WordPress is telling me that this is my 100th post. In almost five years, I’ve managed to sit down and write something on this blog 10o times. For some people, that won’t seem like a lot. But for me, it is. It could have been more. It could have been less. But I made it to 100. Each word I put down here has been one less word, one less worry, one less burden to carry on my own. Here, I can lay them down and let them be. I can come back to them if I need to, but the words, the worries, the burdens, aren’t mine to carry alone anymore.
I had an idea a while back. It went something like this: We don’t change as we get older. We just stop trying to change. The more we stop trying to change, the more we come back to who we really are.
Allow me to elaborate a bit.
As children, we do what we love without much thought. We sing, dance, play, create and express ourselves fully and joyfully. When you are fully self-expressed, how can you be anything less than joyful? We lean towards those who show us love and kindness, and we avoid those who are mean and hurtful.
At some point as we get older, we start to change. We stop singing, dancing and playing. We start changing who we are – who we BE – to fit a mould or a stereotype or an ideal or an image. Our life gets overtaken by shoulds and shouldn’ts.
I should take this job.
I shouldn’t wear stripes and polka dots.
I should study that subject.
I shouldn’t sing in public.
I should. I shouldn’t. I should. I shouldn’t.
And mostly we get so stuck wondering and worrying about what other people think about who we are and what we’re up to, that we forget about I am, and I love and I’m happy. We change away from who we are, turning into some version of ourselves that we don’t quite recognize. We accept people in our life who makes us feel bad. We do things we don’t love – and don’t do things we do love – because we feel like we should. Or shouldn’t. We have to, or can’t, or not right now, or maybe later.
And my favourite: One day.
One day I’ll start painting again.
One day I’ll exercise.
One day I’ll have dinner with my old friend.
One day I’ll write that book.
One day I’ll open my own business.
One day…some day…
This leads to all kinds of drama. All the Who am I? questions and What’s my purpose? questions and I need to find myself inquiries. And then we read books (and blogs!) and talk to therapists and friends and listen to tapes and listen to Oprah and then something happens…
We find ourselves drifting away from those people who make us feel bad. We find ourselves colouring again. Or running. Or playing the piano. Or whatever it is that brings us joy. We stop worrying about what other people will think, and just live our lives with a little more love.
And we’re happy.
People say “You’ve changed.”
No, you haven’t.
You’re back to being you. Back to who you were always meant to be.
You’ve stopped changing.
You’re only 4 months and 2 weeks old, and I’ve already written you a hundred letters in my head. You’ll learn that about me as we get to know each other over the years. I write. Always in my head. Sometimes even on paper. I promise, I’ll try to write to you more, because there are things I want you to know, and I often write better than I talk. When I talk, I can get loud and screechy when making a point, and then the point gets lost in the screech. You’ll see.
But today I read this letter, and it made me cry. And I knew I couldn’t keep this one inside.
This poor girl, who did nothing wrong, doesn’t have her mom and dad in her life anymore because she is who she is and they can’t accept that.
And I had to tell you – I have to tell you – that there is nothing nothing NOTHING you could do that would make me turn my back on you. There is nothing you could be that would make me not accept you for who you are. NOTHING.
Baby, I don’t care if you’re gay or straight. I don’t care if you’re tall or short. I don’t care if you like to read or do complicated calculus equations or draw pictures or ride horses. I don’t care if your favourite colour is pink or yellow or if you love vanilla or hate strawberry. I just don’t care.
What I care about is that you know that you’re loved. And you are, baby girl. More than you will ever know. I want you to know that we will support you, and be there for you, right behind you, as you make your way through the maze of your life. I promise that every time you fall – and you will fall, and sometimes it will hurt – it will be made softer by your dad and me.
There is nothing that you can’t tell us. I know there are things you won’t tell us – like the first time you try a cigarette (don’t you DARE), or the first time you have a beer, or if you cheat on a test in the 10th grade. But you know what baby girl? You CAN tell us. Yes, sometimes we will be upset, but we will never be upset with you because of who you are. The only thing that would really upset me is if you’re NOT being who you are.
Because you are kind and beautiful and important and loving and good. Even after only 4 months, I know all this about you. And when you’re not being these things – when you’re not being yourself – it will make me sad. I’ll be sad because I know that when you’re not yourself, you can feel stuck and unsure and out of sorts. I don’t want you to feel those things, but I suppose we all go through those moments. But in those moments, you can always tell me what’s going on. You never have to be scared or unsure or worried about how I will react. It won’t make me turn away from you. It won’t diminish my love for you. It will just make me love you harder, as though my love were a looking glass, and the harder I love you, the clearer the reflection, so you can see for yourself just how amazing you are, and you can live that amazing every day.
You’ll always have your dad, and you’ll always have me. Right behind you, adoring you. No matter what.