I wish I were a Time Traveler so that I could go back twenty six and a half years and tell my sixteen year old, pregnant self, that everything was going to be okay. I’d try to make myself understand that I shouldn’t be so hard on myself, that it would be a waste of time and precious energy to be so defensive and fiercely protective in the face of opinionated moralist bullshit from the spiteful, the bullies and the plain old ‘just disappointed’. I’d tell myself that the world actually hadn’t fallen on my head, that my life wasn’t over, that however hard things got I’d be strong enough to get us through it. If I were able, I’d give myself a big reassuring hug, show myself the seven GCSE’s I’d pass, the wonderful man I would later meet, and I’d read aloud the letters of promotion from the successful career I would forge.
I’d put my 2011 marathon medal around my neck, and place my 2012 degree in my hands, and I’d spread all the thousands of photos across the floor that we’ve taken since 1986 to prove those years hadn’t been thrown away and were worth living. And I’d tell myself that life is not for regrets, or for letting the past hold us back, that anything is possible; that the daughter that I was carrying would turn out to be one of my greatest achievements; beautiful, funny, intelligent, capable, talented, and an incredible mother herself one day. I’d surprise myself with the prediction that in less than four years I would have a son who would complete our family, a second child who would arrive in much improved circumstances when life had taken a significant turn for the better. I’d shake the phrases “could have, would have, should have” out of my mindset because today in 2012 I finally know that they really didn’t matter that much in the bigger picture. Because there were moments back then when I couldn’t even begin to predict how things would turn out, painfully present moments when I really needed to hear, in my own words, that there still was a future vocabulary, and not just a past tense.
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