Delighted to have Karen Huber bring the 3rd in the ‘Letter to my younger self’ series. Originally from Kansas USA, Karen currently lives in Dublin, Ireland with her husband and three children. She’s a stay at home mum and self-described lazy writer, blogging on faith, motherhood and culture at www.karenohuber.com. Find her on twitter at @karenohuber
Over to her…
Don’t be afraid, girl
I remember this age. Even now, I can see you.
You’re sitting on the slant of the roof. A dormer window allows you a bit of freedom, a smidge of rebellion. You have the attic mostly to yourself, a gift from the men of your church who spent sweaty August hours converting the space. You take pride in decorating it, setting up a desk, putting a calendar on the wall and creating soft light with a little white lamp. You sit and pick up the pen, one of those silvery blue ones with a fuzzy ball at the end, and you open the book.
Dear Diary, you write. You’re my only friend.
From this side, I know that’s not true. You have a veritable revolving door of girlhood friends. Amy and Jessica, Beth and Nicole. There are fights, to be sure, but you are not as alone as you think you are.
In the pages of that journal, you write out the wrongs, the imagined slights and the heartache of hopes. You write plays in your head late at night, when the thunder rolls in. In primary school you graduate from sad stories with accompanying sad illustrations to book reviews and essays. Your teachers remark on this, reaffirming over and over what you refuse to hear.
You should listen. In fact, the sooner you listen, the easier this will all be.
I want to sit by your side on the roof of that pink house and tell you to stop sighing and winging, to relish the friendships. I want to tell you to perk the heck up and stop being so melodramatic about everything. I want to tell you to stop questioning the affection and worrying for the future, to remind you that not everyone leaves.
And I want to tell you: don’t be afraid.
Twelve is terrible. I know this. I am very literally wincing with humility at the memory. 23 years on and I look to your son; he will be twelve in six months. I’m tempted to be afraid for him, the emotions and the confusion, the hormones and the lack of confidence. I remember you then and worry for him now. But I will tell him the same and choose to believe it, too.
Don’t be afraid.
Oh, there are some caveats:
You will get sick on your communications teacher this year. Obviously, she will not be happy about.
Be kinder to your mother, your sisters. On this side, they will be your best friends, the ones who love you from start to finish.
Secondary school will start rough, but you will find your niche, your people and your voice. You’ll write again in the shade of your English class, and though you won’t be the smartest, you’ll get the highest mark. “You have something here,” your professors will tell you. And this time, you’ll listen, and it will carry you through university and beyond.
I’m not gonna lie. Things will get dicey from time to time. You are human, as is most everyone around you. But don’t be afraid. There is a holy beauty in the waiting, in the heartache, in torn pieces being mended.
And on this side, you will know:
Wild, crazy love will enter your atmosphere, sooner than you think (or want). A tribe of children will come to you, filling your heart and your bed in the middle of the night. Ireland will call you, a home you never imagined from the roof of that pink house. And God will wait for you, though you doubt and run, over and over.
Don’t be afraid, girl. Not everyone leaves.
Not even you.