Letter to My Younger Self

everything seems easier when looking back.

Dear Hot Mess,

You don’t have the heart of an angel, stop acting like you do. It will only bring you pain. Nor do you have intentions anything less than angelic in nature. Stop being bothered by those that take advantage. Start standing up for yourself instead. Pick people to surround you who bring you just as much joy as they do sorrow, trust exists in the silver lining of both.

You are not made of only your saddest moments or greatest mistakes, you are both and neither. You are in a constant state of redefining who you are and what you want. And that’s okay. You don’t need to be anything other than content with yourself.

Try not to be so hard on yourself. Nobody expects perfection and, more than that, nobody likes it much either. Be less critical of the things that don’t matter. And, better yet, realize that not that much matters enough to keep you up at night. You’ll spend nights, so many nights, unable to sleep while you replay imaginary vignettes of all the things that could possibly go wrong in your head. Those things do go wrong sometimes and you’ll be just fine.

When your best friend’s mom and your roommate commits suicide, do not own all of the grief. Do not cry louder than your best friend, he deserves to control the volume. This might be the first lesson in loss for you, but do better. And when you call your mom for help with the pain, don’t count on her to give you any. She hasn’t dealt with any of her shit yet, so she definitely can’t take on yours. This is when I wish you would’ve found therapy.

Anxiety is not the last thing you will feel. That loud and growing and constant pit in your stomach, yeah that one, it will go away. There is more to life than what other people think of you. Other people will tell you this and you won’t listen or you don’t believe them. But I am telling you now, a day will come when you really don’t give a shit about what other people think. And that day, and that feeling, well, they are fucking beautiful. You care too much right now and that’s okay, too, it gives you that big and beautiful and brave heart that you use to take on the whole fucking world with a single hug. Not everybody will hug you back and, one day, you’ll be more grateful for those that don’t. Only others can show you their true colors and when they do, believe them.

You’ll never get over your stage fright. No matter how often you perform. No matter how many people you perform in front of. Your biggest fear is forgetting your words and I’m telling you right now, this does happen. Once. One time in the 100+ times a stage finds you, it happens once. And you play it off so well that the audience becomes more endeared to the work you’re expressing. To the cause you’re advocating for. Stop being so scared of the stage. Stop being so scared of yourself. Stop being so damn scared of success. Failure only exists in the minutes you spend thinking about being it. Be yourself. There is nothing more authentic than the person you are right now. On this day and in this minute. Be awkward. Be forgetful. Be kind and loving and accepting. These are the things that make you amazing. Fuck the rest of it.

Now, let’s talk about love. Don’t trust all the butterflies in your stomach when it comes to romance. You truly do have the worst taste in humans. When you’re 27, you’ll fall in love with a married priest who’s twice your age and he will love you, too. Do not kiss him back. No matter what. His 5-bedroom suburban home couch might be comfortable, but his intentions are not. And this pain will haunt you for years and will end up being your sole definition of what it means to love a man. And when you meet your ex-wife for the first time, you’ll know it the minute she drops her keys in a Bay Area community college parking lot while trying to be cool, talking to you about “The Walking Dead.” Run in the other direction. As fast as your bad knee and smoker’s lungs can take you. Trust me and just run. She will take everything you have, from your pride to your money, and she will not think twice about it. This is the only person in your life you are better off never knowing. But you’re not going to listen to me, so the night she tells you she wants a divorce, remember to grab your dog before you leave, that pup will be gone soon and you miss her more than anything.

And when you say “yes” to being a foster parent, remember to discard a bit of your heart that day. Try to thicken your skin enough that never seeing your kids again won’t hurt so much. This isn’t possible, but please try. For the both of us. You’ll have twin girls for 21 months. They’re infants when they come to you and you’ll be scared shitless. But you’ll teach them how to walk. They’ll say their first words in front of you. You’ll feed them their first real food. They’ll have blowout diapers and blow up tantrums and you will love them, fiercely, through everything. And they’ll call you “dada,” because you don’t have a gender and your partner does. And their lawyer will promise adoption. And the judge will promise adoption. And the social workers will promise adoption. And when these kiddos leave for the last time, adopt a new you. Take in whatever joy you can muster, which isn’t much for a while, but will be again one day. You will never stop missing them. You will never get over this loss or this pain. But you will get through it. And it grows you up in ways that most people will never know. Use this to help others. Use this to understand perspective. Use this to understand yourself and your strength. Use this to understand the true nature of unconditional love.

And, in the end, remember that every single moment of your life is a volunteer experience. Every person close to you is elected. Every job is only time spent learning. You never have to be part of something that doesn’t feed you more joy than not. Don’t take people’s shit. And, that said, definitely don’t take their money. You’ll end up feeling is if you owe them something. Which ends up feeling as if you owe the whole world everything. You are far more worthy of respect than you believe right now. You are a hot mess. And that’s okay. You’ll get there. One day.

 

Hugs,

Me

 

P.S. Delete all of your social media accounts. You’re welcome.

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