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 Lisa Gendron, my mentor and friend. We believe the Universe orchestrated our meeting and connection -- we both showed up for each other, right when we needed it. Lisa is a talented photographer, amazing doula, and beautiful friend. Her letter touched my 21-year-old heart. Thank you, Lisa:
You are about to turn twenty-one.
You thought you had some notion of what your future would be. You lived a couple of wild beautiful years and your first year of your twenties taught you to be free, brazen, to take risks. Now you are pregnant, a single mother- your body and soul transforming. It feels like a storm rolling in from the ocean. You are afraid. You are inadequate. You are strong.
You will birth this son in power, you will fight to grow. You will be terrified. You will be reborn… maiden to mother.
You will know love, you will know comfort-but first you will be lonely… lonelier than you could ever have imagined. You will know confidence, but first you will be timid. You have a quiet voice, but you will learn to roar. You wanted to travel- you won't, but you will travel the landscape of yourself. You will go further then a plane could ever take you.
You will birth three children in this decade. Two sons first. All of them will be children born in strength… they will teach you how to love yourself. You will feed them with your body. Your heart will kindle their hearts. They will love the sound of your beating heart. You will love the sound of their beating hearts. This will be the great love you think you will find in a partner. You will find love with men- and with their father- but their love will be the transformation.
You will find yourself. You will be magnificent. You will make mistakes. Nothing unforgivable... You will be forgiven.
Your third child will be a daughter. She will make you more fierce. You will fight hard to bring her into being. It will be worth it.
Things get better. Things get harder. Things get easier.
You will marry their father, but not until you are well on your way to thirty. You will learn that partnership is about so many things. Love is woven into the fiber of who you are, with all its nuance, texture, history. This will be a slow growing love. Passion may have always been there, but this is only a small part. You will learn to trust. You will learn that love only works when you are whole. Broken hearts cannot hold love, you will have to heal. You will heal.
Take time to stand in front of the mirror. Look at your face. You are beautiful. You are young. You will never be perfect. You are perfect. Truth is in the paradox. Be in your truth. It will evolve with you. It holds your future.
Dear Lisa. You may be angry as you grow. Rage is energy, own it. Use it. You will be really fucking angry. You will be really fucking angry!!! It's ok. Let it out, let it be transcendent rage. You will become wise in your forgiveness. You will become wise in your acceptance. You are growing.
Dear Lisa, love yourself as you love others. You love others so well. It is a gift your have been given. Let it serve you.
I love you twenty-one year old Lisa. You are a beautiful woman. Peace and blessing on you. Blessed be.
Almost 31 Year Old Yourself
Lisa Gendron is the photographer behind Agroterra Photography and Agroterra Birth. Lisa recieved her BFA degree from Rhode Island School of Design. She has been photographing children and families for over ten years. She has developed an approach that emphasizes comfort and authenticity in her photography and engagement with families.
Lisa is the mother of three children, and lives and works in Rhode Island... She loves all things creative- When not behind the camera, she can be found conjuring up beauty in the kitchen, garden, with handwork or conversation.
Read past posts in the series here.
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