me

Letter to my 12 year-old self

My dearest Bevin,
I’m writing to you at age 45, I know that probably feels ancient to your 12-year-old self, but trust me when I say I feel like I’m just getting started. Twelve was a pivotal year for us, all I have to say is middle school, right? What a huge shock and difference from the little two-room schoolhouse in the quiet valley, I know you miss it. Every day feels like being submerged in a sea of mixed energies, so many new rules and social politics to navigate.

I know you got a D in math, your first one ever. The dread of taking your report card home, the anxiety arising that Mom will be disappointed. Having now been a teacher for twenty years, I can tell you definitively our 6th grade math teacher was terrible and you did the best you could. Don’t worry, you will be a whiz at math in high school.

It might seem like what’s most important is to achieve, to strive, to succeed, yet sometime in the future you will rethink these priorities. Learning how to fail gracefully is an important lesson, just wait until you flunk out of college! Oops, I’m probably not supposed to be giving away the future. Don’t worry, you’ll go back and finish. And then you’ll realize life experiences count a whole lot more than a framed piece of paper.

I know you look around at your peers and imagine because they come from a family with money or they seem popular, that everything’s perfect in their world. Trust me, it’s not. One thing I’ve learned is that every human being has their struggles, no matter what things look like on the surface. Being loving, kind and knowing who you are, beats popularity any day of the week.

I know you feel ashamed because we grew up poor, however money is not the only way to measure happiness and success, it’s not even the most important. Our family was wealthy in so many other ways, the love and support they showed you, how you got to be yourself, all those deeply meaningful times together, those are more precious than gold. Know that Mom showed you the family budget not to worry you or so that you felt responsible, just so you would understand how to take care of money in the future. You are good at it, if you decide to believe in yourself.

Keep an eye on how society sends you subtle messages and pressures. Especially tv — you get to choose how you want to feel about you, regardless of what they tell you about your body or relationships or what’s important. When you look back, you’ll see the 1980's was a pretty self-absorbed and materialistic decade. You’re spot on though, Prince is going to be badass.

I know how emotionally hard it was this summer when Dad posed the question, do you want to come live with me? Because you are now legally old enough to decide. I know you wondered, is this a power play to get back at Mom, am I just a pawn? How you carefully weighed the pros and cons of which home would be the best place, all the while wishing you weren’t asked to make this choice in the first place. How hard it was to tell him no, to feel his sense of rejection, anger and jealousy like they were your own emotions. Knowing at that moment, everything changed and your relationship would never be the same. I’m proud you trusted your intuition that living with Mom was going to be more stable, at least for a few more years. I am now opening myself up to the possibility that maybe he really wanted you, that he wanted us. What if there was no other motive?

I know it felt like an impossible choice: do what someone else wants or do what’s best for you? I wish I could say these types of decisions quit coming, but you will face them again. Just do the best you can in each situation.

Climbing the mountain with Dad was amazing, right? Understand he is teaching you how to be resilient, to take risks, to reach for what you at first think is impossible. You will use these skills over and over to your benefit. The weekly art lessons? Remember to make art from a place of joy instead of pressure. You will use everything you learn about art and creativity, time and again in multiple careers.

I know you wonder about boys, you see some girls in your class making out and going steady. A part of you is interested and a part of you is scared about what that will require of you; that’s completely normal. Always make decisions from a place of self-respect. There is a reason they call it making love, you are not just sharing your body, but also your soul — be certain first the other person is worthy of that connection. Your body is your own, saying no is a great response, not only to sex but also a lot of other things that just don’t feel right. Basically, males after a certain age are often horny, that is not your concern unless you want it to be. If there is one thing I can share from the future, men are complex and amazing; they will be some of your greatest teachers and growth experiences.

And since you’ve been wondering if you will ever grow big enough breasts, let me assure you, that’s not going to be a problem.

Keep reading everything you can get your hands on, it’s one of your greatest assets. And yes, the dream you have to become an author will come true, I’m in the process of writing our first book right now. It’s called Misunderstood: An Empath’s Guide to Self-Confidence and Connection.

I know at 12, being an outsider is the last place you want to be, but at my age, I’ve learned to embrace that I approach the world a bit differently. I’ve also realized fitting in is an illusion, because there is no normal. We’re individual humans having 8 billion unique experiences.

Okay, I’ll give you a sneak peek. Next year, Mom will announce we’re moving back to the Midwest, since Grandma and Grandpa are getting older and have become ill. You’re going to be really pissed off for a long time because Oregon has your heart. It always will. Don’t let that resentment eat you up because of being the new kid in school (again), having to start all over with no friends and no spiritual community like the church you love so much. Please know you can go back to visit whenever you want to reconnect.

You’re going to feel like a weirdo, hippy, liberal old soul dropped in the middle of small town conservativeville, however, know that you are good for them, you’re there to shake things up a bit. This move could make you feel like you have no hometown. What I’ve learned after living many different places is that home is not a particular building or a city, it is a feeling of deep security within. And we both know our true home of origin.

Later, you’ll forgive Mom for this move because living 900 miles away and only seeing her once a year helps you understand why she needed to be close to her own parents as they got older. Time is precious.

You know that close connection you have with God, how you receive visions and dreams? Stay connected, tuned-in, it’s the most important thing. Questioning and seeking answers will be your lifelong pursuit. Yes, it’s okay to choose more than one spiritual path, they all end up in the same place.

Spirit animals will continue to come to you, listen to the messages each has to tell, they will be some of your greatest guides on this journey.

Cats in particular will be your companions, your best friends, your teachers. Crowd, hover over a cat or try to bend them to your will and they run and hide. Give a cat space, respect their boundaries and their sovereignty — they will come to you willingly with the deepest love. This philosophy works great for people as well.

I have a confession, most days although I am 45, I feel like I’m still 12. As a matter of fact, I’m often amazed when I realize I run a business and have different types of insurance. I wonder, how did I end up being an adult?

For me, the world will always be a place of wonder and possibility, I’m wise about many things and a bit naïve in other ways and that’s okay. I’m also trying to pay attention. Daydreaming is amazing so please don’t ever stop, but remember to focus every once in awhile and see what’s right in front of you.

Words of wisdom? Every day is a new beginning. Any moment, you can decide to start fresh, believe different, change your ways, trust more, love deeply, learn and grow. Don’t forget, you are never stuck.

My most important message to you? I love you. You are a Divine spark of Greater Consciousness, you are forever cherished, provided and cared for.

So be it.

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