In 41 years, somehow I’ve never taken the time to tell you all the things I admire about you. Instead, I take every opportunity to beat you up and tell you how bad you are. Tell you that you’re wrong, stupid, fat, ugly, useless. Unlovable. And none of that is true, but isn’t it funny how much easier it is to point out all the negative about ourselves and ignore the positive? That’s why I’m writing this letter to you today. I want to change our relationship, I want to nurture you and build you up instead of constantly knocking you down. You are amazing and I want you to believe that about yourself. So let me give you a little insight into the woman I see in the mirror.
As a kid you were skinny & scrawny with sun bleached blond hair and a golden tan in the summertime. You were creative and had an imagination that never quit. You were shy and quiet, choosing to play alone in your make-believe world over making friends with the other kids that seemed too loud, too wild. You read books almost nonstop and when there was no book around you read whatever was in reach; cereal boxes, warning labels, ingredient lists, it didn’t matter as long as you absorbed the words. You were curious all the time, desperate to understand things. You were overly empathetic at times and mastered the art of taking other people’s feelings and prioritizing them over your own. You were funny, too. Always telling jokes and working hard to make people smile.
I know you felt overlooked and in the way sometimes, especially when your step siblings came to visit. You often felt that their feelings and well being was vastly more important than yours, but that was not true. Your feelings mattered. You moved around an awful lot throughout your childhood and I know how scared you were to make friends every time you had a new school to walk into. You had to conquer that fear on your own and become assertive in order to make friends because all the other kids already knew each other and they didn’t need to be friends with the new girl. You had to become your own advocate and show them why they should hang out with you. You were so brave!
Your body is absolutely in amazing in all it’s been through. You broke your left elbow twice before you were 5 years old. You walked away from several car accidents, including a rollover with only bruises. You were knocked around by your first husband quite a bit and even though he broke your collarbone, he never broke your spirit. You underwent major spinal fusion surgery when you were 13 years old and had to learn how to walk again, missed 3 months of your freshman year and were subjected to ridicule when you finally went back to school wearing a big fiberglass back brace. When they knocked on your brace as you walked down the hall and when the boy you had such a crush on looked at you with pity and then joked with his friends about you, you kept your head held high. Even though you cried yourself to sleep sometimes, you never let it show. You laughed and made jokes and made sure they knew that they could never break you.
You created two absolutely amazing children, beautiful inside and out and filled with love and life. You made decisions that absolutely crushed your soul in order to make sure they both had the best possible lives even if it meant certain pain for you. You sacrificed everything necessary to give them every opportunity to succeed in life. You made bad choices along the way sometimes but always had them both in the forefront of your mind and would do anything for them. You love them with all of your heart and I believe that they know it.
You feel insecure all the time over your weight and you should stop that. You work hard to stay healthy and I’m proud of you for that. You’ve run 5ks, you go to the gym, you ride your bikes year round, you eat healthy. And when you sometimes veer off the path and eat too much or get a little lazy, you recognize it and get right back to it. You’re doing great.
You beat yourself up and doubt yourself because of bad decisions you’ve made along the way. Sometimes you have a few too many drinks and when that happens the iron shield you work so hard to maintain comes down, your bottled up emotions and turmoil come tumbling out. That’s ok, even healthy sometimes. You shouldn’t keep it all inside and you don’t have to. You’re not a little girl anymore, terrified to show emotion for fear of being ridiculed for it. You don’t always have to be strong, to be tough. It’s ok to feel sad or hurt or anxious. It’s ok to cry, it really is. I know you were never really allowed to do that as a kid, but you can do it now. You don’t have to wipe all emotion from your face and pretend it’s all ok when it isn’t.
You have a lot of really awesome abilities that you don’t even recognize. You’re so smart, always reading and learning. You have an absolutely astounding memory when it comes to trivia. I can’t believe that anyone can possibly know as many song lyrics or movie lines as you do. Your husband even loves it when you close your eyes and he puts different movies on, you always know what is is in the first few seconds! You have a deep husky voice, curves for days and super long legs and even though you don’t feel like it most of the time, you’re a sexy, desirable woman. You’re a remarkably funny person, always quick with a witty or snarky quip or comeback. You’re a GOOD person, you genuinely care about people and their well-being. You love animals, sometimes more than people. You really are an incredible human.
So I just wanted to take this time to tell you that I am so proud of you and all that you’ve accomplished so far. I love your soulful green eyes even though they’ve had bags under them since you were twelve and they’re starting to get crow’s feet because they always see the beauty in the world and the best in people. I love your short, chubby sausage fingers because they work hard every day and they hold the people that are most important to you close. I love your middle aged, overweight body because it’s been through the wringer and it still comes up swinging every morning. I love your heart because it is still open and full of love even after all the times it’s been ripped out, stomped on and thrown out with yesterday’s garbage.
I love you, all of you. Good, bad, pretty, ugly, brave or afraid. You are absolutely amazing and I LOVE YOU.
Love Always, Christi
Copyright 2019, all rights reserved. All images taken by me unless otherwise stated.