I did two really great things today. I listened to Regena Thomashauer‘s Book “Pussy: The Reclamation” (I’m almost done) and watched an old episode of Super Soul Sunday. Super Soul Sunday is hosted by Oprah Winfrey. Today’s guest was Joe Biden. It was when he was inaugurated as Vice President of the United States. In this interview he talked about writing a letter to his 12 year old self which highlighted the darkest and brightest moments in his life.
I thought to myself “hmmm, this is interesting actually. I should do this.” So I drove around the Oxford County listening to my latest audible book when I came across a set of trees. This set of trees reminded me of Taylor Swift’s album cover Folklore. So I set the shot up. Ha, no I didn’t, I reviewed the album, went home and changed, returned, and set the shot up.
Then I scanned an old photo of me and got to work on my Photoshop skills. It’s not the best, but it’s the best I know and better than I could do last year. A year from now, I will take this photo and make it a masterpiece with all of the knowledge I gained this year. That’s life, this is how we grow and learn. This is my letter to myself.
I hope you take the time to do this exercise too.
Resilience is the word I have for you 3 year-old Trina. I remember you at 7 to 10 years of age. You were that girl who would play all of Charlie’s Angels in the woods by yourself. You would stand in front of the TV on a Wednesday night to watch it while your brothers want to watch hockey. You didn’t budge.
You’re a young girl who is strong and brave but you have many years to live. You’ll learn the power of strength, independence, and courage throughout your life. No one taught you this as your upbringing will be wretched with addictions, deceit and disappointment.
You will spend so many hours in a hockey arena, bored and lonely, where you’ll learn that the dreams of your parents may not be the dreams of that person playing.
From the age of 5, you will learn to stand up for others because you’re the small one and you know no one will hurt you. You’ll stand up for your Dad. You’ll stand up for your youngest brother who is seven years older than you. You’ll face addiction in the eyes timeless times to protect others. You’ll lay in bed at nights with your Mother too scared to do anything until you have to. You know you’re the only hope to put an end to a scary night due to addiction.
You’ll also learn that with an addiction, there may be other addictions that follow. You’ll experience sleepless nights listening to fights, blaming, and the broken home that you were brought up in.
You’ll learn to stand up for yourself as you watch your mother pick up the phone and speak her truth time after time. At that time, you blamed her for her outspoken nature. Later in life you’ll learn that a voice is so important and she was just a woman scorned as well. She just chose a different path than yours. She was needy, you were not.
You’ll move at 14 and quickly realize that moving away, to another place, doesn’t solve your problems. The problem is within. You will say this over and over again throughout your life.
You also learn that you must conquer your greatest fears quietly and yet, when the whole town shuns you for being the “new city girl”, you’ll stand up in front of the whole high school and proclaim how unfairly you’ve been treated, only to risk being beaten up by the few who made moving there misery. You’ll then learn that you have a voice. It’s been there since the very beginning.
You’ll be promiscuous in your teen years but this teaches you that love can’t be found in a man, it’s found within yourself. However, you’ll only find that out many years later when you meet the Dark Knight of the Soul.
You’ll make a claim, early in life, that you do not want a man who does drugs or watches hockey as a spouse. Addiction and sports has scared you in similar ways.
You’ll believe that the man you love so dearly is honest about his claims and you’ll have beautiful children together. Beautiful children who you’ll stand up for during their trials and tribulations in school. You’ll defy the professors, when they claim that your children have learning issues, while you insist that they will learn at their own pace. You won’t deny them a college education. You will not succumb to today’s lifestyle of “flagging” them. You won’t give up because you believe in everyone. You believe in your kids.
You’ll also never stand up for yourself one on one. You’ll just take it as you did one early morning after a night with the neighbours. They were cruel, you went home crying, but you continued to be the best mother you could be. It’ll take years to realize that unwelcome opinions of you are a projection of their fears and weaknesses. You just opened the door to ridicule due to your personality of not standing up for yourself.
You’ll experience death. A death where you will feel relief, but your family will deeply moan. You’ll feel that finally your life with addiction is finally over. Life has officially begun without that elephant in the room. Unfortunately, life has a way of changing focus.
