• jaedakotapoetry

hey you, it’s me; let me tell you, we turn out okay

“Dear past me, you’ve got this. Love, future you.”

- Unknown


Hi friends! I had a great conversation with someone very close to me lately and that’s what sparked my interest in this post. I’m sure all of us as we have gotten older have wished we could talk to our younger selves to either give advice or reassurance about how life turns out.

Maybe you want to tell them that the heartbreak they are experiencing will go away and they will meet someone even better. Maybe you want to tell them that they will eventually pick a career choice and end up with one they love. Maybe you want to tell them that the friends they have will still be their friends, years down the road. There are so many things that when we’re younger we may worry or wonder about and sometimes it would be nice if we could go back and tell them, “it all turns out okay”. What’s something that first comes to mind that you wish you could tell your younger self?

For me there are a lot of things I wish I could go back and tell my younger self. I wish she knew how many close relationships she was going to build with friends and family. That her support network will grow exponentially. I wish she knew that it’s okay to feel the way she feels about some aspects of her life. And honestly, I wish she knew that when things seem like they won’t get better, they will.

As I’ve discussed in previous posts, I was diagnosed with anxiety in high school. Looking back on that time, I remember how I felt at certain times and about aspects of my life, but I couldn’t remember specific details or events about it. You’ve all heard that saying by Maya Angelou,

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

This quote is very accurate. I’m sure there are times in our life where we don’t remember specifically what happened or what was said, but we remember that feeling we had when it did. Sometimes it can be a happy memory, something that warmed us from the inside out. Maybe it was a memory that made you hot with anger and you can almost feel the steam rolling out of your ears again. Or maybe it was a feeling of sadness, making you feel the tears start to well up. Everyone has different memories, feelings, and experiences and I think that’s what makes us all unique and great to learn from. As we always talk about, everyone’s story is different and I would like to share mine.

As discussed, I don’t remember certain events or memories of high school or when my anxiety started. All I remembered was that it was a scary time and I felt nervous a lot of the time. Recently, I went back and read my old therapy notes from ten years ago to get a better understanding of what I was going through back then. As I was reading, I started having all of those old feelings come back up. The anxiety started creeping in, the feeling of fear drifted in, along with the sadness that felt all too familiar. You see, growing up I didn’t have the best relationship with my father. It wasn’t that he was a bad guy. He had a lot of friends and was loved very much by his family. Unfortunately, he was an alcoholic and, we believed, had an undiagnosed personality disorder. Basically, my dad was a good guy who cared, he just didn’t know how to interact correctly with our family. I kind of used to understand it as “he loved us in the only way he knew how”. At that time, issues such as these in families just weren’t talked about, so no one really knew how to handle them. Everyone in my family created their own coping mechanisms to deal with it and I didn’t know how to. Being that age and having that relationship with him, I felt that he didn’t love me like I thought a father should. It was hard back then feeling that way. As years went on and I learned coping mechanisms and more about myself, I was able to understand the situation much better and with clearer eyes. My father wasn’t a bad guy. He had a disease or disorder just like others do and he loved me in the only way he knew how.

When I re-read those old therapy notes, it made me start to feel the same feelings that sad, little 17 year old felt. It amazed me how after ten years of learning coping mechanisms and coming to a place of contentment with the relationship I had with my dad, that the 17 year old in me still had those sad feelings towards the subject. When I started having those old feelings, I talked to a friend of mine to try and process what I was feeling. She asked me something that took me aback. She said, “what would you tell your younger self.” It stopped me in my tracks so to speak. But instantly, I said something like, “I would tell her that ‘he does love you, but he can’t help how he shows it”. I felt much better as soon as I said that. It made me realize how far I actually have come with my anxiety and ability to understand situations. Back then, everything was messy and scary and I didn’t understand anything. Having the ability to look back and look past my own emotions and truly understand everything going on at that time helped me reprocess how I felt back then. My younger self would be proud.

dear younger me

i know things seem scary

or maybe uncertain

but I want you to listen to me

things won’t always be easy

some days will seem hard

but you have no idea

the amazing things there are

the relationships you grow

deep like a root in the ground

help guide you through the pain

and you have the best support around

you lose some people

others come into your life

but the biggest thing you gain

is a better understanding of yourself

I know it doesn’t seem like it

when things get really blue

but trust me, you make it

love, future you

- letter to my younger self

What’s a situation where your younger self would be proud of you for? Maybe you graduated college with a great degree. Maybe you found your soulmate and are happily married. Maybe you have children that you love more than anything. Or maybe you’re like me and have been working on yourself to be a better person and that’s enough.

I encourage you to write a letter to your younger self and tell them what you feel would have helped you at that age. Again, thank you all for reading my post and let’s continue on this journey together. Stay tuned, friends.

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