I’ve been working on writing a novel, a memoir about my childhood into adolescence and the lessons that I’ve learned with that. Through writing my novel, I’ve had the chance to not only release my story and my life, but also a bit of self reflection. I look back at my younger self, a girl who was so full of love and hope and always believed in second (and third or fourth or fifth) chances. A girl who was naive at times, but always wanted to believe the best.
It’s funny because as a reader, I’m always rooting for the protagonist (obviously). I want to see a good arc, a good development and forward progression. I don’t want to see a character who continually seems to take one step forward followed by three steps back. That makes me want to throw a book across the room. I just finished reading The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and that was my biggest complaint about the story itself (I did love it though, highly recommend)!
Well, in my story, the protagonist is continually facing set backs. Continually trying to believe the best, despite having been proven wrong over and over again. I want to throw my own story (my own life as it were) against the wall. I want to shake that young girl and tell her to wake up. But I can’t. And honestly, I don’t really know that I actually would.
You see, in my own life I had that naivety. I had to work through my own problems, and face a very real realization. If I hadn’t worked through that, faced being “let down” for the umpteenth time and finally snapping out of that naivety, I would still be trapped in that same spiral. I wouldn’t be in the position I am now and my life would honestly be vastly different. I’ve always seen people write posts about writing a letter to their younger self. I’ve always wondered if I did it, what would I say?
I like to think it would go something like this:
Dear younger self,
Hold your head high. You’ll get through this. You’ll come out the other side better than ever and all will be OK.
Honestly, I wouldn’t want to change anything. I wouldn’t want to say much to her or give her much of a roadmap. I am very proud of who I am today, the woman that I have become and the outset that I now have on life. I am that way because of what I went through. Because I held out that hope (and then had it crushed) for the umpteenth time, I learned that boundaries are necessary. I learned that I can determine a different relationship, or no relationship. I learned so much and while I would love to shake my younger self and point her in the right direction, I wouldn’t be half the person I am today without having gone through those issues and having those outlooks.