It's Poetry Thursday!
This week I am sharing the first part of a writing exercise I am doing. I am trying to jumpstart my writing a bit because I have spent so much time on my laptop lately that I am not always motivated to come back to my computer to write for fun, to write for me. Earlier this week I was jumping around from blog to blog and found a letter a blogger wrote to her teenage self (updated 2013: link to the blog no longer works). I loved this idea and immediatly thought, "this would be an incredible poem." I decided to let this be a prompt for me this week. I wanted to first write the letter and then create a poem from it.
So here is part one...the letter. I was imagining writing to myself the summer after I graduated from high school.
Dear Liz Elayne,
I am just going to put this out there first. I know it is hard to believe that I do not have at least three of the five children you were convinced I would have. That I am thirty! and do not have even one child but instead I have, of all things, a dog (she is my second golden retriever by the way). I know it is hard to believe that I am not a doctor (chemistry was not any easier in college) or a Constitutional Law lawyer (still love it just didn’t take that path). Something happened, not so unexpectedly, that shaped this path. I don’t want you to be afraid. You are safe; nothing happens “to” you. But your life will shift a bit. Remember that feeling you had when you thought mom and dad were getting divorced when you were 14? Remember feeling alone, lost, and scared? Those feelings continue to guide you for a while. I don’t want to scare you, but it isn’t as easy to work through it all as it might seem. I am sorry about that. But you will realize that the feelings you have now are part of the human journey. They do not go away. The feelings you had reading The Awakening will continue to wash over you for…well, from what I can tell…your entire lifetime.
Know that you will find a sense of support from a few amazing friendships. Some books and a golden retriever will change your life. You will begin to loosen the grip your fingers have around fear and loneliness. I promise. And many of the friends you have now, yes, right now, will be your friends still today. I know you know that, but I just wanted to tell you. However, you will never have sex with Lee Travis. Nope. So just let that go. Seriously sweetie. Just let it go. The girl everyone thinks you are in high school…the good girl…the good girl who never really does anything that might get her “in trouble.” That girl. Honey, that is just who you are. It is okay. (Though when V. has a heart to heart with you in a bathroom in Boston, listen to her. You just might do something that is totally unlike you, something of little importance, yet something that will remind you that you can be just a tiny bit reckless. Of course, take R. up on it when she wants to come too. Bravery in numbers.) You will fall in love with a wonderful man who honors every inch of who you are. I don’t want to spoil it all for you though. Just trust yourself like you always have.
I feel a need to say I am sorry I am not saving the world like you wanted to. Yet, I feel closer to you now than I ever did. The hopes, dreams, funny (good funny) way you have of looking at the world…I feel a bond with all of that. A bond that got a bit lost in my twenties. You know how your spirit yearns for a connection to the Great Spirit you have read about? You will continue to seek this connection. It will be an important part of your path. And don’t let anyone tell you how this connection should look. There will be a time when you feel terrified that if this connection doesn’t look a certain way you might lose people who are important to you. Keep listening to that voice inside. That voice is, just as you suspected, the voice of what you will keep calling god in your own mind because that is a word that makes sense to you. When you find yourself out in the Pacific Northwest, away from the expectations of those around you, you will step into a world that embraces all you want to be, which is all that you already are. You will begin to shed the fear like a clothes on a hot Indiana day and honor that maybe you are saving the world, just in a different way.
And know this…I would do it all again to be in this place where I am now. All of it. That thought isn’t a cliché; it is truth. Your truth. So even in those dark moments that are coming your way, trust you. Trust. You.
Oh and have fun. You will begin to understand the fragility of life when you get to be my age, and laughter and joy and moments filled with truth and caring and love will become more important than you ever realized. Notice those moments, so that you can remember them when life hands you something else.
I don’t want to give away anything more than I already have. Just live it baby girl. Live in your life. I am always here for you; all you have to do is sit quietly and breathe and you will find me.