A Monologue to My past Self
I know the past is the past and it cannot be relived, but I thought I’d write a letter (more like a monologue) to my past self, saying all of the things that I wish I could have said to myself back then while also sharing a loosely told version of my life story. My hope is that by this writing letter (monologue), I may be able to help someone in a similar situation. So here goes everything!
Quick Disclamer: I write about some pretty heavy stuff in this post that may be triggering to some individuals. Please proceed with caution.
Dear 13-Year-Old Me,
M I D D L E S C H O O L
You don’t have to pretend to be someone you’re not. We always did have the hardest time with attention. The reason why is still a mystery to me, but attention – both good and bad – won’t fill that hole in your life. That hole, the thing you continue to try to fill with worldly things can only be filled with the grace of God, but we don’t learn that until much later.
You are worthy of love and joy and happiness. People come and people go. I know it seems like the world is ending. I know that gut-wrenching feeling that you felt that night and for many nights after. I know it feels like the world is ending, but it keeps going. It always keeps going and you will be okay. I promise.
Mom and dad love you something fierce. They do, I promise. I know it seems like nobody cares, like you really are who those people said you were in the hallways. But that’s not true, actually, far from it. Can I just tell you how freaking strong you were, how strong you are? I don’t think I’ve ever met a stronger person. You took each and every blow to the heart like a champ. Sure, You struggled, stopped eating, stopped caring, stopped everything but it will get better.
I know you want to die. I know you don’t see a reason to live in a world that has no place for someone like you. But you’re wrong. The world needs you. You can’t see it now, but one day, people will light up when you walk into the room. One day, you will not only save your life but the lives of so many other people; Not as a doctor or a nurse like we thought, but as yourself, no fancy title or college degree required. You’ll find out about that later. In the meantime, follow the advice from the nurse at the Psychiatric Hospital. She said ‘If there is only one thing in your life that is worth living for, live for that thing.‘ I don’t know what we would have done without Angel. God knew what he was doing when he put that mischevious Jack Russell Terrier, Beagle mix in our lives. I know you can’t see it now, but you’ll be okay. I promise.
H I G H S C H O O L
High school never lived up to the hype, huh? Remember that assembly all the freshman were required to attend the first week of school? They said freshman and sophomore year would be some of the hardest years of our life. That we might feel alone and that we just have to hang on because it would get better. Yeah, we didn’t wanna believe it, but they weren’t kidding.
You try so hard. I know you do. You try as hard as one can in your current situation, sometimes, even harder. It’s really hard to pay attention in class when all you’ve had to eat for the last couple days was that pack of gum and a couple diet cokes. Not to mention you were up late crying and woke up at 4 am this morning to workout for a few hours before school. It’s not that you think you’re fat, you just can’t bring yourself to eat and exercising is the only thing that gives you peace of mind. I know baby girl.
Your own therapist thinks you’re doing it for attention and that only made it worse, but I know you’re trying your hardest every day. For a while, you weren’t even sure if you were going to beat this thing or not. 3 appointments a week at the eating disorder clinic so many medications, weigh-ins, blood tests. I know how hard it is to see that number increase when all you want is to disappear. They’re taking away the one thing you feel like you have control over but you know it’s what needs to happen. No one ever gave you props for how incredibly strong you had to be through all of this. Another psychiatric hospital stay, more appointments. It’s hard, It’s so hard I know, but you will beat this thing.
You are smart. Freshman year is over and your sophomore year isn’t as great as you thought it’d be. You’re healthier, still struggling, but healthier. I think being around so many good friends helped but it’ll get better. School is hard. Especially when everyone else is doing so well and you’re not. You go home every night and see your younger brother excelling in advanced classes. You know what? it’s not fair, the way the school system measures intelligence. Just because you have ADHD and don’t learn the same way that other people learn doesn’t mean that you’re stupid, it means that you’re unique. Who wants to be boring and learn the same way their entire life anyway? Not us! Don’t let those grades discourage you, they’re just grades. The school system gives them too much hype anyways.
