Do you ever wish you could go back and make those painful teenage years better?
Do you ever wish you could make someone else’s painful teenage years better right now?
Mara Glatzel of Medicinal Marzipan has taken that wish and turned it into a campaign of creativity, inviting bloggers all over the blogosphere to speak out about their experiences with body image, sexuality, and self-esteem during their teen years. This post is my contribution.
Wanna join in? Please do! Click here or on the banner above for all the details on how to get involved.
Dear Teenage Me,
I know you can’t even imagine being 25, let alone 45, but I’m writing to let you know that you made it. Weird, I know — how can anyone possibly be that old? But it’s true. And life is much, much better, richer and more wonderful than you would ever believe.
They say life begins at 40, and for us, that’s not far from the truth.
But don’t worry — there was lots of wonderful stuff in all the years before 40, too. It’s just that there was also so much hard.
And so much of the hard just pains me to see you feeling right now, as I watch you from the future. Since I used to be a teenager myself (in fact, I was YOU — doh!), I know how critically important it feels to fit in, to be cool, and most of all, to be beautiful. And thin.
I know that somewhere, underneath all the programming from your steady diet of Seventeen Magazine and MTV, not to mention every fairy tale you ever imbibed with mother’s milk — underneath all that, you really do know that a woman’s appearance is NOT the true determinant of her worth.
I see the nights when you sneak out into the bathroom to surreptitiously vomit up the meal you binged on a few hours earlier. I see the days when you can’t concentrate in English class, because the eraser keeps looking like a Hershey bar, and you’re revising your daily 600-calorie menu over and over in your head. I see you leafing through the pages of the latest issue of Seventeen or Madamoiselle or Glamour, tears dripping down your cheeks because you’ll never look like those girls, and it makes you feel like your worth is less than zero.
I see it, and it rips my heart out. And I wonder: what would you — what would WE — have been able to create with that vast intelligence and creative mind of ours, if you could pull even just a fraction of your attention out of that beauty imperative?
All that attention, all that focus, all that desperate energy — what might you have done with it, if you hadn’t been staring hatefully in the mirror, memorizing calorie charts and kneeling over the toilet?
What art might you have created? How might you have made a difference for someone else?
I don’t know if anything an adult could say to you would make a difference — even if that adult IS you. But what I’d like to remind you of is this:
At last count, very, very few of the people both Adult Me and Teenage You most admire, love and want to be around are, or ever were, supermodels.
In fact, at last count, the grand total was… zero.
Darling, sweetheart, wonderfulness, let me just remind you that the people you most admire, love, and want to be around come in all shapes and sizes, and you still admire, love and want to be around them.
Knowing that, could we open just the tiniest hint of a possibility that perhaps, just perhaps, regardless of your own shape and size, you might be worthy of the same love and admiration?
Just think about it, ‘k? Because great things are coming from you, and nothing — nothing — should get in the way of that. Least of all bullshit programming that tells you you’re anything less than absolutely wonderful and worthy.
Because you are. Wonderful and worthy. Please remember that.
Your Future Self
Announcement Time! Announcing my Free Living A Creative Life Monthly Hangouts!
One thing my teenage self really could have used was a regular hangout with other creative types. A safe space where who you are is more important than what size 501s you wear. Where big-hearted creatives gather to connect, inspire, encourage, learn from and empower each other.
Let’s make up for lost time! Join me at my NEW free monthly hangouts, a live streaming video get-together on the first Wednesday of the month, starting next Wednesday. You’ll find:
- a splash of live music (expect some ukulele!)
- a peek into my creative process (and possibly yours, too, if you want to share!)
- an interview/conversation with a different special guest each month–a creative person I admire, with cool stuff to share, who will inspire and/or amuse us
- Q&A with me and my special guest-of-the-month
All in my unique, Inspirationalist style. And yes, all live, on streaming video (with access to the recording for those who can’t make it live). But you gotta be on the hangout mailing list so I can send you info on how to join in live, and a link to the recording afterwards.
The first hangout is next Wednesday, April 4th, at 2pm PDT, with special guest, author, coach and educator Tara Rodden Robinson, the Productivity Maven.
If you struggle with procrastination, with using your time efficiently, with getting sucked into things that maybe aren’t the best use of your energies while your Important Work languishes, don’t miss this!
So mark your calendar! And click here to get on the list.
FYI, future guests will include:
Emilie Wapnick – fellow Passion Pluralite, Chief Multipotentialite at Puttylike.com, and author of Renaissance Business: Make Your Multipotentiality Your Day Job. (May)
Christyna Lewis – intuitive Financial Coach at Beeventures.org, known for helping creative types make friends with their finances. (June)
C.A. Kobu – Creative Alchemist and Project Midwife at WakeUpAndFlourish.com, and creator of the amazing A Year With Myself program (aff) (featuring yours truly in last week’s prompt). (July)
Sue Ann Gleason – Writer, Speaker, Culinary Nutritionist, inspiring women to trust their intuition, unravel their food stories and take back their plates, one luscious bite at a time, at ChocolateForBreakfast.com and ConsciousBitesNutrition.com. (August)
With more inspiring amazingness to come…
It’s free, and fun, and something of an ongoing experiment, guided by yours truly, and shaped by everyone involved. Join us!
Now tell me: What would you like to say to your teenage self?
PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!