What Would You Tell You, If You Met You?
What I would choose to tell myself if I could hug my 11-year old self across time.
A few years ago, I went to see a coach. A life coach, that is.
I needed a fresh pair of eyes to look at my life and tell me if I was right about not liking it.
I had a life that felt seamless from the outside, but cumbersome from the inside.
The coach I went to gave me a sort of “exercise” to conduct at home: I was supposed to revisit the moments in which my life had been less than happy and conduct a “pep talk” to the Diana I used to be.
At first, it felt downright ridiculous. I was never one for new-agey practices and I felt embarassed to even do such things in my head, let alone aloud.
However, I did it. I closed my eyes and imagined myself at one of the most vulnerable moments of my life.
I pictured myself as an eleven year old. A little nerd, with thick prescription glasses and a wandering soul.
A poetic heart in a mathematics special class. A curly-haired girl, a bit chubbier than the rest, but most of all… more sensitive than all the rest. And shieldless.
I was bullied by my professors, whose teaching techniques stemmed from the Russian methods of the communist era. I was the laughing stock of my colleagues because of my shyness.
I felt profoundly and heartbreakingly misunderstood, but not in any poetic kind of way, but in a realistic and painful way.
I felt the odd one out. The one that didn’t fit anywhere.
From all the tougher moments of my life, that was the first one that came to mind when I closed my eyes and channeled “the little me”.
And, for the first time in my life, I suppressed all my “This is ridiculous!” red flags and went with the flow.
And I listened. Little Me told Grown-Up Me all the things I would have loved to be able to tell someone, so many years ago.
She cried and I hugged her. And after Little Me talked and the Grown-Up Me listened, time came for the roles to reverse.
So I told that little girl what I would have desperately wanted someone to tell me back then.
That it’s going to be okay.
Dear Diana, I started.
And she cried, and I talked.
Dear Diana, I know you are just this tiny frightened girl, that doesn’t feel like she’s worth much right now.
You are the laughing stock of everyone and you feel that nobody is on your side. Not even you are on your side, because you don’t know how to handle everything that’s coming your way.
You do your best, although now that doesn’t seem like much. It is.
I know this period that everybody refers to as a special time of your life is nothing but a dark hole. It doesn’t feel like the childhood heaven that it’s supposed to be, but merely a grim tunnel with no end in sight.
But there is an end. Or better said, a beginning. You have a lot of beginnings ahead of you.
I know you’ll find it hard to believe, but a few years from now you will be so incredibly happy. Not just happier than you are now, but happier than your little mind can even conceive.
Sometimes, for some people, the timeline of life is not linear and smooth: the bad comes first and the good comes second.
You are one of those people.
You are a late bloomer, but you don’t know it just yet.
You may look at yourself in the mirror and see only things you don’t like and that nobody seems to like. And you think that it’s going to be like that forever.
It isn’t. Your life is going to be so much better.
Someday, you will wear braces, you’ll grow to tame and love this messy curly hair, you’ll have long legs and rosy cheeks. And they’ll be yours. No magic there, just you growing into your own self.
Only this won’t happen right away, it will take a while. I told you life is unfair sometimes, but in the end it’s worth it.
You feel so lonely and voiceless now. You tell grown-ups about what you are going through and nobody gets it.
They all look at you like you’re supposed to be this carefree child with not a worry in the world. And it feels like you’re yelling your soul out in a soundproof room.
You’ll be doing that for some time, but someday, that voice, hoarse from all that inner screaming, will be a voice that people will care about.
YOUR people will care about that voice.
You know how you only feel happy when you’re writing? You’ll always have that, but someday it will not only be soothing to you, but for so many other people.
They will take your writing and patch their hearts with it. And you’ll feel worthwhile, because your voice does things for others.
It will not go in vain, not in a soundproof room anymore. It’ll be for the world to hear.
You now feel that nothing good can ever happen to you, but it will. There’s so much good waiting for you, piles of good will sink all the bad that surrounds you into the ground.
The good lifts the soul, but it weighs heavier than the bad. It tips the scale.
And there will also come a time when you’ll be able to get your revenge on all these people who are now insensitive and mean to you. You’ll look down on them and have your chance to yell into their ears everything that you gathered inside for so long.
All the hurt and the anger will have the chance to flow out like a rainstorm. Only… you won’t let it flow. You’ll choose not to.
Although you find it impossible to imagine right now, all that you are currently living will someday be an infinitesimally small dot on the map of your existence. Telling these people off will feel meaningless and a waste of energy and purpose.
They will not be worth it.
And that will be one of the most exhilarating sensations you’ll ever experience: having the power to avenge yourself, but also the inner freedom not to care anymore.
It will have been too far gone to even matter. And that, my dear, will be the real power.
Not the kind of power that these people exert on you nowadays when they act mean and cruel. Their power comes from belittling and humiliating, not from themselves.
Your power will come from inside yourself and you won’t need to humiliate them to get even. You will be so much more than even.
I know you don’t feel like a winner of any life lottery right now, but trust me, someday you’ll feel like a million bucks.
And you will only have yourself to thank for that.
So hang on.