A Letter To My Old Self

I was recently challenged to write to the little girl in me, and can I say it was so liberating. I've been thinking about sharing it for a while, and I finally have the courage. I hope that it encourages someone else, too! Check it out below.

Little Danielle, you were strong, resilient, extremely brilliant, and full of hope and ambition. You were a leader with a heart of gold. You were the perfect size & shape and had a promising future. No one could tell you anything. I admired you and your ability to carry the weight of the world so gracefully. You were perfect, my favorite person — but as the years went on, I am sad to admit that we lost touch for a while. I spent the last half of my 20s trying to get back to you again. I beat myself up because I couldn’t, and I couldn’t figure out why. You had become a distant friend that I longed to see again. A short time before you passed, we had a chance to catch up. You were finally real with me. Turns out, you were just as good at hiding your pain from me as you were at hiding it from the world. All this time, I had been admiring your strength, wondering why I couldn’t be like you. But I didn’t realize that that strength you carried was killing you. You were dying of exhaustion from years of trying to hold everyone’s world together, while yours slowly fell apart. You were wearied from constantly dodging life’s biggest curveballs on your own. You were tired of defending and protecting loved ones from enemies they seemed to love more than you. Most of all, you were tormented by constantly living on the edge of your world crumbling. Sure, you seemed strong, but you were really on financial, emotional, and spiritual life support. I would argue that you never even knew what it was like to be a “little girl." You had to grow up so fast. You had to make really hard decisions very early. She had to fight a lot of battles that weren’t yours, to begin with. You had so many loved ones disappoint you. You were always running from the life your parents had, just to run into exactly what your parents had. You carried so much hurt and rejection, yet, you were an expert at pushing your feelings aside, sucking it up and getting things done. I know you were striving so hard in life because you didn't want to disappoint me. And that's why our time apart was the best thing for both of us. It brought us to the end of ourselves: to the end of you running and to the end of my longing to see you again. Little Danielle, I want you to know that I’m so proud of you. No matter what was thrown at you, no matter the wrong turn you took — you never stopped believing that there was something better out there for you. That hope is the only reason why I am here today. You don’t have to try to little miss perfect anymore. Everything you dreamed I would be, I’ve become, and no mistake you made can take away from that. You started life’s relay race strong and nailed your leg. Now's it's time to pass the baton. I promise to take good care of our destiny from here on out. I won’t let everything you’ve been through, be in vain, and I promise to see all your wildest dreams to fruition. I pray you’ll cheer me on, instead of worrying about all the "what ifs." I pray that you will let me be happy without thinking everything's too good to be true. I pray you’ll get on board with my big dreams, without getting overwhelmed by what it takes to go get them. I want you to remember that you're not working alone anymore. I took your pain and deepest desires to our Heavenly Father. He got us. It’s okay to breathe out now. Let me take it from here, and you take this time to enjoy being the child you never got to be. Laugh. Dance. Be silly. Dream. Express yourself. Explore your curiosities. Rest in peace knowing you're finally in good hands. Sincerely, The Big Danielle Hairston

I challenge anyone and everyone to face the fear and hurt of their past with a letter to their old self. Talking to Little Danielle wasn't easy, but it freed me of a lot I weight I was carrying. It reminded me of how far I've come, and encouraged me to keep pushing forward into tomorrow.

I hope you enjoyed it. :)

Take care!