Thursday, 1 December 2011

A Letter to 19 Year Old Me



As a slight departure from the normal tomfoolery, I thought I'd share with you something a little bit special to me. I wrote this earlier in the year as a submission for ELLE. I'm not sure which was more cathartic, the actual writing or the sharing with my parents and my gorgeous boys. Either way, I do hope you enjoy. 


Dear 19 year old me.

Swit swoo look at you! No, really, look at you - you're the most beautiful that you will ever be, loathe as you are to see it. Typical teenager, eh? Not quite. You’re a mother to two beautiful boys already when you still need mothering yourself. I’m writing to let you know that what you’re doing now, as insignificant as it feels, is the most important work you will ever do. The events that you are experiencing will shape your life and change your path forever. You will realise in time that these things that have happened to you, and because of you, are for a reason. You have the potential to shape your world and that of your boys beyond your wildest dreams; and you'll do it.

You know that guy? That love of your life? The answer to all your prayers? He's not. He's just as confused as you are and in no way good for you or your babies. Despite what your head is telling you, you don't deserve to be treated that way. Nobody does. Don't panic though, you'll see this and you'll see it in time. When it happens it’ll be as if a cloud has been lifted, you can breathe easier and shoulder your responsibility with a pride that won’t be equalled. Sounds crazy, right?

Yes, you think now that raising two babies alone means the end of your life but that's your teenage brain thinking. You think no one knows the thoughts that are smothering your mind but I know & it's OK. You're perfectly normal and doing the best that you know how to do - no one in life could ever expect any more from you.

I know you feel completely & desolately alone but I'm here for you. Those babies are going to grow, they're going to develop personalities that shock and awe you every single day. They'll turn into the funniest people you know, including yourself, and you're pretty feckin' funny. They'll swell your heart with pride so that you never feel lonely again. (Psst! Contrary to your overwhelming guilt now, they're your greatest achievement in life).

Listen; go easy on Mam & Dad won’t you? They’re just as shocked and disappointed as you are, perhaps even more so. You don’t have the market cornered on those feelings, unfortunately. As time passes you’ll realise that they only ever wanted the best for you, as flippant as that sounds to you now. You’ll come to realise too that although they’re your parents, they’re just people. Trying their best to navigate parenthood as best they can, as you soon will be.

Despite your fears, life won't always be sleepless nights and endless nappies! I know you’re feeling forgotten about and left behind as your friends move on to college and have sleepless nights of their own but that’s not your path, not yet anyway. You'll get back to work. They, in turn, will encourage you to go back to college, to nurture the brain that you've tried so hard to conceal just to spite yourself. It'll be tough but you'll juggle and you'll get your degree. That piece of paper and sense of accomplishment that you secretly wished for is here and waiting for you to catch up. 


You’re going to have the closest circuit of family and friends that your mind now is still unable to appreciate or even comprehend. You'll wake every morning (well, most mornings) eager for the day, for the next challenge, the next adventure. You can’t even visualize what that life will feel like but it is your life. It’s our life.

Times won't always be rosy but your outlook will change so that won't matter. It will slowly dawn on you that everybody has their life to lead, their crosses to bear and their decisions to make. This will give you the courage to weigh your options, to set yourself goals and push yourself and your boys toward them with enthusiasm that you never thought possible.

What I’m telling you is that the days you merely exist through right now are times that you will draw on long into your future. They will give you strength and resolve to better yourself and your life each and every day. To reach for opportunities and experiences that you never would have had the self-belief to do previously. You will stand taller having been that low, love easier having been that alone. These are all good things. Great things.

If I could give you one piece of advice it would be to slow down, stop wishing your years away because they go of their own accord. Try to enjoy your time with the boys, they grow up so fast. That's advice I could probably take too, pretty much everyone could.

Wonder what 50 year old us will have to say about that? If cats haven't eaten her face I bet she's pretty cool - but don't tell 70 year old us that, she's raising her face to the sun and shaking her head at the sheer naivety of us. We have no idea. xxx

25 comments:

Karen said...

Ah Sue, brilliant post :) You are very wise dontcha know :)

What Larry Loves! said...

Lovely post! thanks for sharing! x

cornflakegirl said...

What a great post Sue and lovely that you shared the letter with your family too.

Colette said...

Sue, what a fantastic letter to your younger self. If we could see then, what we know now, life just wouldn't be the same at all. You have done well, girl, very well indeed! Nice one :)

Jennie said...

Insightful, beautiful, intelligent, brave.

Chantelle said...

I won't lie, theres a few aul tears in my eyes, what a lovely honest piece! You should be proud of all that you've done!

Ellie Balfe said...

That's beautiful Sue, so well written, truthful and touching. Well done for writing it and well done on being one cool Mama! X

Nessa Robins said...

What a beautifully written post and so honest. Your family must of really enjoyed reading it. Well done :)

CherrySue said...

Girls, thanks so much for your beautiful comments, they really mean a lot.

I was a little dubious to share this at first but delighted now that I did x

paulaannryan said...

Aw god that post is so lovely. If we knew then what we know now! You obviously doing a fab job with your two kids, from your tweets they sound awesome. It's funny I never thought about my parents struggling with parenthood and all that comes with it until now....xxxx

fluff and fripperies said...

Ah Sue, this was fabulous. You have me feeling all emotional now. Karen's right, you're one very wise lady x

Simone G said...

Beautiful x

MsDarkFairy88 said...

So beautiful! really nicely written piece x

Rob Jordan said...

So very proud of you sis x

Janine Fitzpatrick said...

Lovely post, well done.

boredmum said...

sue that is just fantastic, u have a real talent, love it

MissGreenEyes said...

Just reading this now, amazing post and an absolute joy to read xxx

Anonymous said...
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Mammasaurus said...

Beautiful and empowering!

Not to mention ruddy funny- " If cats haven't eaten her face I bet she's pretty cool" !

Love it x

Emma said...

Fantastic, I wish there was a way to actually tell our younger selves these words of wisdom!

RedEyeDream said...

That was really lovely!

I still wish time away and i am about to turn 30 soon and i do not know WHERE the time has gone. It really does fly! It is hard to be positive in this economy and with the media ramming negativity down our necks, but i will do my best :)

shiv said...

that is beautiful susan , look at you know so proud of ya and always have been xxxxxx

Anonymous said...

Awww Karen I had no idea you were a young mama like myself! I understood so much of what yous said in this and taking some of your wisdom on board x x x

Anonymous said...

Sorry SUE, SUE, SUE, I always get yours and Karens name confused!! x x

Glamour & Go said...

Lovely post Sue