Finish The Sentence Friday

I love having some outside inspiration for writing. It makes me get outside my comfort zone and write about something that I might not have thought about. I also love link-ups because I meet so many great people!

I’m trying out a new Friday link up: Finish the Sentence Friday. The hostesses are Stephanie from Mommy, for Real, Janine from Janine’s Confessions of a Mommyaholic, Kate from Can I Get Another Bottle of Whine? and Dawn from Dawn’s Disaster. This week’s topic is “When I was younger…”

Circa 1999

When I was younger, I lacked self esteem. I remember a nervous girl, wanting so badly to fit in and be one of the “cool kids” but feeling like I’d never be good enough. In high school, I floated between different groups, hoping to find my niche. I was in the advanced placement classes, but felt inadequate because I wasn’t the smartest. I played varsity volleyball, but felt ineffective because I wasn’t one of the stars. I had plenty of boyfriends, but felt ugly because certain boys weren’t interested in me. Drinking alcohol helped me break out of my shell, because when you’re buzzed and blacked out, you don’t care what other people are thinking. Alcohol really was liquid courage for me, but it ended up being my worst enemy (2 sexual assaults while blacked out before graduating high school is not a proud achievement). I didn’t know who I was, so I tried on many identities in my search for the “right one.” None of them fit and I ended up with what felt like a split personality: the smart, hardworking, good girl who turned into the loud, smoking, crazy party girl when the alcohol hit her lips.

Senior picture
Senior picture

I made so many bad decisions when I was younger because I was afraid. Afraid of ridicule, afraid of being disliked, afraid of being alone. This is one thing that terrifies me as a mother: that my child might grow up to make decisions based on fear. My parents did the best they could for me; I don’t blame them for my problems. I know that there are marked differences between my childhood and my son’s childhood so far, but still I worry that I won’t do the “right things” to help nurture a strong sense of self in him. I want him to know who he is and not be afraid to make decisions that honor that – even if those decisions don’t go with the popular opinion.

There are so many things I wish I could tell that girl. If I could sit down with my younger self, I’d tell her:

  • Don’t straighten your hair. Your curls are gorgeous if you just leave them alone. YOU are beautiful without changing what you look like.
  • Don’t sleep with that guy. He doesn’t love you and you will not love yourself for doing it. You will not find your self worth in the arms of random men. Respect your body and don’t be afraid to say no. If he does leave you because you said no, he didn’t deserve you in the first place.
  • Don’t strive for perfection. It’s not possible. Be happy with where you are and what you have accomplished. You don’t have to be perfect to be loved.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Being strong doesn’t mean suffering silently. Tell someone how much it hurts before it’s too late.
  • Don’t stop writing. It saved your life once and will keep wounds from festering. Writing is your voice in this world; don’t let your pain silence you.

20 thoughts on “Finish The Sentence Friday

  1. Loved your advice here and so happy you linked up with us today. We sure do some stupid things when we are younger. I keep telling myself, if I only I knew then what I know now! But sounds like you learned and come out the other side quite well for yourself. Happy to get to know you better here and have followed you now, too. And thank you for linking up with us today and hope you will link up with us again in weeks to come, too!! 🙂

    1. I’ll definitely be back next week. I *may* have accidentally written on next week’s topic before realizing it was the wrong one, so I *may* have next week’s post ready to go. 🙂

  2. So true, it does almost sound like we were following the same guidelines writing our posts. I loved your honesty, which I think is the key to good writing, I loved the advice – doesn’t it suck that had someone given us the same advice when we were younger we’d likely not listen? Very courageous post!

  3. Wow, first time here and so glad I came – awesome that you linked up to the FTSF hop. First, I wish you could tell younger me about the not giving my body to boys who didn’t love me. I, too, used to be so afraid of being alone and not being loved that I slept with some skeezy jerks back in the day. I also love that you told younger you to not be afraid to ask for help. That’s something I should tell myself more NOW as well.

  4. You may have been afraid then, but it was certainly brave to post about those incidents. I think the problem for parents of any generation is keeping up with the times – we think back to challenges we faced and what we were exposed to at certain ages and imagine how to address those with our kids (not that I have any), but by the time they’re that same age, the world is a whole different place, so the rules are different. It’s crazy to think how technology has changed things and that for kids being born now, their whole lives will be public/online in some form or another. [#FTSF]

  5. Well done you for having the courage to face the dumb things you did as a kid out of fear and resolving to make sure your daughter never has to feel the same way (at least, not for lack of your trying). Great FTSF post.

  6. This is such great advice, after reading all of these posts I am amazed at how many of us have made “fear” based decisions, I sure hope we can instill something different in our kids!

  7. ” I floated between different groups, hoping to find my niche. ”

    exactly! lol In high school I took pride in being fluent in ‘jock’, ‘nerd’, and ‘cigarette-smoking-people-out-in-the-parking-lot’, I even knew a smattering of ‘popular kids’ and ‘vocational studies’.

    Ever the outsider, no?
    enjoyed your Post.

  8. This was a powerful and open post that resonated with my fears about my children. I wild-childed it up when I was younger and I shudder thinking about the risks I took and how my kids could take those risks too, someday. I don’t have an answer, I just have hope, like you.

  9. Sara,

    This is AWESOME. How I wish I could go back in time and have a nice chat with the younger me! I would give all of the same advice you did and give myself a big squeeze. We all have the same fears and it’s so powerful when we can say them out loud and get validation and identification. I guess it just sucks that it doesn’t usually happen until we’re 30 😦 Great post!!

  10. I think a lot of us would say similar things to our younger selves. Once I turned 30, I had such a better perspective on life and started to learn from my mistakes and conquer my fears.

  11. Wow, this was really good. I enjoyed it. I struggled with a lot of the same things. I had really low self-esteem in high school and when I was in my 20s I turned to alcohol. It was so much easier for me to relax and be myself with a drink. Eventually, I realized that that wasn’t the answer and stopped drinking, but it took changing my thinking in order to do that. Thanks for linking up with FTSF!

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