An Open Letter To My Past Self

def. Child: n. a young human being below the age of puberty or below the legal age of majority.

Dear Self,

It’s sometimes hard for me to adequately explain myself, but I will do my best here today.

I am not a child anymore.

Child, in reference to the definition above, “a young human being below the age of puberty or below the legal age of majority.” I am a daughter. I am a friend. But I am not a child anymore.

I’ve put off writing this many times, but, as I’ve recently come to realize, the only person I am hurting in doing so is myself. So, here I am, in all of my rawness and realness.

In the beginning, I needed my family, as a child needs a mother. That’s only natural. But by my teens, I was no more capable of taking care of myself than that of a child, looking back.

At the time, I didn’t know any better. I had grow accustomed to it. While my peers were gaining their independence and taking the necessary steps towards adulthood, I was not. I only thought I was in control, when in fact, I had little control over how my life was playing out. That’s my mistake, I let my fear hold me back for so long.

High school eventually ended and it was off to college. This is where I thought my freedom laid, but as I would soon find out freedom does not come at a small price. I fought the unfamiliarity of being away from home and did my best to find my footing. Through all the highs and lows, my parents were there for me, and I still needed them, in a way, but as my independence grew, so did our struggles.

Freshman year came and went and before I blinked twice I was starting my sophomore year of college. This year was not easy and the loss I experienced redefined my entire life. For the first time in my life, I was on my own. No safety net, no familiarity. I was pushed off the edge with no one to save me, but myself.

And save myself I did, after some very rough months. But what conspired in those few months would begin a change to myself, a change that was dreadfully overdue. For the first time in my life, my parents couldn’t save me. And for the first time I didn’t want them to.

After to coming to terms with my new normal, I realized I now had access to a whole new freedom, a whole new me. It was intimidating, yet refreshingly liberating. I made choices for me and the life I was creating. No more settling for what others had chosen for me, I was in charge for the first time. And that was hard for people.

The last half of college was different. I wasn’t under anyone’s thumb. I was walking with tender feet through this new phase. I didn’t have all the answers, but I pushed to become my own person.

College eventually ended and the real test would begin. Would I follow the plan others had laid out for my life? Or would I follow my own heart and be true to myself? Everyone had an opinion. I tried so hard to make everyone happy, but in doing so I betrayed myself. I was living in a fragile state and all I wanted was for someone to look me in the eye and tell me to jump, to follow my heart and take the leap. But no one ever did.

I looked for guidance and support. I didn’t feel anyone truly saw me for me. I wanted to fly, but I didn’t want to let my family down. I was fighting a silent war and no one ever knew.

When I finally decided to leave for the summer, through much deliberation and self toil, I was on a mission to find myself, whoever that might be. Through hell or high water, I wasn’t coming back the same person, I couldn’t and I didn’t. I had no knowledge of what would happen, but leaving was the best possible decision I could have made looking back now. While three months turned into five and a chance encounter with love, coming back home was anything but easy.

My biggest fear was that I would continue to be viewed as a child. Even at then 22, I still felt I had eluded breaking that mold I’d been cast in.

And now here I stand, a few months until I turn 25. I’ve grown and shifted in more ways than imaginable and I’m proud of who I am. I’ve fought for who I am.

Now, I only need one thing, my unwavering support. I don’t want to critique my dreams, but encourage me to pursue them. I don’t want to criticize my plans, but help me to bring them to life. I don’t want to brood over my life, but pray that I live my best life, for me and for those I may impact.

I have my own life now and with such comes certain, often uncomfortable, changes. I cannot and will not see my family every day, it does not mean I don’t love them. I will not talk to them every day, it does not mean I have forgotten about them. Family will still be there when you need them.

Do not hold me back. It is time I continue down my own path, parallel, yet separate from anyone else. God has my back. I know people worry, but I have wings now, strong wings built through tests of fire. I can do this.

So this is my white flag. My final stand, here in all its glory. Things will change, but change isn’t always a bad thing. This is the start of a new chapter, a healthier chapter. Time to take the first step towards the life you have been dreaming of.