I decided to sit down and write a letter to myself, just to see what it might look like. I’ve got to a place in my life that I’ve lived a little, seen a little, screwed up a LOT but that’s what life is all about. That’s the result of living, isn’t it? So looking back as far as I wanted to go, which was around my high school years, I mean really, nothing of any significance happened before then. Should I be gentle on myself? No, that’s not what this is about. Life IS brutal at some point even for the most blessed among us, so I have just let my thoughts wonder……. so let’s see where I end up.
Dear Younger Self,
I wish I had known what I know now, to go back and change a few things for you. Let’s start with High School. As the years have gone on I have realised you were actually smarter than you thought!!! I wish I had worked harder in school, not to change the career I had, but to have more of ‘something’ to fall back on when it was over. Back when i was finishing HS only the really smart kids or the nerds completed that last 2 years, it wasn’t a pre requisite like it is these days. I didn’t believe I was smart enough……but I now know, I was and wish I had realised that at the time.
On the flip side by finishing school when I did I got to do what I wanted…….DANCE! Oh boy, did I get lucky. I worked for a premier dance company in Sydney, Dance Encore Productions, this was owned by a couple, who now are my closest friends, but then……….OMG!!!!!
Let me go back a tad…….dance for me came natural, I admit I was a lazy dancer. If I’d have had to work as hard as so many others did, I probably wouldn’t have done it……this isn’t a new admission, I’ve said it many times over the years……however, it also took me a long time to appreciate that gift. I was young, I could do it and I took it for granted, BIG TIME.
Anyway, my first gig meant I had to travel to the other side of the country…..I left my family, friends and my boyfriend (much to my mothers delight) to embark on the career she always hoped Iwould and to be honest, it was ALL I wanted to do, until I got there of course.
Now, to say I was a little bit of a bitch would be an understatement……I hated the woman in charge…..and at the time believe me, it was mutual. I ran away, I didn’t care who or what it affected. I was brought back into line, all surly and young and full of angst. Remember, I was 17…. the deal was struck, I would complete my first contract, which saw me travel to Singapore with the group for 6 weeks the I would leave and never be seen or heard from again!!!!!!
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It’s a bit of a joke these days, but the theatre in Singapore had a set of stairs that we entered down on the opposite side of the stage away from the dressing rooms. Of course I had to go across every night for the entrance…….with the boss, who I obviously wasn’t in favour with. We’d not speak…..for nearly 6 weeks.
My lesson from that time was……I should have been more thankful, more grateful and much less of importance. The end result…..I traveled and performed with this Company for the next 7 years, that BOSS, she is still to this day one of my very closest friends and confidantes.. I continued to work throughout Australia with the company for a further 12 years…….how lucky I truly was……I did what I loved, with people I loved, in places I never dreamed I could go and I got paid to do it. No job could ever compare to that and I have made friends that have become family because of it. Moral to this story……don’t ever look a gift horse in the mouth.
Now, if you’ve followed this timeline at all, you’ll know that somewhere amongst all that dancing I had a couple of children. THE best thing I’ve ever done but I’ve stated many times over the past couple of years here on Sugarloaf Dreams that my choice of men has not always been the greatest……well, there’s an understatement for you!!!!
The only thing I would say to my younger self about this is you should have been patient. You should have recognised what you had to give……you see, I thought no one would want me, so therefore I went for the devil you know. In hindsight, there probably wasn’t anything wrong with him, but I didn’t trust myself enough to think if I had waited there WOULD be someone for me. Plus you know, I’m a romantic, always was always will be, throw romance at me especially when I was young and vulnerable…..yep, I was hooked.
As a parent, especially as a single parent, when I look back now I know I was strong, stronger than I realised at the time …….but as a mummy, I could and should have been so much more, especially to my daughter…….her brother took up so much time, physically, mentally and emotionally that I really didn’t have the time to give her what she really needed …….looking back now I should have taught her how beautiful and strong she was and that she should never think someone wouldn’t want her the way I had felt myself all those years ago.
Let’s jump forward a little to the career I have had post dance. As a single parent I had to do something, I refused to let the government pay me, I needed to work…..for myself but more importantly for my children to see I worked.
First I went into a role with a project home company……hilarious, I’d never built nor even bought my own home…….but I learnt every little thing I could about the company and building homes……you see that way I could give the best of myself to our customers……then I moved into sales, ladies fashion. Sales…..really? What was I thinking? Once again I learnt everything I could for the same reasons…….mmmmm there’s a bit of a pattern here…..I was a pleaser, yep…..that’s my nature.
Was I successful? Looking back from here, yes I was. I have been with the same company now for 12 years…..I have worked my way up the ladder, as far as I wanted to go but at what cost?
Ok to be honest in the middle I had another break up, which in its early stages led to a breakdown, which has left me with fibromyalgia and CFS……but prior to that as things at home were getting harder I combatted it with throwing myself into more and more work. So yes, if I am truly honest the breakdown broke me emotionally but the way I dealt with it broke me physically. It has taken me 4 years to realise that with honesty, but I do now.
In all this you have my parents…….I am an only child, I was their only concern. When I was younger, yes I thought my mum was over protective and she was……but I get it now. There were times I detested her for it and was very vocal and demonstrative about it. Oh my goodness looking back I’m amazed she doesn’t hate me, but looking through a mothers eyes, I understand why. Every single thing she did she did out of love, caring, worry……there was never any malice in it, but of course as a desperately independent person, that’s not how I saw it.
Fast forward to almost 2 years ago……my dad passed away. For some time, Mum was good…..too good. I knew there was a crash coming and it did. The tables have turned…..the child becomes the carer…… as a way of combating it though, I once again threw myself into work……see the pattern. So Mum crashed and burned……and I quickly followed……a definite light bulb moment for me.
I HAD to get myself right, so I could help get mum right……..we’ve both made some big changes. The biggest for me is my now relationship with my mum……we are now adults, equals and friends. We are both healing in our own ways together and we will continue to do so.
Just remember…..how we have lived our lives has brought us all to where we are today. Every tear, every wrinkle, every smile says we have lived. No matter what our life has been unique and special.
So in hindsight little one……
You needed to trust, yourself and others that they DID know what was right for you.
You needed to learn humility and the art of giving without losing yourself.
You needed to learn that always saying yes was NOT the right answer.
You needed to learn sooner that being alone wasn’t lonely and was what you needed.
You needed to know that people love and care for you because you’re you, not because of what you do.
Morale to this story……..take each and every day as it comes. Life is too short for anger, tears and yes, even regrets.
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