A Letter to the Girl I Was 10 Years Ago
Dear 2007 Toni,
Hello beautiful girl. My heart aches for you and what you are about to start going through, but it also is overjoyed for the happiness you will experience as well. You are about to make some choices that are going to determine the rest of your life. You’ve recently decided to give up that business degree and pursue your passion, music. You are going to get a letter pretty soon from Berklee College of Music welcoming you to their program. Congrats! The choices you make, however, are going to change everything. You’ll feel like a piece of you was stolen for the rest of your life. That’s okay. These choices will also bring your greatest joys into your world.
You are heartbroken right now. I remember how much it hurt. You’ll still feel that heartbreak for a long time. You’ll almost convince yourself that you won’t be able to love someone else like you loved him. You’ll realize that what you love about him was the idea of what you both could be together, but that wasn’t the reality of your relationship. You’ll never be the same, but he wasn’t the one for you. Allow yourself to feel that loss though until you can think of him and not cry. That day will come. I promise.
You will continue to make some bad choices. You will trust the wrong people and they will bring someone into your life who hurts you while he thinks you are passed out in your bed. You are too drunk to move and part of you feels like you are dreaming. You wake up in the morning and you know. You know what happened to you. You are allowed to cry. You don’t need to pretend you are okay. You should tell someone, but you don’t. You feel like it was your fault. It will take years and years for you to realize that it was not. A few weeks will pass and you will run into him at a party. He corners you in the kitchen to explain and you will freak the hell out. You’ll hit him and scream at him and let everyone at the party know what he did to you. The entire party will end after this. Your voice will never be louder and more effective. 2018 Toni is most proud of this moment. This is the moment you start to take your life back. Now hold on and don’t let go.
You will sit in front of your mirror crying every night for a while. You haven’t dealt with the pain and loss you’ve gone through in life. It helps to be distracted even if it’s only for a few hours. You come home from a party, a little tipsy, but mostly sad. You don’t know how you got to this point in life. What is the point anymore? You start reading your Bible again. You cry and you pray to God to help you. How did you get here? You beg Him to save you. You don’t know how to change the path your life is going down.
Your friend dies in a car accident. Just like your brother did. You drop out of school since you can’t face going to classes without her every day. You stop singing. Is Berklee what you want? Will they still take you if you don’t finish this semester?
All of this heartbreak and loss leads to some rash decisions in the moment. A friend becomes a lover and before you know it, you are going to be a mother. Funny how things work out. You are terrified but excited for a change. Don’t worry. You’ve been praying so long for God to save you. Trust that this is it. That little soul inside of you is your purpose now.
You will spend HOURS staring at that little human. You’ll remember the smell of her head even after 10 years goes by. It’ll be the two of you for a while figuring life out, but she will be your everything and you will be hers. Motherhood suites you. It comes so natural to you and you fiercely advocate for that kid.
You struggle with trusting men and you aren’t going to make an exception for this man either. You are going to have to try though Toni. In fact, he’s going to disappoint more than anyone ever could. You are going to have to learn a lot about grace. You keep praying to God to help you.
I wish I could tell you that you’d feel different 10 years later. There are many things that you’ll be at peace with. You’ll feel like your life has a purpose. You’ll struggle with your relationship, but you’ll remain committed to it. He’ll disappoint you and you’ll disappoint him, but that’s life. You will learn that love isn’t just something you feel, but it’s something you choose. Some days you are going to wake up and you aren’t going to want to choose love. It would be easier if you did. Somedays, you’ll feel like you are invisible. Maybe your children see you sometimes, but you can’t remember the last time he looked at you even if he spent the whole day in the same room. You still need to chose to love him then. These are the days that he’s going to need you to love him even if he can’t express it.
You are going to struggle with feeling unworthy. Unworthy of being loved. Unworthy of marriage. Unworthy of happiness and success. Really shitty people are going to hurt you over the next 10 years, but you’ve been hurt before and you’ll come through even stronger. You’ll start a career only to have it fall through. You’ll finally find another one that you feel was meant to be and that one will be ripped right out of your hands because of pettiness. Just let them go. They are not worthy of you.
I wish I could say that you find peace and a foundation in your twenties, but you don’t. You’ll chase a bunch of the wrong things only to have them not work out and you’ll put your faith in things again and again only to have your trust broken. You will be hurt to your core by the people that say they love you. Just have faith and forgive. It’ll take a long time and you’ll feel like you haven’t done much of anything in your life. The 30s are where the good stuff starts. The age of awakening and purpose for you. Just keep swimming until you make it there.
It’ll take a life-altering experience to put it all into perspective. You will almost die, but you will fight to survive and to keep your babies alive and God will work some amazing miracles in those moments. You will feel renewed. Did I say, babies? Yup, you’ll have more babies. They are wonderful and beautiful, but they are also just like you so they are tough and stubborn. You’ll realize that everything that you’ve been chasing is not even comparable to being a mother to these kids. You’ll have a lot of choices to make and you are going to feel alone. You will find your purpose. Just hold on.
So 2007 Toni, things are about to get messy for you. It’s going go so fast that you’ll be sitting here in 2018 wondering what the hell happened and how the time managed to slip away. Try to slow down. Savor those sweet baby snuggles and those little kid hugs because they are going to be in school and be teenagers before you know it. You are going to feel like you are alone. You still won’t be able to communicate how you feel very well, but you will still choose love most of the days.
I wish I could tell you that what you are about the face will go fast. It will only in hindsight. Fight for yourself. Know that you are worthy. Cherish the small moments. Be true to yourself.
If you could, what would you tell yourself 10 years ago? I don’t think I’d want to spare myself the pain since my life would have been a completely different story had I not experienced that pain. I think that I would just want myself to slow down and to feel life without rushing through it. All too often, I race through life and I’ve reached a point where I don’t know that I’ve lived my life. Sometimes it feels like I watched a highlight reel and skipped to this point emotionally.