I once watched a Ted x talk,where the speaker was talking about how as she was getting a massage, for a frozen shoulder, faces and images of old and repressed memories that she hadn’t thought about for years came zipping by her mind and she could see them. At the time, I shared it with a few friends and didnt think much about it, beyond the fact that I found it interesting.
Fast forward a few months later, I’m lying face down on a massage table, as the super amazing masseuse is trying desperately to work out the kinks and knots that have limited the mobility of my shoulders and back, soothe my painful ankle that always hurts ever since my accident, and working out the stress of my daily commute and basically my existence.
Suddenly I start seeing these faces, these memories and these emotions I’ve suppressed for years. People I forgot existed came back to me; asshole management from when I broke my foot, old abusive partners, wrong decisions, uncomfortable situations, awkward partners, you name it!
Throughout these 90 minutes, all this came back. In the begining, I tried really hard to suppress all this, after all, I was here to relax, why bring up these memories.
Then I realized that the harder I worked to repress these memories, the harder, the poor woman worked on the kinks and knots, telling me very softly to relax and let go, and I did.
I let go, and about a decade of choices, people and circumstances started playing infront of me. To be honest, in the begining it was all uncomfortable faces and feelings, and then slowly some good came into the picture. Some good people and situations that I also forgot about because I havent heard from or spoken to them in years.
Eventually, the 90 minutes ended (a massage is an amazing way to get ideas for blog posts, trust me, I now have at least 10 lined up)
I walked out, picked up a cup of coffee, sat in front of a green soccer field watching the sun set, and I picked up my phone, to write an overdue letter to someone; a letter, to one of the most resilient, courageous, adventurous and loving persons I have ever met. To someone who never heard enough kindness from me, who was often overly criticized and undervalued.
This person is my 20 something year old self. The more I thought of these past situations and how i treated myself, the more I wished I could go back in time and give that person I was, a hug, to tell her she is doing well, to tell her I’m sorry she wasn’t my first priority and tell her that, I, despite everything, love her and believe in her tremendously.
This past decade has been quiet a challenging and trying one for me. It was one that brought about so much loss, heart break, weariness, pain and change, but, it also brought about love, growth, adventure and joy.
I reflected back on who I used to be, what I’ve been through and how I handled it all, and I realized, with an absolute surprise, how resilient of a human being I am.
So below is everything I would tell my past self over the past decade if I could meet her now.
They are divided into three sections, “Thank You”, “I’m Sorry” and ” I thought you should know”.
So here goes:
1- Thank you for choosing to go on living when it was the hardest of two choices. Thank you for carrying on and persevering. You are braver than you thought you were.
2- Thank you for being a responsible adult financially, for choosing to save, to invest and to think ahead. As someone who gets fidgety, and loves to explore and travel, you have made this possible. You’ve given me an opportunity to see more of the world
3- Thank you for going to therapy, not only did it help me, but it paved the way for me to be one of the biggest advocates amongst my circle for mental health awareness.
4- Thank you for your decision to go to Paris, to follow your heart and believe in your gut. This decision altered my life in ways you could never imagine.
5- Thank you for choosing to be with “Brody” in that wonderfully flexible arrangement you had. Because of that, I now understand that intimacy, relationships,and feelings, dont always have to be permanent, dont always have to be traditional, but always have to feel right. You have to choose the energies that resonate with who you truly are
6- Thank you for exercising, even when it felt tedious. It kept me sane, it kept me alive, it kept me going and it empowered me.
7- I’m sorry you felt pressured to stay in that engagment and relationship for as long as you did, because you were afraid of being labeled by this stupid society
8- I’m sorry you doubted your self worth at parties and social gatherings, and thought you weren’t interesting enough to talk to people unless you were absolutely hammered.
9- I’m sorry you had to stop yourself from dancing when you wanted to, because you felt dorky, fat and awkward
10- I’m sorry you felt so ugly, and took it out so harshly on yourself
11- I’m sorry you felt obliged to tolerate being discriminated against at work, because you were so afraid of speaking up, because you were terrified that management wouldn’t like you
12- I’m so sorry you tried so hard to conform and fit in, because you were never made to feel like you were enough, just the way you are
13- I’m sorry you were always so ashamed of your feminism, your sensuality, your opinions, and of your own voice
14- I’m sorry you had to downplay your intelligence and success in front of others because u were too worried that they will be too uncomfortable to share your success
15- I’m sorry you justified shitty friendships because you thought you would be too lonely without them
16- I thought you should know that life turned out to be quiet a good thing, that it has ups and downs, but you have learned to make it eventful, you have learned to make it worthwhile
17- I thought you should know that you dont have to be hammered to talk to people, you now go to parties and social gatherings and speak about the adventures and life you’ve had so far and people find you interesting and fun
18- I thought you should know that you finally started dancing like no one is watching, and man oh man is it a fucking blast
19- I thought you should know that you now walk away from people that dont make you feel good, that you refuse to settle, and because of that, your circle of friends is one that resonates and lifts you and cheers for you
20- I thought you should know that you will grow to love your looks, your mega fun big hair, your body, your smile, and your overall physical appearance. You thought you would never be pretty, but you have been, all along, and when you allowed yourself to accept praise, you started seeing how you are really seen vs your distorted perception of yourself
21- I thought you should know that you would go on to leave a very positive impact on every work place you work in; and that by testimonials, you turn our to be a pretty kickass manager. People will look at your career so far with fascination and it will feel fabulous
22- I thought you should know that you have always been right to follow your heart, because it takes you places that make you feel so alive
23- I thought you should know that you are more valuable and precious than the abusive partners made you feel. You are enough, you are wonderful, and God created you the way you are, for a very specific reason
24- I thought you should know that the world doesnt end with death of a loved one, a heart break, or a broken friendship. You find comfort in memories, love in other people, and sometimes comfort in your solitude
25- I thought you should know that you have an incredibly magical nephew that teaches you that the unconditional love can come from being an aunt and not just a mom
26- I thought you should know that all along I have always loved you, respected you and believed in you, even if I never showed it
27- Finally, I thought you should know that not only does the nickname Jay come back, but it gets doubled . Lol. You are now JayJay
Thank you for sticking it out, I’m sorry I wasn’t kinder and I thought you should know that you are resilient, courageous and beautiful.
Somewhere along the line we turn into our own worst enemy, we are judgmental, critical, paranoid and afraid. But one of the absolute perks of growing older is that you start growing into your own skin. As we get older, we get more comfortable, we get kinder, and we become more aware.
If we were a person encountering our old selves, I believe we will be kinder.
If you had a chance to write a letter to your old self, what would you say?
What are your “Thank you”, “I’m sorry”, and ” I thought you should know”?
Each person has a story to tell, battles they have won and others that have pummeled them. However, each one of us, keeps marching thru life, we are more than we make ourselves out to be. We are beautiful creations, we are resilient, we are survivors and we all have a story to tell.