As I lay in bed early this morning after Joshwa left for work (6am is early, unless I’m having a freaky sleep week – and I’m not), I was reading my Facebook feed. Now, my Facebook feed is full of things that matter to me – lactivism, intactivism, and natural birth; Pagans and Witches and Buddha; and family, humor, and friends. And at some point this morning, I read something that stuck out to me.
What advice would you give your younger self?
What advice would I give her? Love yourself more. But then, that’s a little too vague, isn’t it? Tell your parents to invest in Google. Okay, that one’s a little silly, but true.
In all honesty, the advice came to mind the moment I read it. Tell her. I would tell my younger self today to tell Momma that I was a Pagan. I know that may seem strange, with all the stories we’ve heard about teenagers – being shamed and having to hide their studies at best, or being kicked out of their homes at worst. But I’ve spent quite a bit of time over the last year stressing about having the religion discussion with my Momma. And it’s a discussion that I am getting more stressed about as my Momma is seeming to develop stronger religious convictions (as strong as can be imagined in a woman who never attends church) lately.
I know my Momma – at least the Momma that I lived with as a teenager. She would have likely tried to dissuade me, I know; but she would have accepted it – even if only as “it’s a phase”. And as I grew and didn’t grow out of the phase, she would have gradually accepted it. In fact, the reason I didn’t have the talk with my Momma at the time had nothing to do with my Momma; I was afraid of what my Daddy would do – granted, I was just plain afraid of my Daddy at that point in my life. But it seems the longer it goes on, the more it has become some “big secret” – thus adding the simple stress of no longer holding the secret – as well as Momma’s recent surge in religious leaning.
Surprisingly, I wouldn’t give myself any advice on doing things differently when it comes to boys – I can honestly say that I married my first love. And I wouldn’t give myself advice on doing things different about the friends I kept – I learned lessons that are invaluable to my life. I would tell myself to take that finance class that I passed on to take Biology my second year of college. I would tell myself to hold off on those invasive procedures between 19 and 21 and pass on the Gardasil shot. Oh, and love myself. Did I mention that already?
Strangely it seems for people my age, I respect the girl that I was. I won’t deny that I screwed up – it’s part of being a teen. But every screw up I learned from. And I wouldn’t trade those lessons, or where they led me when. I believe that Joshwa and I would have met anyway, but I don’t know how much more jaded and difficult I’d have been by then. By the way, I’d tell teenage me that it’s okay to be jaded – it served me well and kept me from being used by people who set out to do no more than that.
So tell me, what would you tell your younger self?