This month, Netflix challenged us #StreamTeamers to write a letter to our former selves. The idea is based around a number of their shows that capture the vibrancy of women…shows like Orange is the New Black, The Crown, Gilmore Girls or Chelsea Handler. Characters who empower us to be bolder, stronger, mightier than we think we are.
For example, just imagine what the Queen would say to her younger self if she had a moment to spare.
Have you watched The Crown on Netflix yet? If you haven’t, you totally should! I watched it this month and was absolutely enthralled by it!
Or, imagine the kind of letter that Sophia, from Orange is the New Black, would write to Marcus.
So…with this challenge in mind, I wrote a letter to my former self. Then erased it. And wrote some more.
It’s taken me awhile to hit the publish button on this one as I’ve mixed feelings about what I’d tell myself and how I’d say it. Would I fix what went wrong? Would having an easier life make me a different person than I am today? Would fixing something have erased something even better? And really, considering everything I’ve been through and comparing it to others…has my life really been all that hard?
Wisdom is a funny thing and basically, there are a ton of things I’d have done differently if I knew then what I know now. Ironically, in twenty years, I’ll be looking back at right now thinking the exact same thing. Life is meant to be lived to the best of your capabilities…making mistakes is part of the journey.
Bottom line, I cannot, in any way, live my life with regrets. I wish things hadn’t been so hard on me and I wish I didn’t feel so deeply at times, but I wear my heart on my sleeve…it’s part of who I am…what makes me tick.
I have to believe that all I’ve been through…the ups and downs, are all for a reason.
Dear Seventeen Year Old Me:
We really need to talk about that boy you’re madly in love with. You need to stop. He doesn’t know how awesome you are.
The reason? You won’t let him. You’re pretending you’re somebody else just to please him but if for half a second, you actually let him take a look at who you truly are…there’s a solid chance he might actually like you. Or better yet, you might like yourself!
That boy, he’s going to break your heart more than any other man ever will. Things will drag on through the teen years and into your early twenties…and by the time you’re 22 with a baby on the way, the last thing you’ll expect is a broken heart from someone you would have given the world to…who doesn’t even know who you are.
But you’ll be ok.
Life moves on.
You’ll pick up the pieces and start over. You’ll fall in love with this delightful little girl, go back to school, graduate, get a great job and find yourself again. You’ll re-discover who you’d lost along the way and figure out who you truly are…live the life you were meant to be living.
But I hate to be the bearer of bad news…you’ll do it again!
This time, it will be many, many years before you realize what you did.
Many years, a lot of counselling and two more children in the mix before you finally figure out why your world came tumbling down.
I’ll tell you what happened…you did it again.
You forgot who you were.
You forgot you were strong, tough, kind and full of goodness. You forgot how talented you were, how smart you were, how absolutely beautiful you were. You let it all go and allowed someone else to take control. You changed into someone you weren’t.
So there you have it.
Life is going to be a bit tough if you continue to be someone you’re not.
So, just be you.
You’ll face far too much heartache until you can figure it out…with relationships…and with friendships.
Just be you.
I promise…you’re pretty amazing…and worth getting to know.
PS…so yeah, here’s the thing. I know you. You see the very best in people. You hope. You dream. You fall madly in love without thinking of the consequences…it’s who you are. It’s part of what makes you so damn special.
So, let’s be real…the very second I started to give you relationship advice, chances are you ripped up this letter and paid no heed to the words it contained just as you never listened to the advice of anyone else through the years.
And that’s ok.
If you made it to the end of this letter, I’m here to tell you that even though you fought against your better judgement and fell for men who weren’t entirely a good match for you…it’s alright. You have, in the end, three amazing gifts from those relationships and no one can ever take that joy away. You have a beautiful, trusting, honest and open relationship with three exceptional individuals who call you Mom. They see how tough you are…because you showed them. They know how smart you are…because you showed them. They think you’re beautiful and they love you despite all of your faults. They see the kindness and the goodness. They know the real you…because you showed them.
So maybe…you had it right, all along.
And you were just being you.
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Disclaimer: I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with Netflix….however, as always, opinions and stories are my own.
🙂 (I really hate commenting on your posts because I realize I have no idea how to express my thoughts like you do!)
You’re very sweet…and thank you.
Also, I sometimes don’t want to comment on your posts either because I’m an absolute mess in the kitchen and bow to your awesomeness!! xo
Thanks so much Heather!
and cue the tears…….amazing post Colleen ♥
Colleen, this blog was the best of them all! Thank you for sharing. You freaken’ are all those wonderful things! I see a strong woman when I am in your presence, and I feel it too. This is why you are the Queen!
Best of them all! WOW!!! Thanks so much. I love that you see a strong woman! Some days I don’t feel it so much. Those are the days I “fake it”…and hope no one notices! I live by the simple idea that if I keep telling everyone how awesome I am…eventually you’ll all believe it!! 🙂
Thanks for you support. xo
Luv this ❤️️
This is my fave of all your blogs and should be required reading for all teenage girls…maybe all girls regardless of age. xo
High praise!!! Thanks so much. It was a very difficult one to write and even tougher to put it out there. Appreciate the support. xo
So heartfelt, open and honest. We never would have listened to anyone… we probably don’t now, either 🙂 xx
Oh Colleen!! I can’t even imagine how hard that was the write, to reflect back on life and figure out where you feel you’ve gone wrong and undoing one thing changes everything else!! You are amazing, you are strong and your children have such an amazing role model. Life is never easy, especially for those of us who wear our hearts on our sleeves…it’s hard to feel so much. But you are a huge inspiration to so many!! So, keep on being you, you’re pretty fabulous!! xo ~Lori
I am sitting here crying because I can relate to this post so much. Thank you for reminding me (and everyone reading) that we are awesome just as we are. Much love ❤️. xo
Oh my gosh…I really loved this Colleen. I can imagine how challenging this was to write. Great job. xo
I normally read your posts as soon as they are published..but I put off reading this one because I knew it would hit home for me. That being said, I love this. It’s exactly how I feel. I wish I could go back to the younger me and let me know it’ll be ok. AND, I know now, it was all worth the pain, anguish and stress…because it’s made me who I am. Thanks for this:)
Bravo! We have had our share of cousinly feuds and jealouly over the years, God knows! But I feel we have always loved each other….And I want to tell you how very much you hit the nail on the head and I can completely relate and I applaud your candor and honesty and aporeciate it, more now than ever, on all kinds of levels- thank you xoxo
This is a wonderful post and love this challenge from Netflix! Great job. I am glad you hit “post”. Thanks you for sharing.
Aw, I love this post and your letter to your younger self. Merry Christmas!!