It´s funny but I enrolled in an online Reflective Writing Club at the same time as a face to face personal growth, women empowerment workshop in my town here in Spain. Last Friday, in both, they ask me to reflect on my past and my present. Sort of what do I know now that I wish I knew earlier in my life. At the reflective writing club, I could pick any time, any mode, of my personal or professional life that has a before and a now.
At the women workshop, we needed to write a letter to the girl we were when we got our first period, giving her advise of the things we knew now, and we wish we knew at that age. It was a task we needed to do in the workshop, with pen and pencil, almost as a stream of consciousness exercise. The letter needed to start with Querida mujer (Dear woman)…
I remember writing my letter without punctuation or pausing. Just what my heart told me to say at that point. I filled the two sides of a paper in 5 minutes. It was very personal.
The letters we wrote went to a group of women in another town who was doing the exact same workshop. Last Monday, we received their letters and we read them out loud. It was a beautiful and powerful exercise. All of the letters have a common theme of being beautiful and valuable the way we were, that we were the owner of our bodies and that we need to feel free to pursue what we wanted since we were going to be ok. I also like one girl who was 18 years old, and told herself not to cry too much because she would dry up.
Now as a hybrid combination of both assignments. here is my public letter to myself
Here I am, at fifty six years old, giving advise to me-you of almost 14.
First of all, you don´t need to hurry, or worry. You don´t need to drag your mom to the doctor, to see how much you are going to grow before you get your period. Being tall is the best. You can be in marches, demonstrations, concerts, and won´t get suffocated by people´s odors. You will still be dealing with your period in 2018, and its a pain in the butt. So why even think about it? Enjoy your freedom.
I know, it´s hard not to fit in.
Also, get comfortable, and confident about yourself since the feeling of being an odd duck will be always with you. Yeap, the feeling doesn´t disappear with age.
I remember hearing one of my oldest cousin telling me that she taught her kids to be comfortable with the fact that they will be always against the current, advise that I passed on to my own children. I wish my parents have told me that when I was your age. Instead, they were trying to prove me that I was normal, that everything was normal, that I was an average teen, with average teen concerns and anxieties. Oh, how much I hated the thought that I was so predictable. But don´t worry, later in life you won´t , hahaha.
Pay attention to your projects, and the things that moves you, without thinking too much on what other people think of them or you. People will love you the way you are. Don´t be scared. Be like your own daughter, a strong, confident and fun woman. Be proud of yourself and shine.
I love you with all my heart, and even though sometimes you will feel blue and down, own the moment and give yourself permission to feel not so good. I remember when I was twenty something I was in search for happiness and its meaning, and came up with the definition that happiness was not being in a marvelous bubble in paradise, but being in charge of yourself, and feel your ups and downs to the max. Understanding their rhythm, and their power. Learning to know your body will help you to realize that maybe your periods are not a pain, but actually a wonderful instrument that can give you more strength, energy and creativity.
When you choose what you want to study, remember that you can always change. In your mid twenties, when you have to apply to your scholarship to go to study to the US, you will wish the internet was a widespread tool, and discover that there are so many possibilities, and choices. You don´t need to fit the mold. Remember that´s never too late to learn something new, and it won´t matter how old are you to continue pursuing your dreams, your desires, and what your heart is truly telling you. Be honest to yourself, be happy the way you defined it later, and be kind and caring with others. Happiness is not a state at the expense of others. It´s a state with you and others.
I love you my dear woman, walk through life with your head up, and your body straight. You will make me proud.