I’m calling on my 28-year-old self, the one who rose at 5 am, trained, and ran the Chicago Marathon.
The one who travelled solo, wore power suits, and slept with married men.
I’m not calling on her morals. I’m calling on her fearlessness, her fire, and maybe even a bit of her recklessness.
Here’s what I really want from that girl (and she was just a girl): her life force energy.
The kind that had been whittled hot every time someone belittled her. The life force energy that allowed her to practice CANI (constant and never-ending improvement) while denying bad in the world and in her wake.
It was the 80s and I was all in. I knew how to do my hair and carry my briefcase. I walked into meetings with old white men and warned them not to call me honey or baby, “unless you’re saying that to Bob or Nick or Michael.”
I was my mother’s daughter and she stood proud.
I want to be the woman I was before my mother died and I opened my eyes to the suffering of so many. Before then, I didn’t know 1:4 people at the mall, on highways, at my favorite restaurants, face cancer.
I felt my loss compounded by the collective. The knowingness of cancer’s prevalence and pain pushed on my heart, but I bounced.
Over the years, lessons and decades weigh me down like a 50-pound backpack I don’t want to carry anymore. It’s not just cancer, but the underbelly of everything.
We’ve been washed in vulnerability and femininity, but also burned in the fires of a heartbreaking society while singed by individual and collective grief.
Unbreakable I once called myself. And I believed it. Where is she?
Now, I call on my 28-year-old fierce, tenacious, that won’t take me down, badass self.
At 28, being true to myself was all I had to do.
That’s all you need to do now, I hear her say.
I see you. Don’t claim the collective shattering as your excuse for not living full.
You called on me. Here I am. Now, get the f*ck up! You think I didn’t want to die?
Don’t forget the chapters I skipped by playing small.
The key is never stay down too long. Yes, cry. Heal the wounds I ignored.
But know this: being true to yourself—even at your age—is the most important rule.
It’s just that now you know being true to yourself involves being of benefit to others. Even when that benefit is simply your presence, just being there. I didn’t know that at 28.
Sometimes you just need to sit with yourself. Other times, you need to get over yourself!
There’s work to be done. You’re doing what I always wanted and never had the courage to do, even at fierce 28.
I always wanted to be a writer. You’re doing that, even when you’re procrastinating or believe you’re doing it poorly.
Now, you’re surprised that might not be enough? Sh*t! Nothing’s ever enough for us!
Hello, Scorpio! Transformation is our game.
Get back in there. You’re making me proud with all this expansion and compassion.
You just need to infuse passion into your actions. It’s in you. It never left.
I can’t return to you something I never took, something you’ve always had.
The life force energy you yearn for asks only that you stoke it.
It doesn’t matter if you’re 28 or 55. Be f*cking alive!