Monday, February 17, 2014

You Long to Say a Thousand Words

There's a meme floating around the internet asking, "If you could write one word to your younger self, what would it be?"  I've often replied, "Run!" which would have been great advice.  It's a silly little meme, probably not intended to be thought about, but it sparked inspiration in me.  How can one really answer that question in just one word?  There's a lot more I want to tell to my younger self, you know, if I ever got a Marty McFly-like chance to travel through time.  Allow me to present: a letter to my younger self.

Dear April (or Apryl...remember when you tried that out?!)

Life is hard right now.  I know you're thinking it will always be that way.  It won't.  You will arrive at a place where rules will be consistent.  You will know what you can and can't do from day to day.  You won't live in fear any longer.  You'll laugh every day.

There will be many hardships between now and then.  You'll face many embarrassments before you even graduate from high school.  You'll color your hair.  Often.  When you color it fire engine red, your mother will call the police.  Be prepared for that so that you don't laugh at the officer who is just as irritated to deal with the call as you are.

You're going to run away from home when you're 15.  I wish I could tell you that's a mistake, but it's not.  Run away.  Go where you think you should.  There will be people there who love you.  You will be caught; you will be scared.  You're life will change for the better. You'll finish high school in a much better place than where you started.

When you're 14 years old, you will meet a boy at a football game who will be nicer to you than you've ever thought was possible.  The two of you will spend the next 3.5 years breaking each other's hearts before you both realize you can't force destiny.  Years will pass with very little contact with him.  But, in your 30s (yes, I know that's old to you now) the two of you will depend on each other for friendship, prayer, and emotional support. And, thanks to something called the "internet" (you're going to love it!) you will have the ability to chat as often as you'd like, for free. (Because you're kind of a miser.)

Before you graduate high school, you will meet your husband.  You'll know right away that he's the one.  He's AMAZING.  Be kind to him.  Always.  Even when you don't feel like it.  Even when he's on your last nerve.  Shower him with words of praise.  He will need it.  Don't take 15 years to realize his love language.  Let me tell you, it's Words of Affirmation.  You will need to work on this.  Affirmation does not come naturally to you.  I know you are not given praise from your parents and it embarrasses you when others compliment you, but he'll need these words to feel appreciated and loved.  Practice being more affirming in other relationships while you're waiting to meet him.

You're going to go to college!   Yes, you are!  Don't listen to anything negative coming from people (your mother) around you.  You're going and you will love it!  You'll live in a dorm and have a food plan. (Load up on nonperishable foods, and save some $$$ for dinners out, because the dorm food is lousy!) You'll meet your best friends and some of them will remain important to you decades later.

Don't be in such a rush to get married.  It can wait. You'll likely want to jump right into marriage.  That's you.  Leap and look later. Maybe you should consider living together before marriage.  Trust me.  You'll want this.  He balls up his socks when he takes them off and it will make you crazy! You should know this, and many other things, before you marry him. Or maybe not.  No, definitely not.

College will be fun and you won't feel done when it's over.  DO NOT GO TO LAW SCHOOL.  You will have an adviser convince you that this is the next step for you.  Be confident.  Listen to your heart.  It's not.  You'll commit to 3 years of HELL and a lifetime of debt.  Avoid it.  Go to grad school.  Get an education degree.  Teach.  You won't regret it.

Be prepared to lose relationships that are important to you.  Things change.  People change. Feelings change. Seasons change.  You'll get passed it.  You'll be better for having lived through it.  And people are going to disappoint you.  You'll watch loved ones suffer from their own vices.  You'll see friends go to prison.  You'll bury titans.  Do not be discouraged, for while their stories end, your's is still being written.

You will have children.  Take a minute.  Digest that.  CHILDREN.  I know you think you'll never be a mother, but you will.  At 12 years old, you'll decide it's better to let abuse die with you than to pass it to the next generation.  You'll carry those feelings with you for at least another decade. However, at some point, you'll want to be a mother more than anything in the world, and you'll try your best to be everything for them that you never had.  Sometimes you'll fail, but you'll keep trying.  I could fill volumes with stories about your children, but some things you need to discover for yourself.  Just know, you are going to experience so much joy.  There will be rough patches, especially when you're 31 years old, but every second of difficulty will be repaid tenfold in pure bliss.

Keep going, kid.  You're going to make it.  By the time you reach my age, you'll have it all.

Love yourself,

The Woman You're Going to Be


  1. Awesome April! You have a real gift for writing.