I woke up this morning to a broken microwave. Normally, I would just go out and buy a new one, but I just bought that microwave in April. I called the manufacturer’s warranty customer service line, described what’s wrong and was told to return it and get a new one. Ya think? The nice girl at the Target service desk told me that if I brought the microwave in without the box (since it was trashed) and I had the receipt, they would exchange it.
This prompted a mad search for a receipt from April. I dug through the little trash can in the office. No receipt. Then I searched my purse. No receipt. A lightbulb went on over my head. My spring purse! (I have a little pocketbook problem in which I like to have one for each season.) So into the master bedroom closet I went. Once upon a time, I was a Thirty-One consultant so I have a plethora of purses stashed in my closet. I started to go through the massive piles of pocketbooks. One of my bad habits when changing out my purse is that I leave all the papers and junk in my purses when I switch to a new one. What started as a simple search for a receipt became a full-blown trip down memory lane complete with an empty trash bag (I was multi-tasking) and a closet that looked like it had vomited all over my bedroom floor.
I found all kinds of stuff, including receipts – some dated as far back as 2007. But no receipt from April for my new microwave. Instead, I found a letter I wrote 3 years ago. To my 9 year-old self. I don’t even remember writing it, so it kind of freaked me out to see yellow-lined notebook paper with my handwriting that started, “Dear Tammy.” (Notice by my use of my old nickname just how long I’ve known myself.)
(Note: Wondering why I wrote to my 9 year-old self? When I was 9, my mother tried to commit suicide. It was then that she was finally diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder.)
I was thinking about you today. It’s about time that I wrote to you. I’ve put it off for years because what should I say to a 9 year-old who is going through the things that you are? First thing: you will survive this. You are a survivor. You don’t feel the strength you possess, but it’s there inside of you. That strength will lift you up and keep your feet moving ahead even when you don’t want to.
The things you dream of are possibilities just waiting for you. Remember why Cinderella is your favorite Disney movie? Because “dreams are a wish your heart makes” and wishes can come true. If you make them. Wishes may not be granted by a wand-toting fairy godmother, or just magically happen for you, but know that you can have or do anything that you dream. You have the capability, the drive, the brains. Stop doubting yourself. It’s okay to love yourself. It’s also okay to forgive.
Your family loves you. Life is confusing right now – scary. But you will never be alone; you only feel that way now. Adults make mistakes, Tam. I know it’s hard to believe, but even as infallible as adults seem – as parents seem – they can and will make mistakes. But those mistakes belong to them, not you. The consequences will affect you, but they are not because of you. Keep that in your heart, Tammy.
When you are feeling scared and alone, angry and confused, remember that you are loved. The things you dream about will come true. You will make a wonderful life for yourself. You will love your life.
Thinking of you with love,
Tamara, your 34 year-old self”
Wow. That kinda made me cry. Who knew my 34 year-old self was so introspective and eloquent. This letter was my coolest find of the day. That and the 5 dollar bill in an old birthday card.
If you could write a letter to a younger version of yourself, what do you think you’d say? What age of your former self would you pick?