You are not who you were.

Dear Sweet Girl,

Back in the olden days, there was no internet. If I were the praying type, I would fall on my knees and thank the good Lord for that piece of divine providence. I sometimes imagine situations I was in while in my teens and early 20’s that, if they were up on YouTube, would completely have ruined my life. Love, please understand this truth: The internet is FOREVER.

But let’s also get another thing straight here: you are not who you were. You are you, and you are fine, and you are good. Your life does not need to be “tainted” by things that happened in your youth. I am a person that had a youth and young adulthood that is miles, leagues, eons away from where I am now. I did good things and I did bad things. I had fun and I got hurt. I hurt others, badly. I was bullied and I was the bully. I feigned teenage angst and arrogance like I was gunning for a scholarship to Asshole University. I spent time with people who were good and bad. People who cared, and people who couldn’t have cared less about the world and the people around them. Some were seriously great companions. Some I can’t even remember the names of. I see some of them on Facebook and they are still talking about the same parties, and listening to the same music, and hating the same people. Are they bad for that? Not in a million years. But what it is is that so many have decided that those years were the absolute best they’re ever going to have. There’s no use in even trying to get better than that day.

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I am not who I was then. A lot of who I was came from dishonesty and the need to fit in somewhere. You will also, at some point, likely compromise who you are and what you feel in order to please someone. I can tell you that you shouldn’t do it, but you probably will anyway. I had a “friends” who actively mocked me for being Jewish. Like, they called me “heeb” and “kyke” and then hugged me and we’d have a beer. They didn’t really mean it, they’d say. And I would laugh and the shame would stay on me all day. They were joking! They were so funny! And I’d think “I have to get the fuck out of this fucking place”. And I did.

When you grow older, you will always be at the mercy of your former self in some way. You can jump a million miles away, and you will still be compared to the person you were once. Especially by people who really truly think they know you. And then you’ll come to a point that you realize that even those people don’t know you at all. I promise you, you can forge ahead and be a person you want to be, and find friends and partners who love you for your true self.

Don’t let who you were – at ANY point in your life – dictate who you want to be. Who you could be. You can reinvent yourself as many times as you need to in order to fully realize your potential as a person. You might disappoint a lot of people in your life, but the worst person you can disappoint is yourself. Constantly work on making yourself proud of your constant forward march. We’ve talked about this a lot in the past few weeks: everyone deserves another chance in our hearts.

Love,

Mommy

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