Today we get to peek inside Annisa Swanson’s book, Faith, Fat, and Other F-words. She writes a letter of encouragement to love well and be loved well in return. It could be personalized to each one of us. Welcome, Annisa!
I posed a question to a circle of friends, “If you could go back and tell your 17-year-old-self, one thing, what would it be?” The responses vary from the somewhat silly or “Buy Apple stock” to private messages about um, well…private things!! One guy responded by saying “never pick up a cigarette” and several mentioned being a better student.
I enjoyed reading through the responses, as I’ve always enjoyed this form of ‘people watching”. The way of watching what is on people’s hearts and minds. But as I go back and re-read the responses with a different kind of filter, I notice the resounding theme….regret. Regret for being unkind to people, or not following their dream. A couple of confident gals commented that they wouldn’t change a thing, because of the life they have today. (You gals rock!) For those of us who have lost parents and/or siblings the sense of loss now would tell our younger selves to spend more time with them, stay close and don’t take tomorrow for granted.
Some have commented on decisions made, well more specifically – partner choices. I know the back-stories on some of these commentators, and it would seem overly obvious NOW that it was not a good fit. But there was a moment at some point in time, that there was a connection. A moment that we loved that person. A moment when we said “I do”, and meant it. As life has a way of happening, day by day we grow, evolve and change. Sometimes that evolution is not an equal trip in time or distance. Often times, one partner will only go so-far and then plant their feet, while the other is walking 10 paces ahead. Like a partner that dreams of soaring high and the other wants to plant deep roots.
A few replies were about faith and knowing who God is, and more importantly, who we are in God’s eyes. It’s so hard to even begin to know who we are at 17, we barely resemble a sensible human being at that age. And to know that God loves us – no matter what, to know that He has our path covered and that we are never alone; well, that’s a tough concept to understand even as a grown up. But it is the only thing that holds us/me together some times!
One theme I see like a tiny thread through many of the responses is to not be discouraged. I remember being 17 and feeling as though my world was caving in. Of course, all of the know-it-all adults would tell me it’s going to be ok. Some day. Blah, blah, blah. But if I could speak to me/her I think I may have some credibility in showing my scars, the wounds on my heart, and the joy in my life now. You will be ok, do NOT be discouraged, disillusioned, or defeated.
So, here is my letter…
Dear 17-year-old me:
You are not the owner of other people’s wrongs. You can be courageous and find your voice. Your words can change the course of your life, don’t be afraid. You are only 17, and will live to be a grandmother of two gorgeous littles. Your life is big and full and the things that seem to be encompassing your whole world today, are momentary, temporary and not worth your grief and tears.
You are not in need of rescue, you can battle the dragon and win. Love deeply and ferociously, but Little Girl, right now…in this moment…it isn’t love. Not even close! Love gives you wings, not binds you. Love is caring more about your partner than your own needs. Love makes your heart sing with tears of joy, not grief of being inadequate.
Be you! Be bold! Be a light that shines bright, not to outshine others, but be a lighthouse on the shore that says “welcome home.”
You are worthy of big love, you ARE enough!
An excerpt from the book, Faith, Fat and Other F-Words.
Stop by Annisa’s blog to read more about her and her book, Faith, Fat and Other F-Words.
I’m indeed a rambler…
I am a crazy combination of tattoos and tradition, of heart aches and victories, a dark past and a bright future.
I’m as twitchy as an over-wound Cuckoo Clock, but there are days I can’t get out of bed.
That’s the brilliance of mania; the chaos and the quiet.
The dark and light so to speak… Read more at AnnisaSwanson.com.