Saturday, February 14, 2009

Letters to Myself, Part 1

This is a project with many inspirations. I originally came across the idea at Becoming Me, but Musings of a Future Pastor's Wife, Mama Belle, and Not a bow in Sight all did one. I read them all, and you should, too. They're funny, poignant, and I can relate to various points in all of them. And so, like Angela, I'm going to do a series of letters to my younger selves. I think the original goal was to write a letter to yourself 20 years younger, which puts my initial entry at much younger than some of the above letters, but it's actually a critical age. This first one will probably be my hardest letter to write, as it lays the groundwork for my older selves as well.

Dear 8-year old Misty,

I'm going to say some things and use some words that may not make sense to you now, or that might make you uncomfortable, and that's OK. Eight is going to be a hard age for you. Mama just got married to a man who will sweep your family off its feet, and it's going to seem like a whirlwind. You're going to go from calling him Mr. Richard, to Pops, to Daddy as he encourages you to truly think of him as your dad. You are going to long for his love like nothing you've ever experienced before, and (oh, this breaks my heart to tell you) he is going to hurt you. He is going to tell you he loves you and give you things, and even tell you that you are his favorite, but this will cost you a lot in terms of your sense of self-worth and fuzz out your ideas of black and white truths.
He is going to teach you who Jesus is, and that is a good thing. Listen to your heart's stirrings; you really do want to be a Christian, even though it seems scary, and even though you will feel guilty for being too shy to tell other people about who your new Savior is, a seed of faith has been planted deep inside of you. But your view of God the Father is going to get muddy because you're not really sure what a good father is.
Daddy is going to touch you in places that make you uncomfortable. He is going to want to kiss you in ways you don't like. He is going to ask you to touch him in places that you know is wrong. And this is going to happen for a few years. You aren't even going to know that it's happening to Beth and Kathy as well. You think you are alone, but you're not. And you're still going to love him, because you honestly don't know any better, and because you want better for yourself. And that's OK, too.
You will eventually tell Mama, but she's not going to believe you. You will not know how bad that hurts until you are much, much older. And you're never going to talk about it again after that night until you are a Freshman in college. And by the way, that castle that you see on your way to the zoo? It's not a castle--it's where you're going to college and where some of the best things in your life are going to happen to you!
Chin up, sweet Misty. Be strong. Don't get so caught up in fantasy and reading that you are numb to what is going on around you. I wish I could encourage you to tell someone else, but I think Our Father had a different plan. And one last thing: you will share your story to a girl in China (China!) in a few years, and she is going to love the Lord because of it. So maybe that was the whole reason you're hurting right now, I don't really know.
Now that I talked about some heavy things, I'd also like to give you some tips to help you in this season of your life.
1. Stop being a couch potato. Being outside is a good thing. But wear sunscreen: you will only ever burn and freckle. And yes, you will be called FreckleFace many more times in life.
2. Stop eating junk food so much. You really will get cavities. And a little pudgy. Sorry.
3. Try to get to know Kathy a little better. She's just as much fun as Beth, just in different ways.
4. Don't be so shy!
5. Stop smiling with closed lips; you have a lovely smile.
6. Do enjoy Callie; she's going to teach you that you are a dog person for the rest of your life.
7. Stop eating onions; you're just going to throw up when you eat them, and it's not true: you won't like them when you're older.
8. Ask the librarian for better books than The Babysitter's Club and Sweet Valley High. There is a whole world out there of classic children's literature that you will love until you are old.

your 28-year old self
p.s. I'll write again when you're 15.


misti said...

This brought me to tears...I admire you for your honest writing.

runningtherace said...

I cried, too! I love you, sweet friend. What an awesome post. I loved the advice about the librarian and that you thought Rhodes was a castle!

Beth said...

Misty, I am so proud of you and I think you are amazing. You were always my hero growing up. You still are! lofsha-froeffer-cokey-jay!!