Sophomore year flew by and you’re a junior! Things are looking up, in fact, I see a boy in your future. Can I just give you a piece of advice? God put’s the right people in your life for a season. I don’t want you to think that the boy is all that junior year has to offer so let’s talk about something else first. You’ll surprise yourself a lot this year. You’ll battle crazy anxiety and although most times it feels like the anxiety is controlling you, you’ll kick mad anxiety booty sometimes too.
You’re in that business program that they offer at school (because you weren’t accepted into the nursing program at the career academy. I know it seems like your life is full of failures, but there’s a reason why you weren’t accepted and it’s a really good one). You have a really important competition coming up. You signed up for interview skills which is that event where you go on a mock interview and then are ranked with a ton of other schools based on how professional you are. You are so worried and anxious and honestly, you feel like you’ll bomb the entire interview. but spoiler alert, YOU WIN SECOND PLACE.You really deserve more credit than you allow yourself to have. See, you are good at things! Everyone was shocked when they called your name for the second place award and that was the first time in years that you were proud of something you’ve done. You deserve that second place. Baby girl, you deserve the world.
Somewhere along the way, you met a guy, and he was pretty great. He was funny and nice and slightly annoying but you fell in love with him. Flash forward to senior year. You and this guy have been together some time and senior year is the best year yet. You’re getting really good grades and this guy not only makes you happy, he helps you become the best you that you could possibly be. You spend all of your time with him and no time with your friends. It seems great, and it was but he isn’t everything, especially if he makes you forget who you are. Still, I’m happy to see you so happy. it’s been a really long time since you’ve laughed like that. Actually, I don’t think you’ve ever laughed like that. Be careful girlfriend, it won’t last.
I want you to know how strong you are. You’ve been through and accomplished so much and you don’t give yourself the credit you deserve. You’ll go on to college and experience a real heartbreak but you’ll find the real you and baby girl, let me tell you, the real you is pretty awesome. You’ll learn more about God and you’ll never ever stop. Being an adult sucks most of the time but in a good way because you have the Lord and his promises to rely on. You’ll struggle a crazy lot, but you become stronger and stronger each and every time. Keep your head up, God has an amazing plan for you and your life and you will shine brightly before the world in the greatness of God. I love you so much, so so much. You’re stunning in every way. You’ll feel bad about yourself sometimes, we’re human and that’s to be expected, but you are a child of God. That means that you don’t ever have to worry. You don’t ever have to fear. You don’t ever have to feel alone or unworthy or unloved because there’s a God who cares for you. A God who holds you in the palm of his hands and smiles at you with the warmest smile and the kindest eyes. Never stop loving others. That’s one of the many things you’ve always been super good at and one of the many things that I love the most about you. People will tell you that your too nice but don’t listen to them. Be confident, Speak boldly, Love fiercely and Praise God for all of your days.
I love you Ashley Hope and I vow to love you every day.
K E Y T H O U G H T S A N D T A K E A W A Y S
Sometimes our biggest critic is ourselves. Maybe you need to write a letter/monologue to your past self. When God gave me the idea to write this post, it was originally going to be a letter to my past self. I had envisioned the letter to be like one of those I’m sure you’ve seen around social media; The ones entitled “An open letter to my ex” or “An open letter to the one that got away.” But as I began to write this, it took a completely different turn. It opened a lot of old wounds and forcing myself to think about the things that I went through as well as the emotions associated with those things was brutal. It was almost as if I was reliving those moments, but it was what I needed and God knew that.
By writing this post to my past self, I was able to see just how strong I was (and am, after all, I am that girl) and am able to appreciate myself more. That last paragraph that I wrote was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to read. After I wrote that paragraph and read it back, it dawned on me that I was reading all of the words that I desperately needed to hear. It’s amazing how God works.
Sometimes we need a pep talk and who better to give it to us than ourselves. We have to realize that while we’re busy maintaining relationships with people in our lives, we must also maintain our relationship with ourselves. To be fair, we are the only people that we’re stuck with every single day of our lives.