of new friends who also like to drink through their pain and they make you laugh. You meet a new guy..things dont work out. shit happens. You are trying to find yourself so you dabble in new people and things. Those "things" don't work out either.
Finally you decide to start giving back. Volunteering. The people that you meet are just like you. You love doing this. But you have to make money to live so you get a job at a pub. As fate would have it you now have a ton of friends, a sense of belonging, and you meet your husband Tommy. You get married and it is perfect.
There may be huge details I am leaving out or maybe even sparing you but here are the things you should know. Life is not fair but you can make it worthwhile. That hate that you secretly hide inside? Its bad karma. You can choose to turn that around. You deserve to be loved..real love...the love that says to you, " Unconditional". You always knew making fun of people was wrong. You will strive for the rest of your life to be like your Papa Steppe. You will try to live with integrity. You will at sometimes reject the love people give you because you feel unworthy. You feel guilty for making fun of people. So you will be nice to everyone you meet. You will try and pay it forward every chance you get because you realize your time is limited. Papa Steppe is the greatest example of that. You will have children and they will adore you. You will teach them to accept themselves, to be kind to all, and respect life. But there is one thing I want you to know...more than anything. Your heart, your zest for life, and your way of giving to others was never a mistake. There is nothing about you that needed to be changed.Your approach just needed to be tweaked. You will realize that having friends is good but being good to all is better. Never change who you are. Allow yourself to make mistakes..own up to them and then move on. Take all that guilt and turn it around. Don't reject love and help. Accept it and never abuse it. Pay it forward every day...no matter HOW your day is going. The universe needs your love. People need care. We are all fragile creatures...and this is why you were made into the person you are...to care,love, mend, and respect.
ps- You are perfect just the way you are. Don't try being anyone else. It only cheats those around you:)