Letters To My Younger Self

Letters To My Younger Self

Dear Little Mily,

Twice in my life I have been able to describe my living situation as "living the life of my dreams" even though my living situations have all been so different.

We both know that you have these secret ambitions of being a "Mom" when you grow up and pursuing your creative passions. We both know that you haven't admitted that to a lot of people because of the pressure everyone puts on you about how you have to go to school and get a degree and work a job.

But there is a future out there for you where you do get to pursue the deepest desires of your heart and I want to encourage you to never give up on those. 

The first time I described my living situation as "living the life of my dreams" I was using it as a mask to describe how I thought I should be feeling. For a long time you will continue to receive pressure and invalidation about wanting to be an artist and wanting to be a mom. It will effect you to the degree of you thinking there is something wrong with those aspirations and trying your best to find something else in your life that will bring the same kind of joy. 

But then something magical happened. We became a mom. 

Having a child was one of the biggest choices of our life. I remember the day that I found out I was pregnant and how I called the father while he was at work because I just couldn't wait to share the news. They say that life changes in those moments and they aren't wrong. But for me, for us, I was so hopeful that life was finally going to change in the way I always wanted it to. That I was finally going to be able to "live the life of my dreams."

And for a while life was just that. I was taking care of the little one, taking care of the home, taking care of the husband. We were living a life of poverty trying to build the foundations of a life that we could be proud of living. Together we dreamed about what that could look like as we scraped by. But we were happy. We were so happy. 

I learned the hard way that you and I are social creatures. And once the social life dynamic shifted I slumped so hard into a depression that it was incredibly difficult to get myself out again. Little Mily, please, steward your friendships well. Because for social creatures like us, those friendships can be life or death. 

The lonelier I became the more I invalidated myself because I shouldn't be sad. "I am living the life of my dreams" I would continuously say. "I literally cannot be depressed. This is all I've ever wanted."

But the depression got bad enough that we had to seek professional help. And that helped me to realize that I wasn't actually happy. It was a mind blowing moment thinking that the thing I secretly desired so much when I was little was actually causing me harm instead of bringing me the purest joy like I expected it to.

Bedtime stories never tell you everything. They end the story on the happiest moment of the character's life with the tagline "they all lived happily ever after" and if in those moments you ended my story I would describe it the same way. But realizing that I was in fact unhappy pushed me into such a spiral that I never expected. I invalidated my dreams and aspirations as a child. I thought maybe everyone was right and I should have picked some type of career to bring me joy instead of wanting to be a mom. My world rocked as I lost trust in YOU, Little Mily. 

I started working a "real job". I went against what I always wanted and enrolled my daughter in preschool. And for a season I was feeling happy again. But I was deceived. I thought that working was bringing me happiness but what I realized was all I really needed was the ability to be social with other humans that were taller than 2 feet like my toddler. 

This realization both hurt and helped me to become the person I am today. I now know how important it is to me to have a social life. But realizing those things and doing them are two different things. Especially when you're dealing with other humans who have their own emotions and needs. 

I hoped and prayed that I could depend on my husband for the social needs I longed for but that request put too much pressure on him and ended up driving a wedge between us. It wasn't long after that he clearly communicated he could not fulfill my basic needs which lead to our relationship ending. 

And I won't lie, I thought in that moment that my life was over. I wasn't sure how to be the person I wanted to be, how to reach the dreams and aspirations I always had. I lost myself because I lost trust in YOU, Little Mily, and all the desires and dreams we had together while we were little. I didn't think I could be a mom. I didn't think I was a good mom. And I definitely didn't consider myself an artist anymore.

It took me a really long time to pick up those pieces and put them back together again, but now I can confidently say for the second time (and maybe a little more authentically this time) I am living the life of my dreams. It doesn't look like how you thought it would look, Little Mily. But it brings me the purest joy. I might not look forward to waking up every day because the depression still lingers, but now I am equipped with the tools I need to be able to help myself through it. And I have done a good job fostering the support group that I need to fulfill my social battery.

Things are born, they live, and they die. Sometimes they get sick and get better but everything does eventually come to an end. It is important to recognize that, Little Mily. Knowing that will help you grow through everything that gets thrown at you. And someday I know you will live the life of your dreams too.



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