I’ve been intending to have this conversation for a long time, but been avoiding it. There is something to say about wisdom. I guess that’s why it takes years and life experience to achieve it. Sometimes even with wisdom, you don’t have all the answers, just know that’s the way life is. I got this idea from Rene Syler’s blog Good Enough Mother. She has a segment called “Life Lessons”, and one of the questions she asks, “What would you say to your 16 year old self?” I decided it was time to have a honest conversation with my 16 year old self.
I was a sensitive teenager, who had a great circle of friends. I couldn’t wait for us to do things to get away from home. I had a ball when I was away from home. You see, my mother was an alcoholic who could be mean when she drank. I would explain to my 16 year old self not to blame momma, she had a sickness, an addiction and didn’t seek help. My daddy didn’t know or chose not to seek help. My parents were very private people, only family and her close friends knew what momma was going through. She would try to tackle it herself, I would be so proud of her, only to be so disappointed when she started drinking again. I would tell that disappointed girl, take it easy on momma, she’s trying. She’s trying to stop because she loves her family, but addiction is HARD!
I would tell that girl, now you understand why daddy stayed with momma? He loved her, and his family. We were his responsibility and he wasn’t going to abandon us, not the daddy I know and love. He wasn’t weak, not at all. Thank you daddy for being man enough not to run when some wouldn’t have been able to handle the pressure. You had the work ethic that allowed you to take care of your family despite the situation. I’m sorry I ever thought that way about you, I was your girl and I wanted you to be happy.
My momma wanted me to be thin, and I wanted to be….trust me. She told me once that no man would ever want me because I was fat. That. Hurt. Bad. I would tell that girl, it was her way trying to encourage you to lose weight now, because it was a battle that I’m still fighting today. I would explain to that sensitive young woman, toughen up, don’t cry, even though that still stings and probably why I have married three times. I wanted acceptance, and I have finally accepted myself. I would also explain to that wanna be grown young girl that sex is not a substitute for love, and giving yourself to that young man didn’t make him stay, just brought drama. I would tell that girl that she was blessed not to be a teenaged mother or have any STD because I wasn’t practicing safe sex. Thank you Lord for that one!
I would tell that girl to ask for help with geometry and trigonometry instead of just passing without any understanding of what I was learning. My daddy just couldn’t understand why I didn’t get it, hell I just didn’t, sorry daddy. I would explain that momma & daddy are proud of you, so relax a little more. I would tell her to make sure you stay in college, even when your parents brought you home. Enroll in a local college and finish, because that plan to go back hasn’t happened yet. You did get a trade later on and that’s where you discovered your creativity.
Your parents taught you some of life’s best lessons, you have a conscience, ethics, hard working because no one will give you anything and have great style. You realize that none of this is possible without the love of God. I would tell that girl that your life is what you make it, you will take chances, live in different places, make friends all over the country, make good and bad decisions. I would explain to that critical girl to keep living, you will be a parent and have a different set of challenges with a special needs child. Parents aren’t perfect, we do the best with what we have and with love. You did forgive your momma, she truly loved you.
My mother died 9 years ago yesterday and I miss her so much.
The Woman I am Today
Please reach out and encourage a young girl today, you never know how you could touch her life, kind words can sometimes last a lifetime.