Sunday, November 28, 2010

Letter To My Younger Self

Recently our local NPR station re-broadcast a show featuring Ellyn Spragins. The show featured her book entitled "Letters to My Younger Self." At that time, I was asked to write a letter to my younger self, that would be featured in a local publication entitled "Charlotte Parent." This led me to re-read the letter. As I've suggested, something about the holidays seems to lead me to a space of memory...certainly to an array of emotions that are deeply felt. In honor of that space I'm re-delivering the previous blog (from a couple of years ago) entitled Letter to My Younger Self. I encourage you to write one. There is something quite cathartic and even healing about writing it.

Several months ago I was asked to write a "letter to my younger self" for a magazine. The concept was based on a fabulous book authored by Ellyn Spragins entitled "What I Know Now: Letters to my Younger Self." Her website is When you get a minute visit it. The idea is based on that old saying that if I knew then what I know know how it goes. Here is the letter I wrote to myself. I invite you to do the same. Amazing what we really knew back then...but were just afraid to unleash!

Year 2009

Dear Molly:

You are quite remarkable, you know. Everyone around you sees it. That sparkle in your eye…it was there the day you were born and is irrefutably the most beautiful part of you.
I know, though, that at such a young age it might be hard for you to see it. As bright as your spirit is, the world tells girls, especially girls with a wild and wonderful side, that how you look is more important than who you are. But Molly, I’ve got a wonderful and powerful secret for you. Anytime, you feel less than, ugly or somehow unworthy, you can (and I know this is hard to believe right now), listen to the inner voice inside of you that knows better.

I know, I know. It’s easy for me to say that because I’m 48…and it looks like I’ve got it so together. But truthfully, in many ways, I’m no different than you. I have fears and doubts just like you. Sometimes I get so angry and frustrated that I scream and shout and cry so hard I think my heart will burst, but the beauty of growing older and living a rich and often troubled life is the perspective it provides. “This too shall pass” was an expression your mom used to always say, and I didn’t quite understand what it meant until I got older and realized that the goal in life wasn’t always to be happy, but to be content.

Yeah…I’ve got news for you. Life isn’t always easy or fun. Sometimes it hurts so much you will feel like you want to scream and shout and run away. The pain sometimes will be unbearable. But you will survive, because that little inner voice is never fully gone. She is just waiting for you when you are ready to rediscover her.

Boys? Oh my God. In several years you’ll discover the power of your own sexuality and how easy it is to use it to get the attention the outside world tells you, you need to be pretty, popular and happy. But truth is, you already have everything you need to be whole. Oh, but I forgot you already know…that inner voice reminds you of that every morning when you head out the door for your morning run. When you are alone with the sunrise, the chilled morning air and the sound of your footsteps on autumn leaves, you hear her, talk to her and love her. But once the school day starts and the noise of the ”should and ought to” voices take over, she gets tucked away. That’s okay. Running will be your sanctuary, the window in your day, when you hear her and your power, beauty and strength are celebrated.

There is much irony in writing this letter to you. I want to tell you that you will be okay and that all the pain, fear and self-doubt you will feel and that will challenge who you are and at times in your life actually challenge your willingness to live, are going to lead you to your life’s calling, the wonder of parenthood and even your serving as role model to many, many girls your age now. But I can’t. No matter how much I want to protect you, warn you and tell you that you are beautiful, whole and powerful, this is something you will have to realize in your own time and in your own language.

Just know, Molly, that in those darkest moments, those most vulnerable moments, those moments when it’s hard to breathe and the ability to see outside the moment is blinded by self-doubt, you are not alone. I’m waiting on the other side…the powerful you. The woman you have become. Empowered, beautiful and overwhelmingly grateful that the life you are creating is mine.

I love you, Molly.


  1. How fitting, Molly-- I just started writing a blog post on advice to my younger self (including wear sunscreen and be the girl who is there for her friends and makes others feel good about themselves) and I took a break to do some reading. Love this letter. Thank you for reposting.

  2. I really like your post...thanks for sharing this...keep posting..

  3. What a relief. I like you post and for Molly. I will look forward for your blogs again.