Letters to a Young Woman Project.
Women over the age of 40 write a letter to their younger selves.
Dear 17 year old me,
Look at you!
How full of life, hope and courage you are! What dreams you have, how you’ve mixed with folks from all over, across all ages. You’ve not been confined to the usual teenage experience, and the way in which you’ve already lived will serve you in later years, because you’ve already learned how to ‘be’ with people from so many walks of life. You have permission to congratulate yourself for this, and you’re allowed to be proud of yourself.
Some things spring to mind immediately that I’d love to impart to you, and let you in on. Some secrets and some learnings. I don’t know how much you’ll take in - how much it’s possible to take in - because I remember you really thought you’d experienced so much of what life has to offer. In a way, you have. But in many other ways, you have not.
Here’s some things:
What you believe in your heart is REAL. You have the sneaking suspicion you were built to fully enjoy life. It’s true. You are. And your ability to be led by the heart will allow you to feel joy and awe, and experience beauty like other people don’t seem to. (Just remember you have a head and a body as well. They’re kind of important).
Your other suspicion is that you’re really quite talented at that thing that you love doing most of all: acting. You are! You may as well give up pretending that you’re only a bit good, or just average, and just accept it’s your Way. For life. Don’t bother with those other things you tried when you thought you weren’t good enough or pretty enough or skinny enough - you’ll just find your way back to acting anyway, and carve out a perfectly satisfactory life earning money from it. How fun!
But there’s more to it than that.
The thought that maybe this is why you were put on earth - to act - is probably true, although there are many other reasons for your being here.
At 17 you are thinking that acting is a selfish endeavour, and you should put your hand to more altruistic purposes, like Social Work. Something that *actually* helps people. This I’ve learned: you will never be of MORE use than when you are employed in the practise of that which makes your heart sing, and lights the fire of your soul. It’s at this time you are in flow with the universe, and so you’re being used most efficiently, and for the highest purpose.
You will heal people with your acting. You’ll teach it, and you’ll help people become truer, more authentic versions of themselves with it.
You’ll notice I’ve mentioned ‘The Universe’. Don’t worry that that’s anti-Christian. I found out the most amazing thing: it’s all one! There’s more than one way to god, and true freedom lies on the other side of that revelation. But you’ll read that and be scared, so I won’t say any more. You’ll find out in time.
A heads up: do not be too shocked to find, that from about 38 years old, life will get you to process some trauma you thought you’d already processed. It’s taken me by surprise and I’ve had to go back through a lot of old stuff and a lot of cooped up suffering. I’m still in the middle of it, four years on. But another heads up: suffering is not the enemy. Avoidance of suffering is. But there’s a whole book in that.
I feel as though I could go on and on. But time is short and there is the matter of the 5 kids to attend to. (oh yeah - there’s that! Three of your own, two your partner’s - he’s so sexy and beautiful and takes seriously good care of you. You can talk about all things and you guys work together and grow together. It’s very special. Your first husband is lovely and exciting, too. You have been blessed with honourable men as romantic partners. Or maybe not blessed, maybe we called that shit in. We don’t tend to settle - that’s a good thing, even if you feel lonely! Better to be lonely than in a shitty relationship. Eventually you learn to love your own company anyway).
I suppose, above all, I’d want you to know that, although you carry so much shame and it’s so deeply ingrained in you...the release from all that is the most incredible awakening you will ever know (up until you’re 42, at least!). The butterfly in the room will signify it’s arrival (I’ve only just realised, writing this, that the butterfly symbolises transformation - mic drop!).
So although I’d wish for you a life free of suffering, shame, feeling sinful, wrong and dirty...I’d always hope you got to experience ‘The Great Transformation of 2011’. Life, as you know it, changes forever in the most incredible of ways. And that transformation sets the tone for the rest of your adult life.
The sneaking suspicions about yourself are right. You are who you think you are. Powerful, insightful, brave, smart, a great actor and full to the brim of loving-kindness for humanity. Trust yourself.
Ps. As great as you are, you’ll always be a MASSIVE dag, there’s no getting around that fact although you’ll eventually develop a fashion sense - that comes with your awakening
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