Advice I’d Give My Younger Self

Words of Wisdom

Photo Credit: Jakob Owens

What has happened in your life is just a story. Like Homer’s Odyssey, charting an epic journey to return home, while yours may not be as arduous as Odysseus’, it’s long, entertaining and tragic in parts. But, the most important thing to remember is that it is just a story. Your breakthrough will come when you decide you wouldn’t allow your past to shape your future. By letting go of shame, feelings of injustice, embarrassment and guilt, you’re able to detach from the story and share it with others.

Forgive yourself for that teenage pregnancy. You were looking for love at a time when your world was torn apart. Your father died, you were taken away from your siblings and all that was familiar, to a life of self-reliance. Your mother was merely reacting out of shock when she said you were bad; worse than your siblings. Those words turned you into a doormat, spending decades trying to prove to people that you are good. One day, after reading The Gifts of Imperfection, you’ll say, “I AM a good person.” It’ll dawn on you that you’ve carried this for 25 years.

Love yourself. There will be times in your life when you hit the depths of despair. You’ll think the abusive marriage is a first, yet, deep down, you know there’s a pattern. Why else would you say the reason you avoid relationships is because you lose your power when you’re with a man? You’ll attract, or be attracted to men who’ll mistreat you because you don’t love yourself enough. It’s true what they say about not being able to love another until you love yourself. And when you love yourself enough, you’ll stop giving discounts. Notice how you feel around your lover. If he brings down your mood, if you start to curtail your behaviour for a “quiet life” at home, leave him, before he dims your light.

You always bounce back. Your resilience astounds even you, at times. Even when your friends end their baby’s life and they visit you the day before. He was unwell; there’s no way you could know what they are about to do. The actions of this professional couple will make you lose your faith in people. You’ll question how you could have such friends and you’ll remember your gut “going off” trying to warn you, and you ignoring it.

You sticking up for the underdog is why they will choose you to help with the communication. Like a rabbit caught in the headlights, this experience will nearly end your career as a sign language interpreter. You will stand strong, even when your legs feel like they’re buckling beneath you and your integrity will be attacked. Despite the fear, you’ll survive, and you’ll slowly learn to trust people again, but it’s going to take time.

All of these experiences will contribute to who you’re becoming. Through adversity, you’ll find strength and growth. You’re going to be OK, kiddo.

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