If could reach back through time and have a heart-to-heart with your twentysomething self, what would you say to her?
She’s in her twenties, that glorified period of life when she’s supposed to be discovering herself, deep in exploration, living her most defining decade. And yet.....she may feel like the exact opposite. Or exactly that. Or somewhere in between. She probably doesn't even know.
Maybe you pour her a cup of tea, look into her eyes, wrap her in a hug.
What do you tell her?
Today's letter comes from Hannah Marcotti -- dear friend, gorgeous mentor, and super businesswoman. Since moving to Providence Hannah and I have become so close, both in friendship and business. I knew her letter was going to be good, and of course it blew me away. There's power, right here. Thank you, Hannah:
Letter to my twenty-something self to be opened on your 39th birthday.
“God turns you from one feeling to another and teaches by means of opposites, so that you will have two wings to fly, not one.” ~ Rumi
Hello sweet one. Happy fucking birthday. The first one you will have celebrated the way you want, desire, need.
You are tattooed and gorgeous. Really, you never thought we would say that, did you?
There are days you look in the mirror and wonder how you wound up with back fat and size C cup boobs. I remember the AB boobs that didn’t need a bra.
You nursed for 7 years. Thought at 125 pounds that you needed to lose weight. You now have 3 kids. I know. Your boobs rock now. For real. You have curves. Yep.
We always knew that 38 would be a transformative year. We never saw 39 as a vision of real. And now, we are here together. I am so fucking grateful for you because in the year of 38 when everything got turned upside down and was more beautiful and scary than you thought you could handle, I turned to you. You saved me. You lifted me. You were my guide.
I asked you what you needed. I went back in time and held your hand. Or you held mine.
We started at 19 and moved slowly through the years together. My thirty-something confidence and need for pleasure mixed with your desire to know you could support yourself, care for yourself, feed yourself, fill yourself. Those questions always left unanswered because of fear and the need to protect those you loved.
Those questions became our guide.
And now 26 days before you turn 39 I write to you. Because we are going there together. As I write this letter the woman who will read it and the girl who it is written to don’t exist in this moment in time but have never been more alive. Their presence, their shadow, their love is felt and real and the reason.
26 days before you turn 39 you will sit in the lobby of a funky hipster hotel in Portland Oregon, a city that has captured your heart, and you will write this letter. Men wear pink socks here and it is adorable.
26 days before you turn 39 you will drink wine on a couch in a lobby that holds a photo booth, bike rentals, vinyl records and wine and you will be amazed that you made it here. It is 2 o’clock in the afternoon. You will feel immense fucking joy. You still say fuck a lot. OK, more.
26 days before you turn 39 there is a space inside of you that you have been seeking since you were a child. A space that holds your needs.
26 days before you turn 39 you will have learned the art of holding another’s gaze. Really pausing, holding, looking, feeling. Not turning away.
26 days before you turn 39 you have your own bank account. It stays on the positive side. Your gifts have become your work. You will check your paypal account 5 times today and shop at an antique shop buying old books and metal letters and small white handkerchiefs. Your balance will go up.
26 days before you turn 39 you will pay for your hotel on your own. And you will sink into the gentle power of what you have created. You will remember that feeling free was your young desire, one that scared you because it meant changing everything. You weren’t ready. This is so totally OK. You still aren’t quite ready and you are doing it anyway.
26 days before you turn 39 there will be a moment when you want to cancel your trip to Portland, that you’ll feel fear of that freedom. You will release your fears and pack your bags. Close your eyes and feel the tears. This is your new truth.
26 days before you turn 39 you will eat carrot soup with thai basil and basil oil while sitting in a window sipping Pinot Noir. This is your favorite wine. (Oh, you are gluten-free and feel so much better.)
26 days before you turn 39 there will be a piece of you that still wonders if you can have a pure-joy-happy-bubbles life.
26 days before you turn 39 a true co-parenting life has begun to show itself. Your need to do it all yourself, that story that was never yours, is disappearing. You are writing your own story every single beautiful day. This feels so simplified for me to write. I know you will get how major it is.
26 days before you turn 39 you will have learned to flirt with bartenders, understand that your body is constantly under change, fallen in love with air plants and have eaten octopus and beef heart. (So yeah, you aren’t a vegetarian any more.)
26 days before you turn 39 time will stretch before you. You’ll only have a few pages left in the book When Women Were Birds, with almost every page dog eared with importance. I remember how you held Women Who Run With Wolves and highlighted sentences but never actually read it. You will read it this year.
26 days before you turn 39 you will walk down the street wearing the most vibrant red lipstick and loving how it makes you feel.
26 days before you turn 39 your birthday dress will be on its way to your house. It hugs your curves. Did I mention you have curves?
26 days before you turn 39 life will hold more unknowns than knowns. This will challenge your Virgo need for security and control.
26 days before you turn 39 you will try to control those unknowns.
26 days before you turn 39 you will be remembered with such love and tenderness.
26 days before you turn 39 I want to thank you, I want to see you, I want to honor you.
26 days before you turn 39 it is ok to be scared.
26 days before you turn 39 know this…
"We are Fire. We are Water. We are Earth. We are Air.
We are all things elemental.
The world begins with yes.
Changing Women. We begin again like the Moon." Terry Tempest Williams
P.S. That tattoo that says ‘yes’ on your wrist? That was for you baby.
Hannah Marcotti is a quietly impassioned motivator. Highly sensitive truth seeker. Tattooing joy on the spirits of many.
Hannah guides women to fall in love with themselves and through that love see the possibility of what they can create. This is where the magic happens.
Read past posts in the series here.
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