• Stephanie

Love Letter to My Younger Self,

Your life is your greatest lesson. How you chose live it, will vary as experiences and circumstances remain unpredictable. You will have one major choice it will be either sink or swim.  You will swim because sinking simply isn’t an option, although at times you may question this.

You won’t experience the loss of a parent from death until later in your life. You will experience a loss that is arguably more painful.  Your father will not choose you and your sisters. He will choose himself. He is consistent in this.  You will experience great relief with his absence. You will feel safe, be at ease and joy that wasn’t available with him in your early life. His demands of performance, attainment, and his temper will never be missed and they will never be forgotten. His conditioning of your family unit will haunt all of you in different and similar ways.  This will cause confusion, separation and bonding that words fail to describe. His impact runs through your veins and lurks in your bones. You will become a master magician, skillful in the art of performing under pressure, rising to the occasion and presenting yourself  in a way that appeases others. You will notice people close to you will choose to not ask too many questions. They will look away and not step in to call out all of you as the bi-products of silent isolated abuse.

In time you will navigate how to use these skills in this thing called Life.  In reflection you will find that he was in fact, one of your greatest teachers.  Through your relationship and lack thereof, you learn resiliency and this will be one of your greatest assets, trust me on this.  Because of him you will also learn to question authority and pave your own path. He will try to instill dreaming and thinking outside of the box. He won’t be around long enough to see this through, but he did plant the seed. Although it will remain dormant, it will crack open in time.

You will learn discernment.  Your father’s words and actions will rarely be connected and all together nothing involving him makes sense. You will question your sanity and learn that those who can self-reflect are not the ones to be concerned about in society.  For the 1st 1/2 of your life discernment will be challenging for you. You will understand and see people in their truest form and you discover they will fall on opposite ends of a spectrum that Will confuse you. Due to the instability of your childhood those closest to you will become frustrated with whom you spend your time and energy with. They will see there are patterns that remain constant in your choice of friends. They will encourage you to be with ones who “don’t bring you down.”  You will understand their points of view and not be able to explain your attraction to these dynamics. What none of you can see is that your life is different than there’s. With your sister’s this is largely due to the age gap, but mainly because the truth of your upbringing.  What no one wants to see is that “those people” are in fact, “your people.”  They are the people who live with single mothers, move to different apartments, worry about food, shelter and safety.  You won’t become aware of this until your 41 and when you do, it will rock your world. It will also offer a sense of peace, compassion and understanding you couldn’t tap into until your inner work was further along.  

Your mother will provide for you the best that she can with the limited resources available. You will find laughter and freedom together. You will also step into and walk in her shoes of shame.  You will revisit control and conformity in a new living arrangement with her family. You will eagerly overlook it because although it isn’t perfect you aren’t lonely and there is never a dull moment.  You will discover a different kind of family. It will feel exciting and loving and you will absorb all the positive aspects. It will get you through the next phases of your life.  

With this new family you will also be introduced to silence and shame.  Your first night at the dinner table, while your mother is at work you will be put into your place with the power of intimidation from a yet another man.  Although your heart feels as though is will split open and shatter into a million pieces the adrenaline from past family explosions keeps you in the flight or fight response. You recognize there isn’t any yelling and wonder if the shouting was less confusing? Regardless you are resilient and conform to your newest reality. You understand you are to be seen and not heard and to never question the authority.  Again, this one will feel unbearable at times and you will know that despite the dysfunction it is better than what you had prior and you truly don’t have any choice. You will want so desperately to be accepted into this family that you will try anything to do so for years to come.  

What you realize at too young of an age is that because you are your father’s daughter and your mother made choices that they did not approve of (she questioned authority), you realize that you are very much a representation of a  living breathing sin. You will not be alone in this experience as your sisters are reminders, too. This one will be tough to swallow and the 3 of you will see this truth and know that together the 3 of you are never truly alone. This experience will ignite deep study and exploration for spirituality for years to come, it will all be OK.

You will want someone to talk to who will offer an explanation to what is happening in your life. Where and how did it go wrong? Why doesn’t anyone speak the truth, speak at all? Why does your mother’s family hate your father and why is he even more hateful of them? Where is love and you will wonder if you belong anywhere? People will tell you that you’re too young to understand and this will be insulting.  You will notice they talk about your life and their whispers will cease as you walk into a room.  You will learn to monitor facial expressions and body language.  You will think that it seems easier to be spoken to instead of about, but this was the best they could do.  They will believe  they are protecting you and you will feel that they are failing. You will learn that relatives want to keep things light and although may ask you how you are, they only accept “good”.  Any other answer is quickly dismissed, this will be painful.

