Here’s the next in the Letter to my younger self series. At this stage, all I can say is, I wish my own writings brought so many readers here. It’s been an amazing few weeks here on auntyamo.com 😉 Here’s another great letter for you. This time from Orna, a fellow member of Shared Planet Writing group. You can follow her on Twitter @ornarichella
Over to her…
Yes you are afraid…
You are so scared and so lonely. Surrounded by others but isolated, no real connection to the everyday. You live in books and glance over the pages at life going by for everyone else but you don’t know how to join in. It is as if you came without the instructions. So you live in dreams and stories and the echoes of other’s lives. When you close the book reality seems a pale imitation. You are happiest in the twilight between sleep and wakefulness when the dream seems real and you can direct them. I wish I could come back and tell you that while you are dreaming life is passing you by. A million ice-cream vans drive away while you are trying to decide what type of flavor to buy. You dither rather than decide and miss out through inaction. It will cost you many things and you will berate yourself for your losses. This is not going to change, but sometimes you will be able to shake yourself and get past it and amaze everyone with what you can do if you focus. It keeps you going.
You go to college and build life skills and friendships and bad eating habits. You will try many things but achieve less than you should because you are afraid. Scared to tell your parents that you want to stay up weekends to work on plays. Scared to audition for people you look up to in case you are no good. Scared to try out for different sports because you don’t know how to start or how to fit in. Scared to fail.
Some terrifying things will happen in college and they will change you forever. You will experience heartache and loss and dreadful sickness and black desolation. If you knew going in to it what you had to face you would never believe you would be able to carry it. But you do and we make it through. Just about.
Your family, by birth and by choice, will be your strength and your burden in equal measures. Cherish every day with them and love the happy and silly moments. They will carry you through the terrible losses ahead. Hug your dad every chance you get and gather his voice to you. Every day is precious and he won’t always be there. Look at your mum. Really look and see all that she is doing and sacrificing for you and stop taking her for granted. She is spilling her heart blood for you and you will torment her with the selfishness that only a teenage girl can. When everyone else fails you and you cannot go on she will pick you up and carry you to the finish line.
Friendship which you chased like a rainbow all your life will return like a boomerang after you throw it away. There will be no bosom pal like you dreamed of in girlhood. You are no Anne Shirley. But a group of boys will be your posse and become family.
Love will come and go leaving you crushed. A few times. But you will find happiness with a friend when you least expect it and you will marry and eventually after much heartache become a mum. Only then will you realise the pain you have caused your own mum. That is your burden to live with. Try and make it up to her. I am still working on that.
Try your best rather than coasting on your ability. It would be nice to sparkle rather than simply shimmer. You don’t realise that yet. There is no dress rehearsal or matinée. You only get one performance. Make it one you can look back on and be proud of.
But most of all try. And when you are afraid try anyway. Because the happy days will always outshine the sad ones. And your blessings are more than any heart can carry without overflowing.
All photos supplied by Orna and used with her permission.