Archive for October, 2013

Be Brave Enough to Break Your Own Heart

Sunday, October 13th, 2013

While cleaning out my cupboards the other day getting ready for yet another move, I found a stack of letters I wrote to my mom when I was down in Tucson at the U of A.  I was thinking, damn if that twentysomething girl knew what I know now; her life would be so much easier.  So, I decided to write her a letter.


Barely twenty hanging at my mural covered apartment wall at the University of Arizona.

Dear Twentysomething self,

Stop using food to fill that empty place you can’t ever fill with Little Debbie’s from the dormitory basement vending machine.  Food will never love you the way you will eventually learn to love yourself.

And don’t look for a man to do that either.

One day, your best girlfriend will tell you your boyfriend is no good for you.  Don’t cast her off as clueless or jealous.  She knows what she is talking about.  In fact, take heed of your girlfriend’s insights.  Their observations are made from a deck with a much better view than your own.  Listen.

My girlfriends!

More girlfriends!

One night I caution you to think twice before drinking an entire bottle of champagne and then hurling a beer bottle across the entire living room at a tall mad man that was probably right, you just weren’t ready to hear it yet.  Think twice again when one Sunday morning you convince the very nice and confused apartment manager to get the key to your boyfriend’s apartment, open his door and let you inside because he is not answering his phone and you are sure he is lying dead face down in his own vomit, only to find him naked in the shower with his buddy’s girlfriend.  Sweetie, I know you love him, but for god’s sake, do not go back to him.  “Be brave enough to break your own heart.”*

There are some things that you just don’t get yet.  It will take a lot of living first.  And, I assure you, you will live.  And, in time, you will get.

Beware of that big fucking heart of yours, darling.  Your tolerance, compassion and ability to forgive are beautiful traits.  They will get you far in life.  But, if you are not careful, you will also be walked on like a doormat.  Do not be a doormat.

I know you want to make everything right.  I know you want things to be perfect.  You have high expectations for yourself and others.  But, and listen carefully my sweet, you cannot make others happy by your love alone.  You cannot control people.  You cannot fix them.  You cannot make them do what you want, force them to live by your rules or love you.  You alone can do that for you alone.  You will learn this eventually.  You really will.  Be patient my love.  I know patience is not your best virtue but it will be someday.

And one evening when a friend asks you to go to a party at her house even though you are battling bronchitis, say yes.  You will feel like shit, lose a game of Quarters, and end up rolling around on the floor making out with a mysterious dark haired dark eyed guy, whose friend, just a few minutes earlier, asked you out on a date.  You never go on that date.  Instead, you meet that mysterious dark haired, dark eyed guy the next night at another party.  Your oldest will have his chiseled chin and low voice.  Your daughter will have his strong will and your eyes (she will learn to roll them better than you).  And that middle of yours, with those bedroom eyes and quick wit, will make you question everything you think you know in this world.

My kiddos!

You will do some stupid things, Deanne, so a bit of a warning.  Do not hook up with a guy nicknamed Psycho.  Do not go to Puerto Penasco for three days without sunscreen and only $20 to your name.  Do not believe him when he says, “nothing happened, we’re just friends.”  And do not, I repeat, do not buy that 1978 maroon Firebird from a guy because he is cute and said it’s a great car.  It will not only put you in debt, it will send you to the hospital with 3rd degree burns.

Your tendency of being “too nice” will put you in some compromising situations.  It is ok to say “No.”  Actually, it is more than okay, it is essential at times.  It will take you a long time to learn this, however.  And, always, always, always follow your instincts darling.  That overly nice syndrome of yours gets in the way of listening to your gut.  Your gut is always right.  I repeat your gut is always right.  Don’t let anyone make you believe otherwise.

And, don’t spend so much time worrying about your future.  Should I get a degree in psychology or accounting?  How about poly sci?  I love Women’s Studies.  But, what would I do with a Women’s Studies degree?  Teach?  Maybe a degree in business would work best with raising a family?  Do I want to have a family?  Do I want to work?  Can I do both?  Will I ever find someone to love me so I can have a family?  “Worry is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but gets you nowhere.”  Erma Bombeck I believe.  Make a choice, girlfriend, and live with it.  If it is not working for you, change it.  It’s that simple.  Your life will happen with or without fretting.  Just live it.  Be in the moment.  Right now.  This is it!

Do continue to smile.  You have a beautiful smile with the whitest of teeth.  Take care of your teeth.  People will love them.  And they will love you.  Keep giving, and loving and friending.  In other words, be yourself.

And when you are afraid, be afraid.  Do not be afraid to be afraid.  Fear can be a great motivator.  So is anger.  Do not let them stop you in your tracks.  They are only obstacles, temporary hurdles.  Feel the anger, feel the fear and push through it.  You will need this skill because one day, you will be faced with some major challenges; challenges that will knock the wind out of you and lay you out to dry in the hottest of hot summer suns.  You will get through them though; I swear it on a stack of Carl Jung Psychology books.  Actually, you won’t just get through them, you will conquer them.  You are a very strong woman Deanne.  You just don’t know it yet.

And you are right.  The issues you do not work out right now will rear their ugly heads again later.  But that may not be a bad thing.  You are not ready.  You still have a lot of experiences ahead of you before you have enough ego strength to deal with them.  That is the way of life.  It is a process, a journey.

Take care of yourself my sweet.  Do not put yourself on the back burner.  Don’t do it.  You will regret it and find yourself starving in abundance and grabbing the wrong thing to feed you.  Try to find some balance.  Make room for the things you have always loved; music, writing and travel.  They will keep you going when you do not feel like going.  They will fill you up when you feel empty, and they will give you meaning when life seems meaningless.

You are a rebel Deanne.  You always have been and always will be.  So when your mom says,’ “You’re kidding right,” after you tell her that you have decided to take your kids out of school to home school, hold tight.  She will turn out to be your biggest advocate.  Do not waste your time trying to convince others.  That is your own insecurity.  I promise you, it will be the best decision you have ever made in your entire life.

It is not the only decision you will have to make that others won’t like.  Stand your ground.

One more thing, you really need to know that a flat tire is just a flat tire.  It was not meant to make you late for an appointment or to ruin your day.  The Universe is not out to get you.  Shit just happens.  Do not take it personally or attach some meaning to it that is not there.  We waste a lot of time attaching meaning and creating stories to things that just happen.  Know the difference between what happened and your story and you will be set free.

Sweetheart, your life is going to be a mix match of firework fabulous to piss water awful.   But all of it, absolutely all of it, will create the most extraordinary work of art.  You!  Be thankfull.

And, someday a handsome man in a bar will write a phone number on a napkin and give it to you.  Take it.  Call it.  He will be your guide to peace and serenity.  It won’t seem like it at the time, but trust me.

Yours truly always and forever,

Your fortysomething self


*Cheryl Strayed, Tiny Beautiful Things