Friday, July 1, 2016

Letter to myself.

Dear Self,

Here you are, embarking on the cruise ship around the proverbial world that is your next year of life. Isn’t every year kind of like a world cruise? Boring and mundane for the most part, with bouts of seasickness and homesickness every so often, but also sparkling moments of magic, fun, new experiences, and time with family and friends. That being said, I know you feel a little nervous about another year because it reminds you that one day you have to, well, die, and along the way you’ll see a lot of loved ones pass, but remember that it’s normal to have those sorts of nervous jitters whenever you set off on a journey and look at all the stuff you’re leaving behind.

You’re so young. And yet you’ve seen some hardships that others your age haven’t so your story doesn’t align with theirs so you sometimes feel like you don’t measure up or your missing out. You have what people might call an old soul and you were raised to be cautious, unadventurous, reclusive, and even a bit cynical. So don’t be too hard on yourself about you and your family not fitting the norm. I bet most people actually feel even more self-conscious than you even if they do match such standards.

What advice can I give you when we’re both in the same place? I guess here’s one thing: you’ve never been very happy when you made falling in love your number one desire and priority. You’re trying to do it again now, but I think you know deep down that it is only making you miserable. I don’t know why you fall for people you barely know. I don’t know why you never get to know anyone. I know it makes the prospect of knowing anyone that intimately seem impossible, even scary. I know it makes you feel self-conscious and start putting pressure on yourself to “get out there” more. I know you’ve racked your brain for a way to make your path cross with The Latest Guy, convinced yet again that there could be no one better for you out there. He’s a good guy – scratch that, an amazing man – but you know deep down that things will work out if they’re damn well meant to work out.

You don’t know what to do after this year is over. You still can’t believe that you were supposed to graduate this year and didn’t. You would’ve been out on your own by now. It probably would have sucked and you’re glad that you are on a better path that it providing you with plenty of chances, but you still feel the blow of all the chances denied to you, both in the past and in the present. You still look at your life and see all of the empty, all of the ways you aren’t enough rather than the things you’ve overcome that others can’t even dream of experiencing.

You look at yourself in the mirror lately and think, “Sheesh, she’s funny-looking. No wonder nobody’s interested. He certainly wouldn’t be.” Your mind keeps going back to the models he says he dreams of dating. Well, girl, take a look in the mirror of you freaking soul because if he got to know you and said he didn’t want to be a ring on that, he is full of it, no matter how many good things he does. A person who just dates people for their beauty is a shallow person who is missing out on basically the majority of incredible people. I know you look at him and think he could get any girl he wants so he would never want you even if he knew about you, who can’t get anyone she wants. But that’s because you should only get the person who’s absolutely head and shoulders above the rest and who’s madly in love with you. Because that’s what a person like you deserves.

You read the social media posts, hear the stories, are constantly reminded of the expectations to go out more, make more friends, be more adventurous, spend more money, travel, etc. and you feel guilty and worry that you’re missing out. You’ve been worrying more lately about how your life looks to people, just like you’ve been worrying about how your body and face look to passersby. I won’t degrade you by saying it’s related to him, but I think you know that it kind of is. And you definitely know that it makes you miserable. Maybe you could get out a little more, but give yourself a break. You’re an introvert artist with three anxiety disorders. You don’t drink, you’re afraid of people, your family is too, and your friends rarely ever arrange to meet with you. I'm surprised you leave the house at all. But here you are, volunteering, taking classes, occasionally meeting friends, etc. It's more than you used to do, and as long as your life is happy and full, that's what matters.

It’s frustrating to look at other people finding so much success, especially the ones who are still so young. You don’t know what path to take and the roads you set your heart on always seem to get closed while this odd, seemingly useless path has opened up before you and just sits there, waiting while you dream impossible things. It’s aggravating, but you have faced enough rejection to know that sometimes God speaks through closed doors.

None of your work gains much notice and you don’t know how to market this stuff. You dream of being published but know it’s a game of connections. Of marketability, your least favorite word. Keep writing though. I don’t know if it will ever be noticed, but it’s part of your soul and comes to you like breathing and makes things feel better. Maybe you can write your way through all your problems. Nothing else seems to help quite as much, especially when no one else really gets it.

If you don’t want to have babies one day, then don’t. Don’t let some male chauvinist or societal mantra back you into a corner. If you have the love to give one day, that’s great. But if not, it’s better to be honest with oneself than to make a child pay for your succumbing to pressure or trying to conform. And there are so many people and ways to love. It’s confusing because it seems like you’re happier when you don’t love, but it seems like there must be a reason that your faith in romance was reawakened out of nowhere by this most recent crush. Part of me wishes it had never happened so that you could continue on, angst-free and protected from settling or heartbreak. The other part of me is glad it happened because maybe you do need to love, deeply and dearly.

So I guess I’m saying that you should be you. Stop feeling pressured by the messages, positive or negative, and the lives of the beautiful people, good or bad. If you don’t have the strength to reach out to everyone, that’s fine. If you don’t have it in your soul to love God like you used to, just keep doing what little you can. If you don’t have the money to go to freaking Orlando, don’t. If you don’t share your heart with other people because the scars from having it rejected still sting too much, that’s okay. Life’s all a process. I think you’ve seen that by now. So if you don’t have it figured out, that’s probably a good thing.

If you put pressure on yourself to do anything more, it should be to remember all the ways you’ve been so strong and overcome.

Love,
Your Favorite Person


P.S. Don’t be self-conscious about the stuff you write either. I know a bunch of thoughts of things you’ve written lately that you’re worried people didn’t like just popped into your head. If it’s the dark stuff you’re worried about, people need to see it brought to light. If it’s the light stuff you’re worried about, people not writing back or having a sense of humor means they’re lame. Keep giving and stop apologizing so much. I don’t know why people pick and choose which friends they like and you’re never it. Maybe because they have bad taste. Just look at this season of the Bachelorette though; there’s no accounting for bad taste and it isn’t a reflection on the quality of what wasn’t chosen. 

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