You will think drinking alcohol is what families do. This will become a problem for you as you are innately someone who craves a tribe to belong to.  You will move through this and again learn that family has zero tolerance to hold your space when you are anything but “good”. It is then you accept that family has failed you when you needed it most and you are left wondering what this all means?

Your sisters will be influencers in your life.  They will not understand parts of you, and you will realize that your journeys share the same root system and that your branches all grow in their unique direction.  They will leave you in childhood. You will understand they are older and not feel angry and the pain of their departures will never leave. It will feel like everyone you loved left, except for your Mother. You will cling to with all that you can. This attachment to her will not serve you when it is your time to blossom. She will naturally move on first. You will understand this in your mind and it will feel like the ultimate betrayal. Again, no one will understand the fear that lives inside of you, especially yourself. The two of you will figure this out. It will be messy and confusing.  You will forever share a secret society that no one will ever understand nor is capable of penetrating. This will last forever.

There will come a time when nothing makes sense and anger is all that you know.  You will quit all things you love. People will worry deeply for you and not know what to do.  You will make it through this, but barely.  You will consciously step into abusive relationships, toxic environments and actively reject opportunities you earned.  This will be misunderstood. You cannot explain your actions and are fully aware that it doesn’t make sense and there simply isn’t any other way.

You will later discover that it was the silent judgment, social bias that you no longer tolerated. In the present time all you can do is survive and observe. You see that in your groups and activities you are the only one with a single mother, living in an apartment, worried about the car that just broke down and seriously concerned how the monthly bills will be paid.  You will be surrounded by people who own multiple homes and  complain about the price of granite they purchased for their second one. These conversations will infuriate you. You will wonder what they will do if they actually have a real problem? You will exercise what you learned long ago, to smile and blend in. You are aware that you mostly have hand- me-downs. You won’t have a problem with this and that they most certainly will!

People will say you quit. You will know that you never belonged in the first place.

You will wake one day and realize the cost it takes to try and blend in is far too high.  You will be tired, and you will have no other choice but to walk away.

Your actions will appear to be selfish, ridiculous and stupid. Words like unruly, out of control, insane, ridiculous, rebellious and wild will be tossed around to describe you.  You will be put on a bus to your sister and she will be left with the task of deciding what to do with you next.

What no one realized, not even yourself is that this was one of your greatest moments in reclaiming your voice and ending the silence and shame.  Of course, this won’t be acknowledged because actions speak louder than words, and you didn’t have any fucking words for this insane life and your actions didn’t make sense to anyone. No one truly wanted to see your pain they wanted to forget the past and said things like “that’s behind us”.  They won’t realize it most certainly is not behind you.

This was your personal revolution, calling bullshit out and ending this false life, quitting the lies, shame, prejudices, and inferiority.  You will have had ENOUGH and you will not know what to do with any of it. Again, all you can do is to turn away and keep swimming, even though you don’t know what exactly it is from or where it is to.

It will take you years to process this, maybe lifetimes.  I will promise you this, you will experience peace that you never dreamed possible. Freedom that seemed unattainable, strength that will make others uncomfortable.  You will no longer feel responsible to tend to people who find your truth telling hurtful.  People will get defensive and it will be crystal clear that this is their work to do and no longer yours!

With each layer of uncovering and unearthing you move through you will experience grief and pain and discover self-love, truth and acceptance that others will be threatened by.  You will find your own kind of tribe. You will bring your sacred medicine to the world. Your past is your future super power, and no one can take this from you.  You will have experienced loss that doesn’t seem fair and joy that is unimaginable.. It will be through a 2-year period of Priestess Path when you discover a language to your past. The word you never thought to use or that applied to you, perhaps because too painful is CLASSISM. This will be your worst nightmare and greatest healing.

You are beautiful on the inside. Your soul shines brighter the darker the situation. You not only experience forgiveness, it becomes the gateway to your life of compassion and love.

You are worthy. You are strong. You are loved. You can attain anything you dream up and it is time to dream bigger than survival.

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