There is a certain ex boyfriend of mine who, when I think about him and things that he did or said, still makes my blood boil. As soon as the memories come up, I instantly want to find him today, walk up and punch him right in the face.
But of all the jerks I’ve ever dated, he’s not even the worst. And I know if you are over someone, really over them, these memories rarely even come and when they do, they don’t cause the kind of strong emotional reaction I usual have.
In trying to figure this out and rid myself of any more of these thoughts, I realized it’s not even about him. It’s me that I am really still mad at.
I’m mad that I believed some of the idiotic, ridiculous lies I realized later I’d fallen for. I’m mad at myself for tolerating abusive, demeaning behavior from him and staying. And I’m mad at myself because I feel like when I was with him, I was the farthest from my true self I’ve ever been. In going along with some of his insanity, I feel like I too became a really crappy person for a while and I guess I’m still not over – me.
At least this is a step in the right direction; realizing what the real issue is so now I can start the repair work, try to understand why the whole relationship even happened (it only lasted a few months but I guess that was enough to stay with me all this time) and start to forgive myself.
Many years have passed and I am a completely different person now than I was then. I am wiser, stronger and I know now more than ever, who I am, the kind of person I want to be and how I want to live my life. He’d never even get a hello from the woman I am today, but back then….
So recently on twitter, a saw the question going around, “What would you like to go back and tell your 15 year old self?”
My first thought was – Bingo. I’m all over this one, let the healing begin.
To my 15 year old self:
- I know you think you are ugly, nerdy and weird and you feel alone because of it. Please believe, being different and weird is ok. Actually, it’s a really good thing! I know you don’t fit in completely and school is a nightmare at times because of this but try to be strong and go with it. Stay true to yourself. Keep asking questions, reading and exploring. Find things you love, that make you filled with joy and just keep going in that direction. Hold on to who you are and don’t let go for anyone.
- You don’t know as much as you think. You can’t handle any situation that comes your way. Stop going out as much, it doesn’t work anyway. You still feel lonely and some of the people you are hanging out with are bad news. I know it sounds terrible but stay home, watch a movie, read a book or go to the movies and then directly back home. By 10pm. You hear me young lady? Which leads me to my next point –
- It matters who your friends are. Not how they dress, what music they listen to or if you think they are cool, fun, whatever. You have to think about what kind of people they are down deep. Who we spend time with everyday matters because it will affect the way you act, how you see the world, other people and yourself. It also matters how they treat you. Being your friend does not give anyone license to be shitty to you.
- This ones a shocker but men, ok guys, who are quiet and angry all the time, who ignore you, make fun of you or are in any other way total jerks, these are not good guys!
Do not hang out with them and above all, do not date them!!!
Guys who are nice to you are not weird or wimpy. I know our “normal” is whatever we see at home but your dad is in a bad place and dealing with his own struggles. He is in constant pain and cannot be there for you right now. He loves you in his heart but cannot show you this or truly be your dad for a few years. You will understand later. For now, just stop putting up with anything less than being treated with kindness and respect – from anyone. Friends, boyfriends, anyone.
- You are smart, you are beautiful, you are special, you are worth everything. And you will be loved. Hang on. Your senior year is going to rock, you’ll have so many fun, good memories. And after high school, there are still some mountains to climb but a lot of things that are causing you pain now get a whole lot better. I know right now is terrible, just hang on.
I understand most things happen for a reason. The hot coals we walk over and trials we come through help shape us, guide us and teach us. I may not even be the person I am today had I not gone through some of the struggles and pain from the past.
And in no way would I ever want to change where I am today. I didn’t even think this was possible. Happily married to my best friend with an beautiful family? I just didn’t think the option was even a feasible reality for me.
What I would most like to give my younger self is hope. I know it sucks now but hold on. I promise you will be ok. I will get you through, there is light coming your way.
So for both the younger and present day me, let the past go. Learn from it, forgive yourself and move on.
I swear to you, I looked through several albums for pictures of myself during those awesome teen years for this post but wasn’t able to find any. This is as close as I could get, a picture from grade school. If I find one closer to me at 15, I promise I’ll update and post it!