A Letter To My 5 Year Old Self

Dear Michele,

I am writing this to you just as I turn 39 years old. That’s an eternity to you, a whole 34 years, so you probably think I’m super old. But I don’t feel old, and I’m just the age that mom is now. It all went by so very fast though. If you get anything from this letter, it is to learn to appreciate each and every moment, good and bad, and to grow from them.

A Letter to My 5 Year Old Self

Things in life won’t be super easy for you. You are just starting to realize that you are taller than everyone else. Like taller than all the boys and all the girls. It’s going to be that way until the end of high school, and you really won’t even feel “normal” until you are in college. College seems to be filled with a lot more tall girls. But all through elementary and middle school you will be the tallest, and by a lot. You WILL get made fun of left and right, boys will refuse to dance with you at the school dances, and you won’t feel cool. Kids (and some adults even) don’t like things that they don’t perceive as the same as them and they can be so very mean. They make fun of you because it makes them feel more important. It’s virtually impossible for you to understand now that they aren’t any more special nor cooler than you and that they have their own issues, but you’ll realize that when you are my age. Try your best to dig deep inside yourself to develop confidence. Confidence that won’t be shattered by someone making fun of you or by getting rejected. I know it will be hard – it will be one of the hardest things you ever do. But it is so important for you to do that because if you don’t you will carry the sting of rejection and the fear of being different with you for 34 more years. It will invade into every aspect of your life and will cause fears and limiting beliefs that you never would even associate with being tall. It is a hard burden to bear when you are so young, but please know that you will grow into a beautiful woman, all those weird awkward limbs will finally seem to fit, and you will push your body to do things you can hardly even wrap your head around right now (birthing 2 babies and doing 3 Ironmen triathlons are some examples). Know that clothes manufacturers will FINALLY get the message that there are tall women when you are around 20 years old and that if you learn to sew your own clothes you can customize things to fit you perfectly. And also know that being tall has some great advantages such as being able to get things up high, being mistaken as a model several times, and when they finally do figure out the whole tall clothes thing, clothes hang really nicely on you. You are an amazing kid who has curiosity about everything, is super smart, tries really hard, cares so much about others, loves to laugh, and loves to have fun. You are truly special and don’t let anyone tell you differently. Anyone who does is either jealous or confused about themselves.

Enjoy every moment you have with mom. She will be taken away from you much sooner than you had expected. She will be able to see you get married, which will make her visibly happy, but she won’t make it long enough to meet your own kids. This will break your heart into a million pieces and not a day will go by when you don’t wish she was there for you. Every time you have a question about what to do with your kids you will feel the pang of loss and your own birthday will be a hard day to get through as she always worked really hard to make it special for you. But you will also learn so much from her, and also learn so very much from her death. Sometimes our darkest hours bring about profound change that we would not otherwise have made. And mom’s death will cause you to set a totally different course in your health, enriching your life and the lives of your family in so many ways.

Oh, and by the way, also know that when she yells at you or corrects you she is not doing so out of malice. She just wants you to be a normal, functioning member of society and you are pushing the boundaries on that. Trust me, you’ll learn this lesson as you raise your kids and you’ll feel a lot of guilt about how you told her you hated her and slammed the door on her. What you are feeling is totally normal, it just hurts to not be able apologize to her.

Like I said, life won’t always be super easy for you. But you are going to have some pretty great moments, you are going to laugh a lot, travel far, and you are going to learn so much about yourself and the world around you. You will (at least up until you turn 39) have a good life. You will have moments where it doesn’t feel good, where you make some pretty big mistakes, where you feel like everything is coming crashing down on you, where you feel completely stuck, and where you want something completely different, but push through them because the other side is pretty fantastic. Learn to laugh at yourself because that takes away all the powers that bullies and mean people have over you. Know that cookie-cutter, same old people are boring. Being unique, being YOU is better. Most of all, learn to love yourself and then no one will have any power to knock you down. Tall girls rule!

Love,

You at 39

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