Dear Younger Me.
Words to my younger self.
I don’t regret to many things in my life. I do, however wish that I could have a few words with my younger self to shine some light on issues that could’ve been avoided.
The first thing I would tell me would be that “The way they treat you is not your fault, and comparing your life is unhealthy”. For years as a child and young adult I thought I was hated. I thought that the way that I was restricted, yelled at, and why I held so much responsibility was a form of punishment for something I did. I compared families and wished I had a different life, and as a child had no one to talk to about this without sounding ungrateful. As I got older, I realized (after about 2 years of therapy) that those things were out of my control. Shaking the feeling of being the mistake child and feeling like a mini mother was so hard. I also ran really fast when the doors opened up for me to leave home and be on my own, because I was uncomfortable. It shouldn’t have been that way. Parents do make mistakes and they have regrets. Some even have insecurities (go figure). Unfortunately, that shit can spill over into their parenting. That makes for a difficult upbringing; however, it wasn’t my fault.
Another thing I would tell myself would be “Sex won’t make him like you more”. When I was 18 and after I graduated high school (I had just started at a community college) I decided that the only way I could keep this relationship going is if I go ahead and take the next step. Hell, adults in my house kept saying that’s what I was doing anyways- so I just did it. And what do you know he turned out to be an ass hole. Lol, we share a kid but that’s it. I had no right bringing that baby into this broken family and horrible world like I did. We struggle with co-parenting and although that is a story for another time, I could’ve avoided that by saving myself for someone way more deserving. I would tell myself “Don’t let the negative language from your parents or the pressures from this boy to be sexy derail you from your dreams. If they got an issue or are passing judgement- fuck them”. I lacked self-confidence because that wasn’t really touched on in the home as I was growing up. So, that people pleasing Courtney literally wanted to die at 19. Of course, dying wasn’t worth it I quickly realized. I will tell my daughters and my son the same thing- people will not like you based on your standards and decisions and that is ok! Know who you are and know that you are worth the wait. I want them to feel loved and secure with telling me stuff and maybe I can keep them on track. I wish I would’ve had that.
I would tell myself “Heal”. I don’t think I ever found time to actually heal myself after all of the traumatic experiences in my life. I just kept going. Every time something happened, I put it in a box in the back of my mind. One day when I was 25, after my second child was born, I suffered the worst case of postpartum depression. Then one day, the box of baggage in the back of my mind fell over. I think I cried every day until my son was a year old. Suffering to see the bright side, and knowing I was blessed to see 25 and to birth these children- I couldn’t turn the depression off. All my relationships struggled because of it, and no one really knew how to help me. Some people didn’t even know I was suffering. That hurt. If I would’ve taken the time to get help or maybe went to therapy, I could’ve gotten a grip on life before adding more to the box. I have learned over my 30 years that it is ok to process my emotions before I respond. I try my best to think before I speak, because I know I am aggressive. I have learned my boundaries and I am way more comfortable with giving people my limitations. The young me needed to know this for sure.
One more major thing I would tell myself it “Their issues aren’t YOUR issues”. People feel comfortable with talking to me. I love that about my personality. I love that my friends and associates feel safe with me and trust my opinion. I love to give advice from my own life experiences it makes me feel like I’m doing the world some good.
The thing is though- being that person makes you feel like you have to be able to save the world. You start to make other people’s issues yours! Like… I would be real life mad as hell just like it was me that the situation was happening to. Being that type of person makes you feel like you can’t cut your phone off. Being that person makes others think that you don’t have bad days or break downs- like you don’t experience pain. I do. It gets hard when you’re pouring into others and it’s almost nothing being poured into you. I would tell myself (just like I tell my friends now) its ok to recharge. Set your boundaries and stick to them. Sleep. Let things go, because trust me your advice is just that ADVICE. That grown ass person is going to do whatever they want.
Having a mindset like this could save you a lot of time, therapy, and sleepless nights.
Yes, these may be small adjustments, however they make a hell of a difference in your mental health.