Healing like it's 1999

I was speaking to my mentor on the phone. She said, “I think you need to look back to your 13-year-old self.”

I knew she was right. 

Immediately after our call, I went to my stack of journals. The journals from ages thirteen through twenty-five. Journals filled with maddening self-inquiry and a Titanic ton of teenage pain.

I turned to one page and read,

I’m afraid I’ll never be seen for who I truly am.

And with those words, I began to speak to my thirteen year old self, as if reviving her from the dead.

We spoke about her need for approval and desire to be seen. About being lost in the world, growing up during the time of September 11th. About being totally freaked out because souls who died in the crashes of the twin towers would appear to her, asking for help. About despising her sensitivity. About the rumors at school that she was a devil worshipper. 

I asked her what she needed. She looked at the journals. 

She wanted safety, love, and a clean slate. 
She wanted to be seen for herself. 
She wanted to have fun.

And she wanted to be free.

So she said, “Let’s burn the journals. Let’s start again.”

She instructed me to put on my fanciest dress, put up my hair, and wear some red lipstick. She told me to put on some heels (you look great in heels) and build a big fire in the back yard. 

We’d burn the journals, page by page, as we danced to Spice Girls and N’Sync and Alanis Morrisette. And after the journals were burned, we’d write letters of forgiveness to each individual named in the journals, and thank them for helping us on our journey. 

And after those letters were written, we’d burn them too. 

Before we began, I looked through the pages in the journals, revisiting memories I’d deliberately forgotten. 

I saw the constant need for approval. From family, from teachers, from friends, from love interests, even myself. Poems about running into the forest and only feeling safe in the trees. Scribbles about the need for love and the desire to move beyond a perpetual feeling of heartache.

I found one page in a journal from 2008 where I listed one hundred things I wanted in a partner. 

As I read through each desire, I felt like I was reading a description of my husband, down to the tiny details: Loves Italy. Speaks multiple languages. Has a spiritual heart, even if his beliefs look different than mine.

I asked my thirteen year old self, “Can I keep this?”

She replied, “Has it manifested into form?”

Of course it had. 

So she told me to burn it, too. 

Out of the ten or so journals, I kept only two from when I was thirteen years old. There was an innocence there, and these journals were a gateway to a purer, more genuine part of myself. 

The part of myself that would write, 

Dear guides,

Don’t worry if I don’t write for awhile. I’m off researching Buddhism.


The part of myself that would write,

Thanks for your help! I’m off to go meditate.

The part of myself who would write to Jesus and light beings and channel divine messages and quote from the bible and Joan of Arc:

I am not afraid... I was born to do this.

The part of me who was not afraid to be herself, until the rumors of devil worship spread around school and I shut the doors to that magical realm for many years to come. 

She felt important to remember. She felt important to awaken. 

She felt like me. 

So I went downstairs to the fire pit, journals in hand, crystals in my pockets. 

And page by page, I released the past into the fire. 

I released the need for approval.

I released the pain, not only for myself, but for all women who feel as though we’ll die without being loved. 

And I cried. 

And I cried. 

And I cried.

I cried for all the thirteen year old girls who are looking for approval. I cried for the injured, limping feminine who still needs to heal. 

I cried for all the moments when I didn’t believe I was beautiful.
I cried for all the moments when I denied the world was magic.
I cried for all the moments when I felt disconnected from love. 

And after awhile, not knowing what the tears were for, I just cried. 

When all the pages were burned, I wrote letters of forgiveness towards all I those I wrote about in those journals. 

And the tears came down some more, as I finally began to experience a certain clarity of consciousness.

And after some time, I felt my 13 year old spirit nudging me towards the music. 

Spice Girls: Wannabe.  N’Sync: Bye, Bye, Bye.  Alanis Morissette: Thank U. 

The moment I let go of it

Was the moment I got more than I could handle

The moment I jumped off of it

Was the moment I touched down

And together, we danced around the fire. We knew we were free.