Thursday, January 21, 2010

letter to me

The idea for this post came from Kelli, who got the idea from the song “Letter to Me.” The song talks about what Brad Paisley would say if he had the opportunity to write a letter to a younger version of himself, explaining to him what is ahead of him in life and advising him on how to handle it. After reading Kelli’s letter to her 18-year-old self, I was compelled to write a letter to my younger self. Here it goes:

Dear 18-year-old Katie,

Congratulations. You are an adult now. I know it’s hard to think about becoming an adult when you are sitting in the mental ward of a hospital, surrounded by other depressed teenagers. You will tell your counselors and your parents that you are ready to go home today, or you risk being transferred to an adult ward since it is your 18th birthday. You will tell them you are ready to go home despite the fact that you don’t know if you will swallow more pills when you get there. As if this isn’t hard enough, when your parents come to pick you up, they will tell you that your favorite aunt passed away this morning. She was alone in her apartment, much like how you are feeling at this very moment and will continue to feel for the next two months. Your father will refuse to speak to you. He doesn’t understand your depression or the pain your feeling. Your mother will cry a lot, not understanding why you wanted to take your own life. But only you know the truth: You did it so that maybe they would listen. Be patient; your father will never listen and it will take a long time for your mother to understand the ache in your heart.

You will go off to college in two months and you will begin dating the love of your life. You already know him. You have known him for two years and he has been there for you through everything. He will continue to be there for you, despite the fact that your father doesn’t approve of him. He will be the one who holds you and comforts you during your lowest, loneliest points of your first year of college.

You will catch your father cheating on your mother with another woman. It will be hard to stomach, but you will tell her what you know. And she will tell you that she already knows. You will watch your family be torn apart by divorce and infidelity. You will watch your brother break down and cry when he learns that his father isn’t so perfect after all. You will finally be able to talk to your mother openly about the years of emotional abuse from your father: The years of never feeling good enough and the years of wanting to die rather than face his disappointment and anger in everything that you do. This bond with your mother will only grow stronger as you get older. You will struggle with anger toward your father for many years, and you will even still try to please him. It will take some time, but you must know you can overcome his control.

You will marry the man who was there for you from the beginning. You will be so happy and innocent on your wedding day, unaware of what is to come. You will think that this is the beginning of building a happy life together and you will both agree that you want to add to your new family right away. You will begin trying to make a baby and you think it will be easy. You will pick out names for your potential child and discuss nursery colors. You will walk through the baby section at Target every time, picking out new outfits for your unborn child. You will feel confident that a baby will come soon and your dream of becoming a mother will be fulfilled.

It will be devastating when the doctor tells you that you are infertile. You sit there, alone once again, and cry. You will scream. It will physically hurt you to hear those words. You will go through the next ten months or so angry at the world. You will hate everyone with children and everyone who is pregnant. You will tell people about your diagnosis and then resent them when they no longer speak to you. But you will be better off without the people who are not truly there for you. You will become stronger in the process. You will not share a child, but you and your husband will grow stronger together because of your struggles. It will not be easy, but you will get through it. It will take time, and you will be a better person because of it. You will still get angry sometimes. You will still wish you could give anything for a child: a limb, an organ, all of your possessions, your entire life. You will meet wonderful women who share this same wish.

And when you do have a baby, whenever that time comes, you will feel so overwhelmed with joy. You will be so grateful for having gone through what you did and it will make you a better mother. There may be days when your child is screaming, sick, or throwing temper tantrums. You will retreat into the bathroom and cry into your glass of wine with frustration and exhaustion. But then, you will pick yourself back up and continue on. Because you know that the worst possible day with your child beats any day without him or her.

So now you know. The road ahead is not easy. There will be filled with plenty of joy and excitement, heartache and pain. Know that you will survive it all. You will come out a better person, a better friend, and a better wife. Someday, you will be a better mother. You will pick up the pieces and push the past aside. It might not seem like it right now, but life will move on. You will keep breathing.

