As someone who always needs more motivation to make time for writing, I’m so thankful that Danielle of Sometimes Sweet, has started the Journal Days project. So what is Journal Days? Well, every Sunday Danielle is sharing a prompt and on Thursday will be publishing her reply. Everyone participating is asked to comment on the post with a few lines from their response and a link to their post. I think one of the coolest things about blogging is the community surrounding it – so this is really a win, win for me! Feel free to join along, too! It’s never too late to start. Anyway, enough rambling. On to this week’s prompt…
They say hindsight is 20/20, and with good reason- looking back at something always gives us a better view. We’re often able to really see how our choices and decisions then shaped our today, and examine what we would have done differently given the chance. When looking back though, we often look way back, but for this exercise stay a little closer to present time and look back just 12 months. If you could go back just one year, what would you tell yourself? What advice would you offer about everything you’ve experienced?
Hey One-Year-Ago Chelsea,
First off, good news! You make it to a year from now. That’s pretty awesome, isn’t it? Lets get a few things out of the way: John Mayer’s next album is going to be your favorite. Don’t risk it when it comes to parking – you will always get the ticket. You are going to be the mommy to a 3-legged dog.
Okay, now that that’s out of the way I can move on to the real reason I’ve sent you this letter. Since you’re me and I’m you, I know that you’re not great at taking advice or hearing what other people tell you to do but just listen to me. START. THERAPY. TODAY. I know, our first experience going sucked. Mom forced us when we were in 8th grade and it felt weird and forced, but guess what? You’re a grown up now. And it’s time to take control of your life.
I know the excuses you’re going to use. It’s too expensive? Yeah, well, the universe is gonna have your back on that one. Trust me when I say that you’re going to meet the most perfect therapist who for some reason is willing to work with how little you can pay. Yeah, I know, how crazy is that?!
Next you’re gonna say that you don’t have time, but uhhh you find time to watch every episode of How I Met Your Mother and Orange is the New Black (it’s new, Netflix is gonna start releasing shows and they’re good!) so you definitely have time to make for therapy.
Oh, now I bet you’re moving on to the weird, awkward excuses that don’t even make sense. Well, I’ll tell you what your real reason for not going is and that is that you’re scared. Vulnerability is not easy for you and the last 6 months of dating Keith has made you even more scared because you can feel your guard coming down and yeah, that is terrifying. But just breathe and let yourself be in the moment, because he’s a good one. It’s been a year since this day and he’s still just as loving and just as patient. It’s not a facade. You found a good one.
Back to the subject at hand – therapy. The reason I’m telling you to start now is because I finally started 4 weeks ago and I so wish we had started a year ago. You know how you’re having a really hard time dealing with this time of year? The anniversary of mom dying is only a few days away and everything feels like just too much to handle? I know it feels like your insides are drowning and your heart can literally not take one more second of this hurt. You feel tears in your eyes any time someone talks about their mom or when you see a little girl walking down the street. Some days you wake up and for a second think she might still be there, only to remember she’s gone. Madonna might seem like silly grieving music to some but it’s all you need to let go of the sad and celebrate the awesomeness of mom. I bet you’re scouring the sky for rainbows, just needing a glimpse of something telling you she’s still around (even though you don’t really believe in that stuff). Well, apparently, all that hurt is totally normal. Yeah, I know, who would have thought?
I wont lie to you and say this year has been way easier dealing with the anniversary. I know it feels like after 8 years you should be over it, but you’re not. Want to know what’s made it a little easier though? Going to therapy. Having a safe space to talk about this and a person who can give you real, solid, outsider advice is amazing. I know it’s only been 4 weeks, so check back with me in another year and I’ll tell you even more but I swear I already notice a difference in myself.
Let me tell you about one realization I’ve had since going to therapy… Maybe this will help.
Okay, so losing your mom at 15 totally sucks. And at the time you think about the proms she will miss, the first kisses she wont be around for, but what you don’t think about is the fact that she still wont be around when you’re 23 and scared to move in with your boyfriend or unsure of what job to take and she still wont be around when you’re 32, and 41, and 53. She’s gone forever and that’s a tough pill to swallow. It means that you will miss your mom every single day for (hopefully) over 60 years and that totally blows. Most people don’t lose their parents til they’re older and ya know, that means they have less years of pain to endure. I know right now you’re saying “it could be worse.” Stop saying that. Just let yourself feel the hurt, I promise it’s better that way. This sucks and it’s okay to recognize that. Another thing you’re learning in therapy is that you’re really good at recognizing pain for other people and why it’s hard for your brother or dad, but I promise it’s okay to recognize why this sucks for you. It’s okay to feel that hurt and not run away from it.
Chelsea, I know you don’t want to go. I know you’re scared of what it can bring up. I know you’ve rolled your eyes this whole time. But seriously. The stuff you’re gonna deal with in the next year – being scared to let your guard down with Keith, not being sure you’re good enough at your job, struggling with how to take care of yourself, realizing you’re never going to live at home again, coming to terms with your family growing, and so much more – all of that would be easier if you would just go to therapy now.
Sometimes doing a thing that scares you is the best thing you can do.
PS: Get some coconut milk ice cream bars ASAP. You’re gonna love them!