A letter to my younger self.

{I saw many lovely ladies on Twitter talking about how they were writing letters to their younger selves, and the wonderful and freeing experience it was. So I thought, why not? I encourage you, gentlemen and ladies alike, to do the same. It’s rather cathartic. Enjoy!}

Dear a younger and probably less weird but somehow more self conscious Cassi Clerget, aged 17 years,

Hello, my dear. I wish I could tell you the next several years are going to be a piece of cake. They’re not. And in a few years, you’re going to discover you can’t even eat cake, so there’s irony for you. And I wish I could tell you that when you turn the glorious age of 25 your life will click into place and the world as you know it will make sense. It doesn’t. Especially considering I’m writing this from our bedroom in mom and dad’s house.

But with each year, you will learn new lessons, uncover new pieces of yourself, explore a new path. With each year you will grow into yourself, becoming the lovely woman you were meant to be. Life, you’ll see, is one surprise after another. Some of these lessons will be difficult to learn, but as is the case with most things in life, the hard lessons are worth the most. So this is for you, a bit of encouragement (even though I’m sure your stubborn self thinks you don’t need it)…

On finding love… You’re going to be single for quite some time. And you’re not going to like it. You will spend many nights wondering what is wrong with you, why the man you admire doesn’t feel the same. Your self esteem and self confidence are going to give you emotional whiplash, and it will sadly get worse before it gets better. It’s not easy, caring for a man (or two) who doesn’t return those feelings. It’s difficult to see your friends find love and not be able to experience it for yourself. It’s heartbreaking to watch the man you care about choose someone else.
But you are strong with a dash of independence. You will make it through. One day, you’ll see that having a man in your life doesn’t make you whole; only God can do that. You are going to discover that being a woman doesn’t mean having a man. It means being the beautiful person God created you to be. Being a woman means loving and living life, not sitting on the sidelines waiting for a man to ask you to join in.

About being cautious… I know you like being careful. I know you aren’t always impulsive. And I know you labor over every detail before coming to a decision. And while those traits are admirable, sometimes you let them paralyze you. You agonize over everything until you’re too worried to take a chance. You walk a fine line between being careful and being afraid. Life isn’t fun when you let fear take over. Life isn’t enjoyed when you’re too terrified to make a mistake. The truth is you are going to make mistakes. A lot of them. You are going to do some really stupid things. But each mistake, each impulsive decision will teach you something. They will help you experience life. They will give you something to write about.

Since we’re on the subject… never stop writing. Never stop scribbling down those ideas on post-it notes and notecards. Never stop trying to write a book. Never stop imagining the stories you want to tell. Because here’s a secret- words are the foundation of your soul, the way to your heart. You live them and breathe them. There will be times when it becomes a chore, but those days will pass, and you’ll realize that a life without words, without stories is a life without air, water, light, and God. There will be days when you think it’s not worth it, that maybe you should find something else. But if you remove your passion, your love, your craving for words, you’ll be empty. You live for the stories you can tell. So never stop writing them down.

Also… Be yourself, always, no exception. You can roll your eyes at this if you must, but deep down, in the secret place in your heart, you know this isn’t always easy. Sometimes it’s easier to be someone else, someone different, someone everyone else wants you to be. It’s easier to hide certain parts of you to make others happy or to be more appealing to the men who don’t seem to notice you. But carving out parts of yourself, hiding the things that make you who you are means you only get to live half a life. Pretending to be something you’re not means people don’t see you for who you are. And you are worth seeing and worth knowing.
So accept that you will always be the girl who laughs at an inappropriate joke. You will always listen more than you talk. You will always be the nerdy girl with glasses who is a bit shy, a tad awkward, and more comfortable sitting at home. You will always be the girl who hates to party and doesn’t understand flirting. You will be the girl who is recklessly cautious, or maybe cautiously reckless. You will always be you, because one day you’ll realize that’s the only person you can be. Be kind to yourself.

Unfortunately… There are going to be days when you feel absolutely low. You aren’t going to want to get out of bed, smile at the people you see, or laugh. There are going to be days that only seem to get worse with each passing minute. There are going to be days filled with darkness, depression, and desolation.
And you aren’t going to want to tell anyone. You are going to keep it to yourself, hiding behind a poorly constructed mask that offers no solace. You are going to wish you could burrow under blankets and pillows and cry until the emptiness is filled with your tears. But, my dear, you don’t need to. There’s no need, because you aren’t alone. You’re never alone. You can seek help, seek the love and mercy of our amazing Father. You can tell someone your sorrows. You can share your pain. You should never be embarrassed or ashamed of how you feel. It’s who you are; how God made you.

Some other random advice… Know that it’s okay to end a friendship, especially if that person cares nothing about you. Know that your sisters are your best friends, and that’s pretty freaking awesome. Know that sometimes mom and dad know what they are talking about even if you happen to be more “book smart.” Know that when you dye your hair red, it will never come out. Know that your wait for an iPhone will be long, but worth it. Know that when your sisters tell you to read some random guy’s blog, it will be a new beginning. Know that you will often be in debt, but your education is a gift. Know that moving back home (three times) isn’t a sign of defeat, but a chance to begin again.

Finally, and this is the most important, know that there are some things you just can’t know and will never know. You will often and frequently be annoyed by this, and you will do your best to figure everything out. But life is lived best in the unknown. We learn best in the unknown. We discover ourselves in the unknown. So be okay with not knowing.

Love,
Your older but still pretty awesome self.

PS- Maybe stop making sweeping declarations about things you are never going to do. God sees it as a challenge.

Thank you for reading! Feel free to share your thoughts. And maybe follow me on Twitter?

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