Dear Younger Me

age 21, May 1993

Dear Younger Me,

You are stronger than you know.
Everything is going to be OK even though it is different than we could have ever known or planned.

You have good intuition, listen to it.
Strive for head-heart-gut alignment when making decisions. If one or more is jangling, there is a reason. Pay attention, take time to pause, and figure it out. 

Everything that comes before brings you to where you are now. 
The journey is not easy and the lessons are many. 
Peace is the goal: a peace-full home, a peaceful vibe, and peace in your body more often than fight or flight. 

Speak up. Say exactly what you think. Be bold. It is OK to not be liked by everyone. Not everyone is for you and part of your tribe. Love one another, the greatest commandment, yes. Also, learn about boundaries and practice self care.

It is OK to feel all of your feelings and express them. 
Don’t bite your tongue.
Don’t tamp down.
Trust yourself. 
Stay close to your family of birth, they love you biggest, most, best, forever, and always. 

Spend time with your grandparents.
Take notes.
Ask questions.
Learn about your ancestors.

Grit, steel, grace, and love, that’s what Janean Thompson is made of. 

You can keep your maiden name for always. Ms. keeps people guessing as to whether or not you are single, married, or some variable. 

Love yourself. Love is an inside job. Start there and grow. 
You have a knack for growing peace lilies. 
They talk to you.

You are brave and courageous and strong and fierce and a warrior.

Stay close to God.
God loves you and will never leave you.
Faith grows and yours is tangible, believing in what cannot be seen.
Hope is part of your DNA.
Joy is abundant in you, even on the hardest, darkest days.
Sit in the sunshine.
Walk in the rain. 
Delight in snowball fights at every/any age.

Wear boots for courage.
Keep going fishing.
Keep making art for you, even without a classroom assignment. Do it for you. 
Learn the rules of poetry or just write it.

Say hello to strangers because they may become friends.
Life is a beautiful, complex journey.
Have fun as often as possible, and fun is always possible. 

There is more, I’m trying to avoid spoiler alerts. 

Your friendships with other women will sustain you and give you strength on the days you feel depleted. There is strength in women gathering and sharing their real without masks or facades. 

“Real like The Velveteen Rabbit” is the benchmark for beauty and love.

Here is the checklist that sees you through lots of hard stuff:
1. Take it day by day
2. Show up
3. Do what’s next
4. Find the joy
5. Thank God

You’ve got this.
God’s got you.
Everything is going to be OK. 
It is OK to ask for help.
Rest when you need to. 
Love and trust God and yourself (instincts).

All My Love,
Janean, age 49

December 12, 2020

age 48, August 2020

I wonder as I wander,
“When will the robins fly away?”
it is early December now
yet I still see them here
perched in treetops
hopping in the grass
singing a trilling song
“For how much longer?”
cold is lingering
wind is whipping
winter is coming
soon

Dear Robin Red Breast,
You must go now,
so you can return,
and be a sign of spring renewal.
I hope you hear me when I say,
Hurry back, so I can greet you, when you come again, with a smile brightly shining.
I’ll sigh a sigh of springtime,
when temperatures begin to warm,
when winter’s wind gentles to a balmy breeze,
then I’ll whisper, “The robins are back. Spring is here.”
But now, now it’s time to go.
Please.
Love,
Janean

December 9, 2012

letter of reflection

Dear Sad Girl,
Your eyes have lost their sparkle.
Must be those dark circles, detracting and subtracting the twinkle from your eyes, the windows to your creative soul.
Your face is set and sullen.
That grin that once was impish, now set in a line or hangin’ inside down.
Holy hell what a mess.
I know it’s hard now, in this moment, but we’ll get you through this.
Someday soon Faith, Hope and Love will heal the wounds within.
Keep on going.
Day by day abiding.
The loving arms of friends and family will catch you when you fall.
So try to find your smile.
Savor Joy in the quiet colors of the dawn.
Pep talks are FREE and plentiful.
Hugs are often the best medicine.
Love is the easy part.
Start by being gentle with yourself.
Love,
Me

November 17, 2012

Some things never change

Dear Reckless Girl,

You met my husband yesterday at work. He was on patrol, so that’s not necessarily a good thing. He told me about you, in the late afternoon stillness of our house, on a Sunday afternoon. No names. No identifying data. That’d be confidential and it still is.  

I’d been sort of napping, while the dog woofed, the phone rang and the children were next door, at the neighbors. I kept my eyes closed as he told about how you were woken up rather abruptly on Sunday morning, after a wild night of partying with college boys, yet you’re still in high school. 

I listened. I heard. I thought back to over 20 years ago. Some things never change. Damn it. Why can’t they change for the better?! 

Why can’t teenage girls, with a woman’s body and a girl’s heart, have enough self esteem and strength of character to resist this cycle of drinkin’, flirtin’ and gettin’ naked when the weekend rolls around?! Today’s Monday, and you’ll be sittin’ pretty in your high school honors classes, perhaps whisperin’, grinnin’ and gigglin’ with your best friend about your wild child escapades. 

Next weekend will be much of the same. It’s a cycle. An ugly one. A hurtful one. It hurts on the inside, where no one can see. You’re hurting yourself, not those you are rebelling against. You. You’re hurting you.

What seems so fun in the moment is just a temporary escape. The dark of night only lasts so long, to hide your secret self. In morning’s light you’re still you, with effects from the night before lingering as a reminder.

You did those things. Now, face yourself in the mirror. That’s right, look into your eyes. Yep. There it is. Just as I thought. Hurt and brokenness, covered up with sass and feigned bravado. 

I don’t know your name. You don’t know mine. But I know your teenage heart that yearns for true love, and your mixed up head that’s so smart in book learnin’ durin’ the week and so foolish in choices made on the weekend. Some things never change. Damn it. 

It’s up to you. You have to break the cycle. Oh, it won’t be now. You’re having too much fun…or so you think. But someday, instead of drinkin’ until you’re so trashed you don’t care who you get busy with, you’ll meet him. And odds are good that it won’t be at a bar or a drinkin’ party. He’ll love you for your head and heart and well, as a bonus he’ll think you’re kinda sexy too. 

For now, just think about it. I hope you have good friends. The kind who can tell you when you’re being too reckless, even for them, to hang out with. The kind who know the whole ugly truth but love you anyway, because they just do. 

Love,

Someone Who Cares