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

Find your God.

Dear Sweet Girl,

You may have noticed by my funny accent that I’m not from around here. While I throw a “y’all” down often, I do say “coffee”, “water”, and “chocolate” much differently than the folks ’round these parts. I hail from the far off land of Long Island, made famous by Linda Richman of “Coffee Talk” and by some guys cousin named Patrick Sullivan (seriously, I’ve met like 50 people in my post-NY life that have said “OH! My cousin Pat Sullivan lives on Long Island! Do you know him?” People, Long Island has 7.5 MILLION PEOPLE. If it were a state, it would be the 13th most populous, after Virginia, and 1st in population density!!! And I bet every single person who grew up on Long Island knew someone named Pat Sullivan.)

Ok, so Long Island has been full of people for a long time, many who have moved from the city (Manhattan) and the boroughs to a more suburban, kid-friendly area. Lots of Catholics, and lots of Jews. Lots. I have the double whammy, having a Jewish father and a Catholic mother (I prefer to be called Catholish or a Jewlic), which is a common enough combo there. We were a secular family, though, and other than a quick visit into Catholicism in my tweens, I’ve been happily not religious. You are also not religious, have no idea what religion is, don’t know about God, Jesus, Allah, or any of the other players in the scene. Is this good? I dunno. I can tell you this: we’re good people, us. We treat people fairly, we do our best to think of others, we work hard to instill a sense of community and charity into you. Really, other than the fact that we rely on science for most of our moral and ethical decisions, we’re giving you the same lessons. But we do live in Texas, and some people might try to make you feel terrible for this. Here’s where you throw down some biblical knowledge on them and be all “Matthew 7:1, bitchez!” We’ll go over that soon.

Touched by His Noodly Appendage

Touched by His Noodly Appendage

But as they say, love, there’s no atheists in fox holes. When we were going through the battle-for-baby and subsequent IVF(s), we prayed the shit out of things. We prayed together, holding hands, to a god we didn’t know for some help, ANY help to have a baby. All through IVF #1, the miscarriage, the cervical cancer scare, IVF #2, the YOU, the pregnancy, the delivery, the everything. And then, we just kinda stopped. Especially when Papa got sick and moved in with us. Watching my dad die in our house should have made me want to pray. But I was beyond praying for him to get better, because we knew that wouldn’t happen, so I couldn’t very well pray for him to die, which is what he needed. Oh, baby, it was so hard. But while God gives some people so much help and comfort, he became an anvil to me. Yet another person that I had to act a certain way for. And some people will tell you that GOD IS GOOD! and FORGIVING! and LOVES YOU!, that really doesn’t matter. Because if there is a God, and I’m wrong about all of this, then fine. I’ll have that conversation on my own one day. But sweetie, don’t think for one second that the lady in line at Albertson’s gives a fiddlers fuck about you when she talks to you about being saved, and then gets into her car and cuts you off or texts in a school zone going 50 with a pro-life sticker on her SUV. The world is full of hypocrites, love. That’s one of the sad parts.

What you need is to find your own god. He or She or It needs to be where you find your comfort. Imaginary or real, if it comforts you, take it. Because the world can get mighty hinky and yucky sometimes, and sometimes you need to talk to someone who won’t talk back.

Love,

Mommy