A Letter to Self

I was recently asked to write a piece for the Eating Disorders Network of Central Maryland. I used to work for the organization and they do incredible work in the Maryland area. I highly recommend you look into their work and especially if you or someone you know needs resources around disordered eating patterns. For me the story of this stuff is a bit old and boring at this point and so I took the creative route in sharing what I could.

A letter to myself as a teenager from the woman I am today….I have a feeling she is in you too.

Dear Me,

I know you wish you felt safe, loved and secure. So I am writing to you a letter from your future Self--the SELF that knows things turn out okay-the SELF that knows what love is inside and out.

I know you wished you had more friends at school. I know it is hard to believe you are worthy of any attention and love.  And despite your utter terror of closeness, it is all you really want. I know you feel abandoned, abused and used. It is so hard to see you so sad. You are so frail but you have built a fortress to protect yourself. It is covered in barbed wire and electric fences. It is scary to be inside those walls and it is scary to be outside those walls. I know how trapped you are.

I know you think you are better, more lovable and special the skinnier you get. I can see that strange deranged self-righteousness you hold inside that chip on your shoulder. I can see deep inside you--your fear and loneliness.  Good work with the straight A’s and deans list by the way. Somehow though I don’t think that fills the gaping whole in your heart. I know you wish you could let people in and that really you are just afraid. I can see how angry you are for how things have turned out. I know underneath all that anger, all those explosions going off inside, you just feel betrayed. I know you see how sad you are. I can see you making the effort to try and love yourself.  And I can see how hard it is for you.

I know how happy and excited you are to leave home and be free and on your own. I can see how hard you are trying to become yourself--to claim your own space in the world. I know you are used to imploding on yourself so you do it over and over it again like a bad habit. I can see all the friction between the self-loathing and the attempts to cultivate self-love. You play yourself like a ping-pong ball back and forth, back and forth. Girl, you must be exhausted.

I know it’s hard to understand that life is just a series of changes occurring through time. I can see how tired you are of trying to be perfect and so you are rebelling against yourself. I see you madly trying to stay small as if that would make things right. You seem distraught and disheveled. You seem lost and confused.

One day you will see and believe your size and your worth are not the same. When you are older you will know what it is too walk on two feet and that sometimes you just walk with a limp, letting people love all the cracks in you. One day you will come to see that there is more to life than this scary time. There is a big wide life waiting for you to fill with joy, laughter, health and love.  

Dear sweet, young, me who doesn’t see how perfect she is already. I am here. I am waiting for you. I am on the side where hope lives. Trust, truth and honesty live there too. I am leaving the light on for you, Me. Take your time. I will be here with the arms of forgiveness wide open.  

With Love and Respect,

Your future SELF

Livia ShapiroComment