Thursday, January 22, 2015

A Letter To My Younger Self

I hold your hand, you hold my heart. 
While watching Oprah's Super Soul Sunday one night (thank you, DVR), Oprah and her guest, Shawn Achor discussed not only the secret to happiness, but also its' nemesis, depression.  Acher, a New York Times best selling author, revealed his 2 year stint with depression while Oprah also confided that she too experienced depression when her 10 years in the making movie, Beloved, didn't do well in the box office.  Acher than said something that peaked my interest. He mentioned writing a letter to his younger self to gain perspective on the past, the present and all the changes and lessons he has learned along the way. The letter allowed Acher to reflect and understand that despite life's twists and turns, he will come out okay, and that mistakes can turn into lessons learned if you are open to it. Oprah also wrote a letter to her younger self for a CBS series called "Note to Self." You can watch that here:

I have never experienced depression, but I have known sadness.  A painfully deep and long lasting sense of void that left me in aching despair through much of my younger years.  I thought it could be healing to write a letter to my younger self as well.

Dear Ladan,

I know your childhood was not ideal. Certainly not like anything you saw on TV or witnessed from other families.  Remember the time you were watching Full House and your mother told you to be more like those kids on TV, and since answering back was pointless, you just sat there thinking: How can I be like them when NOTHING about my life is like them? They were a loving, family unit. They were happily living together, co-existing as a team. They had family dinners that involved conversations as equals. They learned life lessons through goof ups that involved jokes and laughter.  Dishes weren't shattered as many times as broken promises and let downs. 

I'm so sorry Ladan that sadness was all you knew growing up.  It didn't help that you were barely 6 years old when you came to America and your family was still trying to raise you as though you were still in Iran. It definitely didn't help with your social status with the other kids at school either! Your childhood was all kinds of wrong. First there was your broken home and the family divide, then the culture clash of your parents rules and the outside world. Since you were too young to have a say, you had to endure it all.  I'm so sorry that you grew up without a voice.  I'm here to tell you that as soon as you are old enough to take the reigns-the sun starts to shine through all those cracks! It's a journey, I know, but you are strong and you are wise and you are motivated! I'm so proud of all that you have accomplished. After graduating high school, you ventured out into the unknown knowing only one thing: You were going to do it your way, you were going to live it up and you were going to experience all you could with nobody telling you "NO" ever again. 

Your summer internship to DC, just before your 19th birthday, was really life changing! With no familiar eyes around to judge your decisions, you were allowed to discover yourself inside and out! What a life journey that was in itself. But you didn't stop there, and I'm so glad you didn't! You spent another 3 months in Spain, studying at the University of Barcelona, where you took weekend excursions traveling to amazing places like Ibiza and Portugal as well different regions of Spain. While abroad, you also spent an entire month backpacking from country to country staying in cheap hostels and throwing away worn shoes or clothes that were starting to wear you down. That's an amazing memory and experience you can only truly enjoy in your youth!  After college, you continued to travel locally and abroad to amazing places like Iran, Brazil, Hawaii and, London. Looking back, boy am I glad you did all those things while you had the chance! Good for you for seizing the opportunity and going with it. YOU paid for all those trips, and they were well worth every hard earned penny! 

You've also had so many amazing work experiences interviewing some great people: Barbara Walters, Angelina Jolie, Will Smith! Remember how when you were younger you were so envious of all those Iranians you would see walking together in clusters down the streets of Tehrangeles? How you wished you could be like them, because where you grew up there were hardly any other Iranians who could relate to your culture and your parents strict rules. I'm here to tell you that in your early twenties, not only do you become the epitome of the cool Iranian girl, but you get to mingle with the Iranian celebrities and singers, with VIP access to their concerts and to clubs, and you get to be on TV, hosting your own entertainment show! Amazing how life works, isn't it? 

I know despite your parents terrible relationship you still somehow believed in love and you were a relentless hopeless romantic! You wanted to get married and have 3-4 kids, to live on a ranch somewhere in Oregon, with horses and dogs and cats and turtles (you were 9 when you dreamed up this fantasy!). Well, you do get married, you even have a beautiful wedding (life is amazing!), so far you have 2 healthy, happy, adorable girls (the other 2 could very well still be in your future, who knows!). There is talk of getting a dog, but at the moment you have your hands full and you've turned into such a city girl that I'm not sure the ranch lifestyle is really your thing anymore, though at 9 years old, I'm sure it sounded super fun!  

"The keys to your happiness are no longer in
someone's pocket from your past. They're in yours.
And that's empowering." -Adyashanti
There's still so much living and experiencing and achieving left to do! Your girls are ridiculously happy. Everyday you get to re-live your childhood through them, consider it a re-take or a re-do, who cares, you're all having fun! I wish I knew what the future years held for you, but I don't. I do know that it's been a great ride ever since you took control, so I'm pretty sure whatever you envision will come to fruition. Published author? Esteemed blogger? Public Speaker? Professional writer? Yes, yes, yes, and YES! Only you can make it so. There is NOBODY around to tell you NO, and you're way too old and busy to be listening to the naysayers anyway! 

1 comment:

  1. I really absolutely enjoyed reading this! Its amazing and makes me want to write one to myself… When is your book being published!!?