Sunday, 28 April 2013

A letter to me age 15.

A while ago the 'lovely Lisa' posted in our Writer's Group fb page that she had recently been asked to write a letter to herself when she was a child, although I'm not sure if this was for an on line publication or a printed one. In this letter she basically told her younger self about what the future held, but that it would be OK. That though times would be difficult, she'd come through it all a better, stronger person. At the time she prompted us to do the same. I thought about it but wasn't sure what age to choose and what it was that I wanted to tell myself; where to begin actually!

I recently attended a Social Media Workshop run by Lisa and 'The Purple Hat' poem came up in conversation. I'd never heard of it although the other ladies present had. Lisa suggested that I google it and when I'd found it, asked me to read it 'in my poet's voice'.

I started off ok, even joking that this could be about me! Age 3, thinking of myself as a Queen, ok! Age 8, seeing myself as Cinderella, yep, definitely still ok! Then, when I started to read about the girl age 15 my voice began to crack. This was getting a bit too close for comfort. I struggled on, increasingly failing to maintain my composure until I reached the part of the poem about being aged 50. At last I felt on firmer ground and triumphantly finished the poem as the sentiments expressed began to resonate with the way that I want to live the rest of my life.

But why did I wobble at age 15? What was it about this line of the poem that touched me in a tender place? Perhaps this was the age at which I should be writing to myself! When I was a child I actually played Cinderella in an amateur production of the pantomime. I can't remember what age I was at the time, I don't remember having any self esteem issues at that time. But I definitely did have self esteem issues by the time I reached 15.  Perhaps if I write that letter now, I might be able to let go whatever it is that I'm hanging on to that made me choke up when reading the poem. So here goes!

Letter to myself age 15.

'Dear 15 year old me,
I know you're finding life quite hard at the moment. You're having nightmares about death and dying. It's your biggest fear. A fear that you will actually have to face when you are 27 and seriously ill, but as I'm writing to you when you/I am aged 57, it's going to be ok.
At the moment I know that you are feeling un-lovable and don't even dare to dream of a husband and family, but guess what? You will marry and have 2 lovely boys, although it won't be easy. You will face circumstances that you will think are the 'worst things that could possibly happen', circumstances that you are convinced that you couldn't possibly survive. But you will survive! You will emerge from a long, cold dark night, a stronger, happier person, more at peace with the world and with yourself.
You will learn that life isn't just for the young, but for the 'young as heart'. Life will begin for you, not necessarily at 40, but certainly 50.
The hopes and dreams you do have may be a long time coming, but hang in there. You will get the chance to at least pursue them and that in itself will be a great adventure!
I can't turn back the clock and in many ways I wouldn't want too. But let me assure you that in the future you will grab that 'Purple Hat' and 'have fun with the world'.'


At the end of her letter to herself, Lisa wrote this;' I hope you have enjoyed this; 'I challenge you to write yourself a letter, a Note To Self. In writing, I have found so much healing so if you’re thinking about writing or exploring some things that might have been pushed so far into the recesses of your soul that you can barely remember them, a letter to yourself is a lovely gentle way to start.' Lisa Cherry, 2012. I too want to lay down this challenge! Some of the problems that we may be having as adults, can often have their roots in our past, our childhood. Severing those roots can open up so many possibilities, no matter how old we are!

For those who aren't familiar with the poem here it is. Although it was written by a young person, there is definitely a lesson to be learnt, no matter how old you are.

The Purple Hat poem
Age 3: she looks at herself and sees a Queen.
Age 8: She looks at herself and sees Cinderella.
Age 15: She looks at herself as the “Ugly Sister” –“Mum I can’t go to school looking like this!”
Age 20: She looks at herself and sees - “too fat/too thin, too short/too tall, too straight/too curly” –but decides she’s going out anyway.
Age 30: She looks at herself and sees “too fat/too thin, too short/too tall, too straight/too curly”-but decides she doesn’t have time to fix it so she’s going out anyway.
Age 40: She looks at herself and sees “too fat/too thin, too short/too tall, too straight/too curly”-but says “At least I’m clean,” and goes out anyway.
Age 50: She looks at herself sees, “I am” and goes wherever she wants to go.
Age 60: She looks at herself and reminds herself of all the people who can’t even see themselves in the mirror anymore. Goes out and conquers the world.
Age 70: She looks at herself and sees wisdom, laughter and ability, goes out and enjoys life.
Age 80: Doesn’t bother to look. Just puts on a purple hat and goes out to have fun with the world.
Maybe we should all grab that purple hat earlier.

No comments :

Post a Comment