By Doris AC Johnson MA of Psy, ABA
If I could write a letter to my former self…my younger self.
DEAR DORIS, the first mistake you made was one of many. Eve started that. In your adolescence, your biggest fear was trying to look through the lens of others to see why they could not accept you. It was not how they viewed you…it was what their young eyes had seen in their lives. You were their deflection.
You ran and rushed when it was safe to sit in silence. You drove recklessly and did not listen. You made rampant decisions to fit into places you did not belong. You changed faces…mask after mask. You sacrificed your soul by pretending you were okay when inside you were crumbling. That one attempt to play catch up could have ruined the whole spill.
At times, it did not seem that you finally chose to win until you crossed the finish line. You stayed the course and ran the race jumping of hurdles and barriers that you created. You were always good hearted, but you kept bumping your head because you walked into many situations in shame…looking down at your feet because you were made to feel that your face was broken into a thousand pieces.
You gave easily without expecting a return. You made excuses. You sold yourself short. You gave too much too soon. Why didn’t you learn that being selfish is ok…saving something for yourself is the key to protecting your peace? You were always good enough…you were just guilty of looking for love in places that had no intention of reciprocity. You did not wait for love, you loved on hope. You tried to turn dirt into diamonds. You had ingested so many crumbs that you learned to get full off them.
As you stepped into young adulthood, you knew better, but it took you time to do better.
Why couldn’t you trust without borders? Why were you hiding from yourself? You weren’t all bad. You lavished in the taste of regret and chased it down with a huge gulp of sorrow. You allowed experience to be your guide…drive your car when you refused to listen…chose not to hear. All those broken roads lead to somewhere, and here you are. I am glad you had this conversation with yourself and finally listened. I am proud of you. You have decided that you do not have to allow people to help themselves to you. You finally found yourself inside yourself and no one else. You are no longer allowing all the broken-heartedness to be your emotional crutch. You have learned to be responsible for your own actions and toss out the blueprint that all the failed relationships created for you. You taught me so much. Allow me to offer you this nourishment for supper; Dear Doris, experience is not the best teacher, obedience is. Experience is the ugly substitute.