One of the beauties of the blogosphere is the accidental side trip. I read Tea & Cookies. She posts something a few days ago that absolutely moves me. She wrote a letter to herself…her 20 year old self. She got the idea from Cassie, who opened up the invitation to her readers and received many letters written by women to their 20 something year old selves. Cassie also posted Tea & Cookie’s letter. All the letters are amazing. It is worth an evening reading through them. It made me wonder what I would say to my 20 year old self. What sage wisdom would I give to myself? I thought I would give it a try.
The most important thing you need to know is that you end up being a fabulous mother. I know that right now you think you lack any maternal instinct, but pregnancy was absolutely magical and terrifying at the same time. And then another person comes out of you and something shifts. It is like Pangaea breaks up and you become a whole new world. And you have two sons that are really great people! You are a bit neurotic with the first baby and you make things harder on yourself than they have to be. I want you to believe in yourself and ignore the critics. You have great intuition about so many other things; trust your intuition with regards to motherhood. You are absolutely right about having the babies sleep in with you. And nursing was also really perfect. It may have been what finally convinced you that you can be enough for someone.
And on that note, I wish I knew how to convince you to believe in yourself. You have this capacity to aim at a target and by sheer drive and persistence, you reach the goal. I want you to be confident that you can do these things. Stop doubting yourself. You waste so much of your energy second guessing yourself. You are a formidable woman. Even today, that feels like a heavy moniker. But let me assure you….it is a good thing. It intimidates some people. And alot of people will not have positive first impressions of you. Stop worrying about it. You have a great heart. But you are somewhat of an acquired taste. It is okay to be different.
Stop feeling so awkward. Trust me, you are not. And stop ignoring your gender. Being a woman and being feminine is absolutely compatible and complimentary to being intelligent and successful. Fight for yourself. Stop apologizing for being “too much”. You’re NOT! It is just that some people are not enough. All those women’s studies classes are worth it. Hang out with the lesbians and feminists more, it’s where you learn to be more open and accepting.
It is terrific to be as good at so many things. When Madge Nobel said you’d be a Jack of all trades and a master of none….she was wrong! You are really good at many things and we haven’t stopped learning yet. Thank you for your fearless curiosity. The Bon Appetit subscription that came to Letts Hall was a great choice. Thank you! It was so much more beneficial than the Cosmo. And thanks for being such an avid reader. We still devour books. But try to read more of the classics. I am doing that now and I think some of these stories would have been good to have with me along the years.
Don’t stop exercising. In another year or so, you rip up your knee distance running in Rock Creek park. It sounds like it is filled with pea gravel now. And exercise even if you have to do it alone. It is not a selfish thing!
I can’t lie. It gets rough for a while. Really rough. Somedays, you will wonder why. Why bother? We get tired. Bone tired. Tired on a cellular level. In the center of that profound fatigue, we hit a stillpoint. It is like a reset button. Trust your heart. Listen for God. I know you don’t have much faith right now, at least not in any structured way. You find it. And it comes like a divine gift with your sons. We have a really deep and abiding faith now and it is still not very structured. All the bullshit is stuff we can handle. You will have doubts, colossal doubts. Just be patient and stop trying to make things happen. You are not responsible for everything. And it gets better….ALOT BETTER.
Thanks for learning how to shotgun a beer at the Phi Sig house. It is a good skill to have and will impress your sons one day. Thanks for raising your hand and asking questions. Thanks for going toe-to-toe with Dr. Saltzman. He is a prick, but you will learn more medicine from him than anyone. And by squaring off and taking his hits you earn his respect, which he is quite stingy with. Thanks for being a bit wild. Biting off buttons and loft apartments in Georgetown and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Few things can replace Anthony Kedis in a gym sock. The college job at Sutton Place was uber smart, too. Push harder to go to the Galapagos Islands. A passport at 22 would have been awesome!
I will apologize now for not protecting us. I will promise you that I make it better. I will keep making it better. Enjoy the ride, sweety!
Love, Your 40 something year old self.