Learning to Be Lola

Joining in with Emily and her peoples by writing a letter to my younger self. Not because I believe I can change the past but because I know that learning from the past is important for my now. Healing the story from then makes sense for a stronger today.

Hello Girl.

barely 17

There you are in all of your frustrated not knowing. In your third attempt at senior pictures. You and the boy and a dog in front of a house that your friend will raise her family in years later. No, there is no way to know this–that she will have 3 boys in this house, that the boy in your photos won’t be around when you are 36, and you won’t even understand that you will ever be 36.

Good news. You don’t have to worry about 36. Or 26. Or how to get to either age. You don’t have to worry period. You are held and have been held longer than you realize now.

I started this letter to tell you one thing. One thing that I forgot between the drive to work, and the time in between jobs when I find a moment to type this out. As I do, as I write to find that one thing again, I realize that there is more.

*Don’t starve your artist. Your body can skip a meal or two–and seriously the cookies after lunch won’t soothe you better than taking a walk out to your favorite rock. This is a long lesson for you. You will hike up a mountain 5 times a week to find out that belly strength translates to confidence  to enforce boundaries and the high road does give you better perspective. Remember this truth with your feet when your 2 year old brain says no.

*Get out of your head and into your body. You might think your body is an ugly place to be, but trust me, your mind can be uglier.

*As for this picture. Yeah. The one that every guy in your class took when you offered a choice of 4. Maybe you could accept that as a compliment. And maybe you could tuck that compliment in your pocket and carry it with you when you step on that ship and push off to see the world. Or again when someone you love steps away to get on a plane and fly half way around the world (he’ll stay gone more than a decade, which will feel like an eternity and a day all at once). You could pull out that moment and remember that you can attract good things, good people…that your heart (and honestly your hair) is good and people will and do want to get to know you.

Know this. You will get it wrong. You will get everything wrong at some point in your life. The things you want the most you will squeeze the life out of them. You will survive it. You will survive it all.

You can run. You can run in sandals through the snow on the highway and you can run on the ridge of a mountain. You can run to people and from people. Learn when it is you need to run your legs to set your heart right and when you need to run with your mind and your choices from unhealthy situations. 

Back to that picture. I have looked at photos of a much younger us, looking for the beginning, for the core, for what is there all along and so long that I don’t see it anymore. But this picture. This girl. You. You have passion, right now you think it is for the boy in the maroon t-shirt standing off to your left. You’re wrong. You have passion because He gave you passion. You have passion because you are a passionate person. The boy, he just stood close enough, long enough to convince you he had a part in your life, your passion. He was wrong too. It was just his turn and now it’s not.

Now that you have heard this, go out and live it. Live it at 36 so that at 56 the list of regrets will be so small there will be no point in writing it out.


All of this reminiscing was brought on by the release of Emily’s latest book Graceful.


One thought on “Learning to Be Lola

  1. Barbie says:

    I have enjoyed reading so many of these letters. “*Get out of your head and into your body. You might think your body is an ugly place to be, but trust me, your mind can be uglier.” This part really struck me. It’s something I’ve been working on since I was younger.

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