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©September 2005

Carol Jane Remsburg




Letter to Erin





Dear Erin,



How to begin?  Usually it's at the beginning, but somehow this won't work either for you aren't at the beginning of your life, childhood, adolescence, or adulthood.  Right now you are in the no-man's-land between adolescence and adulthood.  As your mother I want to help you make that transition as easily as possible, yet it's never easy.  There are so many pitfalls and we question ourselves endlessly.  Know that even in adulthood that doesn't always change.  Still, I have good news for you.  Wanna know what that is?  Then read onward.


One step along the path into adulthood is confidence in yourself.  This is a big step.  Some never make it during adolescence, some never manage it even when they are supposed to be grown up.  Know that age doesn't always define adulthood. 


You should already be confident in yourself and your abilities.  None of us are perfect, so don't aim for the sterile, stifling atmosphere of perfection.  It won't happen and you'll always end up disappointed in yourself and others.  That's a hard lesson to learn.  We want a world where everything is just, right, and fair.  We want a world where hard work is rewarded and others have as generous a heart as we.  Like you, I embraced those same idealist ideas from an early age and they still haunt the shadows of who I've become over the years.  I can't completely let that go but I won't let it stop me either.


Confidence is the assurance of being your best, that your decisions are sound and you have acted and performed to your best ability.  If you do that, you'll always be confident.  Our conscience guides us daily, that small voice that reminds us that "we should…" be doing something right at that moment.  Most often we heed it, sometimes we don't.  When we don't, we feel guilty.  If that guilty feeling outweighs our current lack of action, then we get up and do what we are supposed to be doing.  If it's a small sin of a ten-minute rest break, the guilt is negligible. 


Life is about choices.  We make choices every day.  We choose to get up and go to school or work.  We choose to work hard and do our best not just because it is what is expected, but because it makes us feel better when we do give our best. 


It's also important to know the difference in giving our best effort towards a worthy goal or wasting our time and energy for no purpose at all.  An obvious example is all the effort you put into your schoolwork.  The outcome is better and better grades and the possibility of a good scholarship to a great college which can open doors for you the rest of your life.  This is a basic concept you already know which gives you a leg up on all the other kids you hang around with.  It was something I wish I'd have realized and focused on at your age.  I didn't.  School was hell for me, not the work.  For me it was the social structure of school and all the kids there who made my life a torment even after I wasn't a target for them anymore.  I cringed just going to school right up until my Junior year in high school.  After that it got better, but even in my Senior year, I became target once again.  It began that September until that Wednesday before the Thanksgiving holiday.  Then I stood up and refused to accept being a victim anymore.  It was much easier than I ever thought it would be. 


Actually it was surprising just how easy it was.  All it took was a lot of anger, but more in the way of self-control not to allow that anger to end me up in big trouble.  Control is a big deal.  Control you know all about.  Control is something you need to re-focus and apply where necessary and not on the unnecessary events and people in your life.  And guess what else?  It felt GOOD!


You don't have to always be right to be confident.  All you have to have in faith and belief in yourself, that's it.  It's such a simple concept.  Why it's such a difficult concept for so many, I'll never understand.  It's as simple as turning on a light, flick the switch and you are there.  Still, it took me until I was almost twenty-seven years old to realize it.


This last year has seen huge changes in you both physically and emotionally, and next year will bring even bigger and more stunning changes.  However, the stumbling block we have, you and I, is one of confidence.  Confidence is one of knowing truth and acting on it appropriately.  I wrote that in bold so you would remember. 


Know the difference between helping a friend and taking repeated abuse from someone you think is your friend.  Yes, we are always there to help our friends—always.  However, they have to be friends in return.  If you are only one side of the friendship, then it isn't one.  Loyalty and commitment to a friendship only goes so far.  Friendship requires a two party involvement, both being there for the other.  When it becomes one-sided and you are the only one giving the friendship but on the receiving end of abuse, learn to cut your losses. 


School friendships can be a wonderful thing.  Some can last a lifetime, but most don't.  Ten years from now you may have a hard time remembering their names, simply because they are no longer a part of your life. 


If they won't be important ten years from now, investing so much of your heart is unnecessary.  If they become unimportant, whatever they think or say should impact you not at all.  Simply because they don't count.  Thus, it shouldn't hurt you and you shouldn't care a whit.


Slurs and accusations do not come from friends, not real friends.  If a real friend has a worry, they'll ask, couch it in the nicest of terms because they would have a difficult time believing you would hurt them in return, providing you the opportunity to respond in the same manner.  Real friends know you wouldn't hurt them and would always be there for them—because they KNOW you. 


Confidence in yourself is not worrying about what other people say or think.  You know what is true in your heart.  You also know if you do something wrong it eats away at you like acid, you can't hold it and want to make it right.  However, having to continually defend yourself from a lurid accusation by a supposed friend when you've done nothing wrong shouldn't make you cry.  Should it make you angry?  Yes!  Should you allow it to upset you for long?  No! 


Know this too, you have choices in everything you do.  That counts in friends as well.  You can invest only so much of your heart and have it hurt before you have to make another choice.  Do I continue on and pledge my loyalty and continue to be hurt or do I move on?  Moving on requires a little fortitude.  Moving on requires the knowledge and the action of not caring anymore.  That's hard sometimes, but not always. 


The world holds a few billion people, most of which you'll never meet or care about in a personal way.  Remember this, you are important to you.  What others think of you, the ones that don't count, means nothing at all—even less than the passing breeze that ruffles your hair. 


Being confident is about never letting them see you sweat.  And don't!


You, my darling, beautiful daughter, can walk anywhere on this earth and be proud of who you are, in looks on the outside and on the inside.  The inside is the important stuff.  Your outer shell is still in the making, and it's a gorgeous process to watch you simply become what you will eventually be. 


I've noticed just lately, you've caught sight of the real you, the just out of the corner of your eye—the real you.  It's not the full-on view you look at in the mirror in the morning and are critical of searching out every flaw and overlooking all beauty you already have. 


It's time for you to take possession of all of you, the good, the bad, and the simply wonderful part that is you.  You can get up every day and be proud of who and what you are.  Confidence is acknowledging and accepting yourself and being happy in who you are.  Never doubt yourself, always strive forward and give your best. 


The essence of Erin is a myriad of fortitude, beauty, intelligence, and the joy of love and caring about others.  Sometimes we care too much and for those who will not care back.  Be proud, work hard, and only accept the best in all things, that includes simple joys, a sunrise, and friendships too.


I love you very much and want you to leap over hurdles that held me back.  Turn on the light, push away the darkness, your path is already clear.  You can stride down that runway of life with no regrets, no worries, and little angst.  It's all about choices and it's up to you to choose.


Hold your head high, be happy in who you are.  You'll be amazed at how others will flock to you in your wake, for they are a needy bunch and haven't learned what you are on the precipice of discovering. 


I wish you all this and so much more.  It's all within your grasp, you simply have to reach out and take hold of it without fear.



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