This shouldn't be this hard, you know.
Sitting down to say a few nice things about myself, to myself, should come a bit more naturally. But it is easier than it used to be, that's for sure. And it's my job to continue to practice self-love through self-care to make sure that it only gets easier from this point on. I'm working on it - every damn day.
This Love Letter is to me, from me. I am going to do my best to praise where I see progress in my life and encourage the areas that still need some work. I am going to challenge myself to speak in the same way I would to a dear friend in need of an uplifting and honest conversation. After all, isn't that the way we should've learned to do it in the first place?
In this case, it will always be better to be late to start than to never begin...
I want you to know that I SEE YOU.
I think it's important to start out with that because I know you feel so alone. You feel this way more often than you should. I see you when you can't sleep at night, when your dreams have become too loud to ignore. I see you reaching for that pad of paper to quickly jot down your next BIG idea, you know, the one that is finally going to get you where you've always wanted to be.
I also see you in the morning when you pick up that paper and shake your head. I see you tear it out and crumble it up. I see you lose your grip on faith. I see that magical light of possibility fade from your tired eyes.
Please, pick up that beautiful piece of your dreams.
Your ideas will never belong in a wastebasket. Not every idea is gold, but they will still help you learn to shine. Your thoughts can be redirected, your vision can be recreated, and your faith is ALWAYS waiting to be resurrected. DO NOT GIVE UP - I beg you. That stage, that book, those relationships and conversations - all of those things that you daydream about in your car and in the shower and in the kitchen - they are SO close. Keep writing. Keep sharing. I know it's hard, and sometimes it is upsetting, but it is for a purpose. A purpose so much greater than a bruised ego. Keep offering the hurting + shameful parts of your heart, it is healing it every time you do.
I see you, Charlotte.
I want you to know that I HEAR YOU.
Being a new mom is so hard. I hear you cry when no one is around. I hear your doubts and your fears that you just might mess this whole motherhood thing up. I hear the long groans when he wakes in the middle of the night. I hear your tired footsteps trudge down the hallway to his room. I hear the sighs of frustration when you don't have the answer. I hear it, and I hurt for you.
Do you want to know what else I've heard?
I've heard the baby belly laughs coming from the living room floor that only his Mama can get out of him. I've heard the ridiculous noises you make just to see him smile. I've heard the choo-choo sounds and the airplane engines that encourage the nourishment of your baby boy. I hear you humming sweet songs to soothe him after painful shots. I hear the anxious jangling of the "we're gonna be late again" car keys, the stuffing of the diaper bag, the sloshing of a bottle being washed, the rolling of dirty diapers, the kisses on the forehead, the sound of you singing to him while you cook - I hear that same long prayer you send over his crib each night. I hear the divine protection you pray over him. I hear the dreams you have for him.
Keep doing your best. Keep showing up to be the best mom you know how to be. He's not asking for more than that - he already thinks you're the best mom in the world because you are HIS and he is YOURS. He doesn't just hear it when you whisper "I love you", he feels it. Keep whispering it, keep delivering it in hugs and long rocks in the chair, keep shouting it across the room - you will never be able to say it enough and he will never regret hearing it.
I hear you, Charlotte.
I want you to know that I AM SORRY.
This apology is for your body. I'm sorry for shaming it. I'm sorry for starving it. I'm sorry for cutting it. I'm sorry for tracing the scars that birthing your child left behind in vain. I'm sorry for wishing them away so desperately. I'm sorry for letting it be touched by hands that never deserved to know it so intimately. I'm sorry for exposing it. I'm sorry for hiding it. I'm sorry for blaming it. I'm sorry for the impossible pressures I have placed upon it again and again and again.
Please know this: I'm grateful you are still fighting to love your body despite the "flaws". I am grateful you are not giving up on relearning your way around your new body. I am grateful you are searching for lasting ways to love it for what it is, how far it has carried you, and - most importantly - what it has given you. The greatest love you have and will ever know was given to you by the same body that has endured so much hate.
I am sorry, Charlotte.
I want you to now that I LOVE YOU.
Wow. We have braved a long battle to mean those words. And I do. I FINALLY mean it. I love you when you are mean. I love you when you are afraid. I love you when you are mean because you are afraid. I love you when you are wrong. I love you when you have embarrassed yourself. I love you when you failed. I love you when you don't think you are pretty. I love you when you don't think you have enough money. I love you when you make the same mistakes over and over again. My love is no longer reserved for the highlight reel, my love can be found behind the curtains. My love runs deep for your all of your brokenness.
I am not the only one, you know.
God loves you. Your husband loves you. Your son loves you. Your mom and dad love you. Your sister loves you. Your brothers love you. Your Best Friend loves you. Your Grandma, your aunts, your cousins, your coworkers - they love you. I bet there are even some people that you've never met that have love waiting for you. When your love is scarce, reach out for theirs. Tap into their love for you. It does not make you conceited or boastful - it makes you human. And there is no shame in that.
Don't lose this newfound self-love. When you take it for granted, fight to get it back. This is the love you never stop battling to attain. This is the love that you seek until your days no longer allow you to continue. This is one of the most important kinds of love you can ever ask to receive. Owning it will help you show love more freely. It will help you love others more intensely. THIS LOVE is contagious. THIS LOVE can create real change. Give it whole-heartedly, and give it often. Not just to others, but to yourself.
Charlotte, I believe in you.
All OUR Love,