Jeanette’s Personal Note:
I’ve bit my lip in anticipation of this post.
Chelli estimates that she’s rewritten this love letter 27 times. We’ve had approximately 7.3 conversations about it and she’s watched one documentary that inspired at least one quick overhaul. We had one drink each while we chatted about it on New Year’s Eve. It took one voicemail, three texts and three emails to confirm that this post would go up today.
Chelli’s Love Letter:
My Dearest Chelli-Belly,
(This nickname is going to stick – you will eventually find it endearing.)
First, and I need you to really get this, like in your cells, know this: It’s not your fault. Your Mother leaving you when you were just a baby. Being molested when you were a child. Getting gang-raped your first year of college. None of it was your fault. It will be easy for you to blame yourself, to shame and convince yourself that it was somehow your fault, that you were being punished, that God forbid, you deserved it. Sweetheart, it just wasn’t your fault. Stop asking why and start looking to transform your pain into a purpose. This is how you will eventually find peace and become of service to the world.
Learn to forgive like it’s your job. Forgive those who have hurt you, forgive yourself for those you have hurt. Forgiveness is freedom. The older you get, the less you will have to forgive yourself – it will take you longer than you like, but you will learn to live intentionally. Everything will fall into place.
“When people show you who they really are, believe them the first time.” ~Maya Angelou
You won’t learn this quote until your early- thirties and you won’t fully grasp it until your late-thirties, but please, for your sake, breathe these words in and live them. People will give you all the information that you need to make decisions about whether or not you should allow them into your life and heart. Not only will they show you, sometimes they will also tell you, don’t think you can “love” them better, you can’t. Don’t justify bad behavior.
Marry that kind guy that you think is too good for you. This will change the trajectory of your life. Having a supportive partner who will assist in your “becoming” will be everything. Trust me on this.
Some things are never going to make sense – and that is okay. Your Mother not choosing you is going to perplex you most of your life. Instead of asking why, just know that she did the best she could with the tools she had. You will do better because you know firsthand what it feels like to be left behind. It will take you a little while, but eventually you will see it as a blessing. Your worst days will become the best days that shape you into the woman you are today. I promise.
You don’t need to prove yourself to anyone. Full stop.
There will be this moment in your late twenties, when you are talking to your Granny and she says to you: “You know you were your sister’s security blanket, right? I don’t know what she would have done without you.” That moment is going to give your life meaning and be your purpose. Doing and being for others what you always wanted is going to be a driving force for you, don’t change it. Ever. (It’s also going to serve you well when you become a Mama).
I’m not going to lie to you, the first several years are going to be challenging, but my love, it’s going to get so sweet. The darkness will diminish. You will only see the light. Your heart will grow bigger. You will laugh way more than you cry. You will experience things that you cannot even imagine right now as you lay in your bed in a junkyard in Ohio dreaming big dreams for yourself. Hold on. It gets so much better.
Finally, thank you for being a brave, bad-ass, risk-taking young girl. You got me here. But now I got you. I’m holding you so tight. You are safe and you can trust me completely. You can be vulnerable and soft and feminine. I will not judge you. Cry if you need to cry, say your scary things out loud, be your most authentic self. I will be with you every day until the day we die and I will forever be your biggest fan. You saved me. And I saved you. It will take you a few years but you will realize, I’m the love of your life. Now go share that love.
So much love & light to you,,
Chelli is an Entrepreneur and Social Media Maven. She most recently launched a co-creating space for women in Las Vegas called Bloom.