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'And So I Prayed': My Letter (and Prayer) to My Teenagers

It is about being 21 years old and knowing that something HAD to change. And quick. It is about being 21 years old and having had too many close calls. It is about being too old for those short years.
01/15/2016 11:04am ET | Updated January 15, 2017
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Hello My Two Beautiful Teenagers,

Here's a story I wanted to share with you.

It is about being 21 years old and knowing that something HAD to change. And quick.

It is about being 21 years old and having had too many close calls.

It is about being too old for those short years.

I remember a distinct day in an apartment in Tucson. Looking at an empty bottle and knowing that if I didn't change, I would get hurt.

And knowing that I didn't care enough about myself to make that change.

That was a scary place.

You see, I wasn't raised to value the True Nature of myself. I was raised to value my net worth and my image.

If I was pretty, they loved me.

If I got all A's, they loved me.

If I was good and if I worked hard they would love me.

Otherwise....

You see, I got taught early on what Conditional Love felt like.

And at 21 years old it was no longer enough.

To want to LIVE and be loved.

And so I prayed. And I went into the desert and I took off all my clothes and laid naked on the side of a mountain and I prayed. And I swam in pools of water in slot canyons where I thought I might freeze before I made it across. And I prayed. And I worked on backcountry fire crews with lightening so close I could see it touch the ground 20 feet to my left. And I prayed.

And I met someone who I knew I had to be with.

And I prayed.

And God granted me all my wishes.

I married that man and had his baby in the desert and I learned (slowly) that I was worthy of love and I was good enough to get a college degree. And then another. And then start a business. And win international figure competitions. And write books. And teach people how to be happy because I had stayed so long in the valley of the shadows, that I knew a path out.

I know what it feels like to not want to live anymore in the body you came into this life in.

I know what it feels like to be alone.

I know what it feels like to be scared, and sad, and isolated, and desolate.

I know I hated it.

And, the crazy thing is that it took me another 20 years to suss it all out.

For the first 15 years of my life I lived the best I could in an environment that could be described as narcissistic/ codependent and learned all about the things I couldn't do... afford it, be it, do it, wear it, say it, go there, or have it.

And all the while a little voice inside me was chanting: yes. you can. yes. you can.

Except I was the one one who heard it.

I left my parent's home when I was 17.

I went out to go get it, do it, see it, feel it, climb it, run it, swim it, and read all about it.

When I was 21 I realized I was taking far too many risks in the game of getting feeling having doing seeing and being and if I didn't LOVE myself more, I wouldn't see 22.

But, HOW do you love yourself more?

If you are not taught your worth, how do you know it?

When you don't have self-love... where can you find it?

And so I prayed.

And the answer came swiftly.

You have babies of your own!

And you love them madly and unconditionally.

And through the learning of THAT UN-conditional love, you start to see glimmers of your own self worth.

And as they grow and need you more and less and more and less and eventually not at all, you see how your own existence unfolded from a safe place of retrospection and wisdom.

God gave me exactly what I asked for when I asked Him to show me how to learn to love myself. He gave me my children -- who have taught ME more than I will probably ever be able to teach them. I'm ok with that.

I have no desire to pass on my flaws and insecurities.

I DO have the desire to do impart them with the knowing that They Are Worthy. They Are Enough. Right out of the gates!! Never even a doubt!!

And so I pray.

My Dear Ones,

Although I will not teach you or show you anything perfectly, I will let you SEE me, and I will always hold sacred the times when you allow me to see YOU.

We will always have permission to be ourselves around each other; imperfectly, off-key, bruised, unshaven, tired, or sad. Together, we can laugh and sing and dance and create... no matter what, we belong together.

And together, in our home, there will always be a place to share our stories of strength and struggle, of vulnerability and conquering our fears. We will learn compassion for ourselves by practicing compassion for each other.

So let's join hands and stride into the future feeling joy and gratitude for our time here together, free from shame, blame, guilt and hurt.

Let's leave any of that behind, and forge our future in courage, respect, and the thrill of the ride!

But above all else, I want you to know that your are loved, love-able, and capable of loving.That you belong here. Hard times will come, and they will go. I can not take them away, but I can sit with you and teach you that it is ok to feel them.

I will always hold the vision of you in your greatness, even when you are too tired or depressed to hold it for yourself.

You are here to do amazing things.

I only know, because you already have.

xoxo MAMA oxox