Love always,

Me

28 comments:

2catdaughters said...

Oh, Katie. Your letter has me in tears. It is so beautiful, so heartfelt, open and honest. I wish I could hug you right now. I am truly honored to call you my friend.

Kelly said...

God, Katie. There are no words. I, like Rita, am honored to call you my friend.

Jin said...

My 18 year old self wants to give your 18 year old self a big hug. I love this. Thanks for sharing, and I'll have to copy this idea in the future.

Hayley said...

I love you girl. I'm honored to call you my friend, too. :)

Al said...

Big hugs to you, Katie. this is a beautiful, honest letter. you are so strong to have been through so much. Thank you for sharing.

Arlyne said...

(((HUGS))) Katie! You are an amazing woman, & I am truly honored to know you!

Jen said...

Wow, that is a beautiful powerful letter. Thank you for sharing it. ((hugs))

Stefanie Blakely said...

"...the worst possible day with your child beats any day without him or her."

This.

Such a beautiful letter, Katie.

Nicole said...

I am so impressed by your bravery- in your life as well as in your raw portrayal and sharing of it here. You are clearly a VERY strong person, with a great man at your side.
I especially loved the comment about the worst day with your child being easier than IF. It's so true. Even my SILs (who are very fertile) have made comments at times that whenever they are really struggling with their children, they just think of me and my IF and how I would give anything for a baby even if it never slept (for example). I am so excited to take that perspective into motherhood. Good luck with your continuing journey. You are so strong and brave with everything that you've faced- you can conquer this too.

Kelli-Sue said...

Wow Katie, just wow. I am speechless. That was beautiful. I have silent tears rolling down my face. You are such a magnificent writer. You make such an impact on my life ever single time I read something you write.

xxoo

-K

Crossed Fingers said...

Wow - what a life you've lead and how strong you are to stand where you are today. :)

erika said...

That letter is from a beautiful person. I feel truly blessed to get to know you, Katie. You have all my respect and admiration for being such a wonderful, strong woman by such a young age.
Much love your ways.

Bean stalk ballads said...

Katie your words are beautiful and filled with so much. Life isn't always an easy thing but the one thing I take from your story is your amazing resilience...

Rebecca said...

This was so beautiful and so honest and so wonderful. I just can't even describe how much reading that meant to me. I am so happy to know you and your strength is inspiring.

nicolemarie said...

Love this. I'm happy to hear that you have been able to work through the pain in your past. And you will get your family, hopefully soon :)

JC said...

Wow Katie, that was such a beautiful letter. I have tears, so beautiful.

suchagoodegg said...

That was so powerful. There are no words. What a beautiful letter and what heartbreak and hope all at once. I hung on every word, thank you so much for sharing such raw, honest truths with us.

Noelle said...

That was gut-wrenching and beautiful. The beginning, when you were in the hospital, really spoke to me.

It was a sad, yet beautiful letter.

I think that I will do this soon. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. I learned a lot.

Dawn said...

Katie, you are truly an amazing woman! Your letter was so honest, and beautiful. You have me in tears. I wish I could fly down there and give you a hugs hug!

Leslie said...

Your letter is beautiful. Your strength is amazing!

Erin said...

Katie, this was so beautiful and honest. I loved it.

AplusB said...

Katie, this is a beautiful letter. I'm so sorry you have had such sadness in your life. Thank you for sharing and allowing me to be a part of your life.

Basic Girl said...

Katie, i am truly amazed by your strength. Such a beautiful letter, you are an incredible writer. Thank you for sharing this with us.

TwoDogMama said...

There are no words to describe your letter. It was so honest and vivid. Best of luck on your journey. ICLW

Alice said...

Katie - This letter is amazing. You are so strong. You have endured so much and deserve everything you want. Thanks for opening yourself up to us.

Tina said...

All I can say is that this is an amazing, beautiful letter. Wow...

Katie said...

I love you.

That is all.

Josey said...

Powerful post Kate, so powerful.