“You Can Do It” A Letter to Myself

“You can do it.” I recall saying this to myself when I was going to Camp Fire Girls the first time. I loved the thought of camaraderie with a group of girls I didn't know and who didn't know me or my family. I felt a sense of freedom with them; I had nothing to lose by showing up authentically. I loved throwing myself whole-heartedly into whatever the next project or program. Full-blast. All in.

At thirteen I was the youngest, and that meant I was lowest on the totem pole in that group of Camp Fire girls. That was great, in a way. Since I was already at the bottom, I had no way to go but up—and I poured myself wholeheartedly into it.

At the end of that first year, I won what was equivalent to "Rookie of the Year." Oddly enough, that changed everything. And not for the better. Winning that award that was the end of my fun and freedom with those young women. Being recognized somehow changed the equation for me. Now I had something I was obligated to live up to. Now there was a measuring stick on my performance. Now I had something to lose.

Grades were a big deal to my dad. In effect, I'd just gotten an A. I didn't see it as appreciation for my naturally enthusiastic self. Instead, I saw it as setting up an obligation to fulfill. That would have been okay—if I'd only known what I did to receive the award. If I knew what it was I had done to get the award, I could duplicate that. But how had I gotten “Rookie of the Year?” I was clueless. I couldn’t repeat what I done, because I didn't know what I'd done. I had simply been myself, with enthusiasm and energy…and at the time I didn't understand that. So instead I worried, trying to figure out why the girls had liked me.

I didn't tell anyone in my family of the honor received on that ceremonial night. It would have meant nothing to them. I don't think either my dad nor brother knew I participated in Camp Fire Girls. I didn't know what to do with the attention I'd received, so I hid. I never went back to that group of girls who’d appreciated my presence.

I look back now and see things very differently. Now I understand more about myself, and about the messages I got growing up. Now I’m not so hesitant to try new things, to take what I’m good at and build on that. So, I'm changing direction. This website, Mevoke, is my enthusiastic way of going from being a cloistered therapist to reaching out to a broader audience.

I carry some fears with me, of course. Any new venture worth the effort presents challenges. I’ll need to learn new things, and risk new ways of being in the world. But I know something now that I didn’t understand when I was in Camp Fire Girls: I can do this. The way ahead, most likely, will have unexpected turns and twists. But I can do this. I can. And I will.

Thank you for being a part of this Mevoke adventure. How does the letter to YOURself read? I'd love to hear the answer below in the comments.

Posted in acceptance, education, inspiration, judgement, self-help on 04/03/2017 09:23 pm

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