It’s only in your forties where you’ll really thrive after a series of unfortunate events. You’ll witness someone stealing an ungodly amount of money and, even though you’re a third party, you insist on it being revealed. You’ll meet celebrities and feel that you are on top, but it’s only then that you realize how greedy life can be. You’ll spend many hours in a notorious lawyers office digging up evidence only to prove that the perpetrator was guilty in a court of law.
You’ll stand by the person who was victimized. You’ll be his step-in wife so he can vent to someone since he can’t tell the whole truth. Once the trial is over, he’ll relinquish ever knowing you. Still, in spite of his personality, you’ll be proud that you stood up for what’s right and let it go.
You’ll also give up everything. Your home, your friends, your business and your family to support the love of your life’s career. Your World as you know it will come crashing down like the Twin Towers on 9/11. You’ll be rejected due to addiction and infidelity. You’ll realize that he came before anything or anyone else in your life. You’ll remember all the times you stood up for him over your own children. You will be co-dependant to this person and you’ll struggle so hard. You’ll know what it’s like to feel like you don’t want to live any longer.
You’ll feel guilty, like you never have before, about fighting for your needs. You’ll forge ahead and do it because you know that it’s time to fight for you and your commitment to a 30-year relationship. You’ll be proud of yourself like never before. It’s not revenge, it’s what is right.
You’ll have a period where you realize that you’ve raised children that are wonderful, but they do not meet the needs of a mother who has been stripped down. You were always there for your mother, so anger will rise. However, you realize overtime to let them live their lives. They did not come from only you, so they will take on traits that you do not support. Please remember that you do not have to give more than you receive. Not even from your kids. It’s YOUR time and it is THEIR time too. Just love them for who they are while standing true to your values and morals. Don’t change who you are because you’re divorced or afraid to speak up. You were always that way with them!
You’ll fight your own addictions to alcohol and cigarettes. You recognize what a demon it is and you don’t want to be that person. It’s a struggle, but one day at a time.
You’ll also take injustice by the balls. You’ll decide to do what you want to do for the rest of your life when times are tough. You’ll ignore the snide comments that were thrown at you to make you feel guilty and you’ll go quiet. You are sure it’s not them, but their assistants. That person has changed though and you no longer have the strength to argue. You won’t listen to the ignorance anymore. It doesn’t matter if it’s theirs or someone else feeding them. It just doesn’t matter anymore.
You’ll be on welfare after living the middle income range. You’ll pay it back because you fought for what you deserved for “time served”. You’ll be proud because even though it cost you a fortune to fight, you fought it for all women; not only yourself. Life, after giving it all of your marriage, you’ll fight for yourself. I’m so proud of you. Be all that you can be as you have nothing to be ashamed of. You’re just doing exactly what you did in that high school auditorium many years ago. You’re fighting for yourself and injustice.
During this time, you’ll meet new men. They will be emotionally disconnected, but they will give you experiences you never have experienced before. They are just what you need and not what you deserve. Why not deserve? Because you are radiant, fabulous and it’s their loss for not pursuing more. You will never chase what you know isn’t wanting you.
You’ll have doors being opened for you. You’ll be heard and given attention to. They will ask what you want. You’ll have sex like never before. It’ll be small things, but it will help you make a list of your needs of the man you want in the future. They’ll be highly toxic, but also very gratifying as you find your way into the next 50 years of your life. You’ll appreciate them so much.
Life is a journey of learning and, Trina, you will learn a lot. It will always be hard for you, until it isn’t. Therapy has helped you and you’ve been told several times that you are able to figure out the solution without it being addressed to you. It’s all about talking openly and transparently to your therapist and everyone.
You Trina, are a warrior. You have a voice for women. A voice that speaks about the injustices in most of the homes across North America. I encourage you that when you reach 49 years old to keep going.
The final thing I have to say to you is to relinquish the word “I should.” You will use it many times in your life. Should comes from a point of judgement. You judge yourself too often. It’s time to set that free and use terms like “I want to lose weight or I want to write a book.” Should will only stymie your progress of living your best life ever.
I’ve loved you all of your life, even when I didn’t. Your 48th year will be epic with a diploma in hand. Thank you divorce for giving me the courage I need to do what I’ve always wanted to do. I give you this silver platter to do as you wish with it. Let’s not disappoint one another. Live loud, live proud and do what you are meant to do. Help others as you’ve helped yourself.