Then I got a message asking me to participate in an outstanding blogging meme at Chosen Chaos. I enthusiastically said, “yes!” and even though I wasn’t scheduled to contribute until later in the year, being considered was more than enough to turn my negative attitude into goodness.
Jamie Walker created If I Could Turn Back Time as a way to meet new bloggers and learn some life lessons:
The meme was comprised of one question:
If you had the opportunity to sit down with your 18 year old self what would you say to her?
I thought of all of the funny things I would tell my 18 year old self and quickly typed them out. However, how many funny posts at Sperk* have you read? Zach Galifianakis is not burning up my Twitter feed with requests that I collaborate on writing a movie.
I put it away for a while. I had time.
Then I had one day.
Thinking of what and how to write my submission was difficult.
It stirred things up.
I became angry—mad at my 18 year old self, frustrated with my 42 year old self, and furious at time.
Then I wrote.
Things don’t go away without effort. One has to let them go. Then one can make room for a new outlook, a fresh perspective, a space where breathing is effortless and living feels right.
Today, Chosen Chaos is celebrating a full year of If I CouldTurn Back Time by linking up all of the bloggers who participated. My submission is below followed by a link that takes you to that link up. I encourage you to go there and spend some of your time. Each writer approached it differently. Each writer gave the reader something to hold onto that is inspiring.
If you had the opportunity
to sit down with your 18-year-old self,
to sit down with your 18-year-old self,
what would you say?
Put down that beer right now. It has caused you enough grief already and I am sure that if you stop drinking now, it will save you a lot of grief in the future. You do not need it. It just makes you seem silly and makes you a target for abuse.
Now, call your mom back and tell her you will be changing your major even though she thinks you won’t be able to succeed at anything else. Dancing is her dream, not yours. You want to be seen AND heard.
Unfortunately, your life has been based on how you appear to others and it has made you very insecure. You will never measure up to the incredible standards you have created for yourself. So, just do it. Change your major from dance to psychology.
Here comes the difficult part.
You are not crazy.
You are right.
The drinking, the eating disorder and the incredibly low self-esteem are connected. I know you have been searching with all of your might, trying to find the missing piece, trying to get it to make sense. I know you do not want to drink and you do not want to count potato chips. You want to walk into a room and confidently say, “Hello.”
The missing piece is a lost memory. You suppressed it because it was too much for your developing brain to handle. I am not sure your brain can handle it now, but I do know you’ll waste less time if you know—now.
If you need to leave school, do it.
If you need to stop talking to your mom and sister, do it.
If you need to join the Peace Corps, do it.
Whatever it takes to begin your journey of healing, do it now.
All else will take care of itself.
No need to worry about getting too old to dance. You won’t be a famous dancer. Dance for fun.
If you want to be famous, head towards that little room in the basement of the university next to the sports equipment storage—the computer lab. That’s where the money is. And yes, you are smart enough to do it.
Work on your voice. Write. Laugh. Go for a walk and write some more.
No, I’m not kidding.
That journal writing you have been doing is good stuff. It really, really is. And don’t throw away any of them. You’ll want all of your writing, even the stuff you wrote when you were eight years old.
People will hear you.
You will be heard.
It will get very lonely sometimes. But it will pass. It all does. Everything does. Darkness turns to light, sadness to joy and vice versa.
Yes, there will be darkness.
When it is especially difficult, look in the mirror and say, “I love you.”
Look at me, right now, saying, and “It wasn’t your fault.”
You will get through this.
You have survived the worst of it.
There will be light.
And I will be here, with you, always.