Friday, June 25, 2010

Letter to my 20 year old self

Dear 20 year old Leah,

I'm writing to you because you have a lot going on right now and could probably use the advice. I know, I know, too little too late. But better late than never, I guess, even if you can't use any of what I will tell you.

All of this stuff swirling around in your head right now, the stuff that keeps you thinking that this will never end well and that you will never know where to turn? The stuff that makes you feel scared and worthless and like you're just never gonna be ok? I promise you that soon enough, but not soon by any means, you will be stable. Your thoughts will make sense, you will think of yourself over them (those people that seem to be the only reason you breathe), and you will be able to say "yes, no, maybe, I don't know" as much as you feel inclined. Your feelings right now, though the lowest they will ever get (I promise, it won't ever be worse), the darkest days you will see in your life (at least til 30, I can guarantee), you need them. I know, call me fucking crazy (oh yeah, you won't stop swearing either), but they are there for a reason. Even though they make you feel like you can't/won't/shouldn't go on, you can/will/should. You will see the lessons in a little while, but for now, just push through. Please.

You are hot right now. You may not be this hot again, well, ever, so live it up. Wear what you want, prance around and be confident. You are not confident, and you think your butt is big now, but you are mistaken. Shake your tiny ass on a table-top and have fun.

The ones you think are your real friends really are. Also, the ones you think are your real friends really aren't. It is going to be hard to figure this all out, but just go with it. Don't hurt people, give them a chance, and be there for everyone you can. They may look back and thank you someday. Some of the people that you thought were gone for good will be some of your best friends for life, so be careful and treat each person as if they were fragile glass. Don't break anyone.

Ahhhh, but then we come to the part where you DO break some of them. You are going to do this, though I swear you didn't mean to. Always do what you think is right, what you feel in your heart, but know that this is not always going to bring a positive result, no matter what you do or how hard you try. You yourself will also be broken, but please know you can and will pick up the pieces and go on. No? You don't believe me? Just wait. Those you have hurt will come back, and you will make good with those you are supposed to. You will be surprised who is still in or back in your life in 10 years.

As you do now, remember your family is most important. You are very dependent on them, but you will eventually stand independent of them, instead of being lost among them. You need them, but you need them in a way you don't even realize yet. You will lose some of them, and this will crush you. Be there for the rest, as it will heal you in the process.
And when you think that it is over and that they will never love you again, wait it out. They will. We will be waiting a long time to see the outcome of such events, but we will never let go.

The things you think are lame will be your favorite things, and you will be a dork. Embrace it. You have so much insecurity and shame, but someday it will be lifted like a heavy wet blanket. It will feel amazing.

Try and be more confident in what you do and decisions you make. This is worthless to tell you because you won't do this, but in a few years you will realize you are an ADULT (augh!) and that there are so many more things that are important than what you think now. What you see as an end all is really just a tiny drop in the bucket. Forgetable.

Save your money, don't make me work two jobs forever! You will make good money soon and have the time of your fucking life. I look back and wish you didn't spend so much, but you know what, I can't blame you. Even now I tell the stories of the crazy fun times you had and smile with my friends about it. Good job.

Keep yourself safe. Mentally, emotionally (though these will be the hardest) and physically. We are still kicking now, so you did an ok job of that. Your metabolism rules, but try and be healthy. If not, I'll try to right the wrong you did.

You are going to think your life is going to go one way, that you are set, that your future is in stone. And then, BAM!, it is all going to fall to pieces. This will be tragic and devastating every time (yes, I said every), but you will pick up what you can salvage and keep going. You will find better every time, but you'll never know til you're there. It's ok, you will watch this go on all around you and you will feel less alone and lost. Everyone will end up better for it in the end. They just have to.

Don't burn bridges, learn patience (and practice it often) and always be open to new things. Treat others with compassion always, and let go of anger. This will be the only way you can go through this life with ease. I do all of these things still, and someday 40 year old us will write us and laugh at just how much we didn't know, even today.