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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Wendy F

Dear Wendy,

I want you to know I love you, and think you’re a beautiful person. You need to hear this now, because there are times I know you doubt yourself and I want you to have this letter to read during those times.

The last year has been difficult for you, I understand. There will be more difficulties and struggles to come, as this is the nature of life. Everyone has struggles in their life, and you are one that tends to focus on the struggles of others vs. your own. I want you to know it’s not selfish to invest in yourself.

It’s okay to acknowledge your struggles and fears; you are just as deserving as anyone else. It’s also necessary to take pride in your courage and determination to face those fears, because it wasn’t easy. Be proud of what you’ve accomplished and the person you are – you are an inspiration to your daughters and if your mother was still alive, she’d tell you how impressed she was with your attitude towards life.

To focus on the subject of outer beauty, specifically for a moment…

I know this is a sensitive subject for you, and some of what I’m going to say will probably make you cry, but I’m going to say what you need to hear anyway:

•    There’s nothing wrong with trying to look pretty.
•    You are not pretending to be someone you’re not, if you want to style your hair or put on makeup.
•    You won’t look stupid.
•    You won’t do it wrong.
•    You’re not trying to attract sexual attention by trying to look attractive.
•    It’s not “safer” to wear jeans, t-shirts and tennis shoes so you can fade into the background.
•    You won’t be rejected if someone is interested in getting to know you better based on your looks.
•    People will not think you’re shallow for trying to improve or change your appearance.
•    You are beautiful no matter what you look like.

At the age of forty, you’ve learned many things. You’ve learned that your body never stops changing, whether intentional or not, and you also know that someday, your outer beauty will fade. You’ve experienced this first-hand. You carried and bore four beautiful children, and each pregnancy wreaked havoc with your body.  You developed cellulite on your thighs and buttocks. Your breasts stretched to monumental proportions, only to shrink, shrivel and sag after nursing your children. You developed a map of stretch marks across your belly, hips and thighs when your skin overgrew its bounds. You have wrinkles now, your hair is getting gray, and your teeth are not as white as they used to be.  Yet, you are more beautiful now than ever before. Did you hear me?

You are more beautiful now, than ever before.

Your beauty lies within your capacity for love, the courage, integrity and determination you show…not the length of your eyelashes, or the size of your thighs.  

You should be proud of yourself! Over the last ten years, you’ve grown so much!

•    You took care of your mother while she was dying of lung cancer. You were strong for her, and made her last months of living more tolerable, and full of love.
•    You learned to live without your mother’s emotional support after she died.
•    You took over the care of your grandmother after your mom died.
•    You provided your grandmother with love, care and companionship while she was dying.
•    You forgave your ex-husband for lying to you about your financial situation during your marriage.
•    You forgave yourself for trusting another person too fully, and learned from the experience.
•    You are stronger after losing your home and the money you invested. You recovered. 
•    You never speak poorly of your children's father in their presence. You encourage their love for him.
•    You forgave your step-father for ignoring you and your children after your mother died.
•    You repaired your relationship with your father.
•    You made it through the struggles of the last six months, in particular:

o    You were terminated (“laid off”) in retaliation after 5 years of faithful, exceptional service after expressing your dissatisfaction with unethical and illegal company sales techniques. Your “friend”, HR Director, lied to you and said your position was being eliminated due to “cost-cutting” reasons, but promptly advertised for a position similar to yours online not a month later. You cut your losses, and focused on the positive. You considered it a blessing in disguise and you learned to temper your trust in co-workers. You cut household expenses, you sacrificed, and you meet your financial obligations regardless.
o    You and your husband were in a motorcycle accident and survived. You broke your foot, but didn’t need surgery, only a cast and you were grateful. Your husband broke his leg, but you were grateful that was his only injury and that you would be able to spend another day with him. You were happy you lived, and didn’t think twice about the cost of medical care or repair to the motorcycle despite being unemployed and living paycheck to paycheck. You knew you’d make it through somehow.
o    And finally, you showed amazing strength and courage during your oldest daughter’s TERRIFYING onset of manic depression and subsequent hospitalization. When she was afraid of you, you were strong and didn’t cry. When her eyes, wild with fear, didn’t recognize you, you were strong and didn’t cry. During her psychosis, you were strong and didn’t show your fear to her...only confidence and love. When she screamed, lashed out and tore at her hair, you were calm and reassured her that you were there to help her and make sure she was safe. You were exhausted from no sleep, but you stood by her bed for hours so she would not be afraid. You moved her back into your home, and you support her recovery with love and patience. Your strength knows no bounds.   

You are a beautiful person; you show kindness to others, and bring joy to the people in your life. You deserve all the happiness you might find; every success, every compliment, and every opportunity.

You are an inspiration to your daughters, and they learn from you what it is to be beautiful. They know their beauty lies within themselves, and you have taught them not to rely on their appearance because it is always-changing.

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross said “ People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.”

You have that Light. You are beautiful, and I love you.  



Teresa said...

Dear Wendy,
I don't know you, but I wish I did. You are amazing and strong. I have been moved by all the letters that have been posted on this site,and yet, yours brought me to tears. Thank you so much for sharing and for showing us that our strength lies in our truth. And there is no shame in looking at ourselves with honest and loving eyes. I wish you all the best. Hugs to you.

Anonymous said...

This made me cry. Big tears. At my desk at work.

Iman Woods Creative said...

"It took me a long time not to judge myself through someone else's eyes."

~Sally Field

Laurel said...

You are indeed an inspiration! Thank You

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