Saturday, May 7, 2011

Girl in the Tree

I wrote this letter in response to a prompt from my IRL writing group.  We were to write a letter of advice to our younger selves. 

Recently, the younger brother of my very good friend posted this photo on Facebook.  I had never seen this photo before.  I believe we were about nine or ten years old.  Something about the photo caught my attention and I decided to direct my letter to her, the Girl in the Tree.  She's the one at the top of the tree.


Dear Girl in the Tree,

This is supposed to be one of those letters where I, your older and much wiser self, am supposed to give you all sorts of advice but I look at you and the confidence that you portray and wonder what you might be able to tell me 

I don’t remember this picture being taken and when I first saw it I was surprised to see that you were at the top of the tree above everyone else.  This is not how I remember being but Danita (yes, we are still friends) remembers it differently.  When I mentioned my surprise to her, she just laughed and said that I was always brave back then, always the first to try new things.  Really?   I have to stretch my memory in order to remember this feeling and I am not sure when things changed.  You already had so many things to be afraid of, yet you look so happy. 

I guess if I had any advice to give you at all, it would be this:  Don’t lose that fearlessness because in the process you will lose yourself and let me tell you, you will spend a whole lot of time in the future looking for you. 

I know you have this inherent need to please others but don’t put everyone else's needs above yours because eventually you just forget your own and, again, you will spend a lot of time trying to figure this out. 

I guess what I am really trying to say is hold onto that Girl in the Tree as tightly as you can.  Don’t let her go. 

Love, Me (The girl trying to find the Girl in the Tree) 

I am sending this to The Red Dress Club for their weekend linkup. 

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June 26, 2011 Update 

I am linking this post to Flicker of Inspiration Prompt #5: A Letter to You at The Lightning and the Lightning Bug. The letter is addressed to the "Girl in the Tree" who is not sixteen, but nine or ten.  I thought that it was relevant anyway.  Please forgive me if I am wrong.
"Write a letter to yourself at age sixteen. What might you tell your sixteen year-old self? Would you warn yourself not to make a certain mistake? Would you ask yourself to treasure being young? Would you tell yourself how much you've changed? You can write the letter from your present self, or from someone else entirely. Feel free to take this in an unexpected direction. Good luck!"

17 comments:

Karen Peterson said...

This is such a great letter. Isn't it interesting to go back and find out things like that about yourself?

I used to be fearless and ambitious. Somewhere along the way, I've lost that too.

Kelly said...

Karen - Thanks, it is interesting...and liberating and hopeful.

quasiagitato.com said...

Oh my goodness...I feel the same way when I look back at my younger self and spend a lot of time (and money!) trying to figure out where/when/why it changed for me. Great letter. I think pieces of her must still be in there...for both of us.

Kelly said...

quasiagitato - She is there, it is just a matter of excavating her.

Melissa said...

Love it! Wouldn't it be great if we could go back knowing what we know now?

Kelly said...

Melissa - Yes, it would be great.

Deer Baby said...

That fearlessness is such an enviable trait when you're young. I'd like to know where mine went too. Great post.

Kelly said...

Thanks for stopping by Deer Baby.

Kelly Garriott Waite said...

This is beautiful. How much we forget of our former selves.

Cheryl said...

Gosh you could be writing to me. This bought back memories of me being able to climb trees faster than the boys, being braver and confident to take on the world. You're right - hold on tight to that person! Great blog!

Katie @ Chicken Noodle Gravy said...

Oh, my...this was lovely...beautifully written and such a strong message. I used to be brave when I was younger, too...isn't it funny how as we get older we start to fear things and lose that bravery? Oh, if only we could get it back, and be that girl in the tree once again.

Thank you so much for linking up, and yes, this was just perfect for the prompt.

No. 7 said...

I think this is perfection! "Don’t lose that fearlessness because in the process you will lose yourself and let me tell you, you will spend a whole lot of time in the future looking for you." - that statement hit home. We spend so much of our youth trying to become something else, only to look back with regret.

No. 7 said...

P.S. I'm really happy that you linked up!

Terry said...

Love the twist you had on this prompt...what our younger selves could tell us!! I hope you find the girl in the tree.

Jodi D. said...

I loved this, nice twist. I think we could all learn a few things from our pre-pubescent selves. Seems like as soon as boys enter the mix, girls lose their bravery and self esteem.

Jen said...

I LOVE that picture!! And it's funny how we remember things, isn't it? Great letter, one of my favorites of the day!

Dwija {House Unseen} said...

"I know you have this inherent need to please others but don’t put everyone else's needs above yours because eventually you just forget your own and, again, you will spend a lot of time trying to figure this out. " This is the part that really hits home for me! Excellent post :)