We (I can only speak for myself) get caught up in our everyday lives that we forget about the healthy ease reflecting on our past can have on us. Speaking to a friend over coffee earlier today we were talking about everyone’s past present and future – we’ve all got em’ we all want em’ and most of the time we don’t want to share them – we came to the mutual conclusion that when you first meet someone it is both a blessing and curse that you know them as of now, you don’t know their past, and you may have the rare opportunity to walk forward towards their future beside them – I believe each step in that direction earns you tokens to take the ride on the story of someone’s past, it is a large portion of that persons being and makes them and shapes them into who they are.
Reflecting more on the idea I thought to myself
“self, are you completely honest in your head about your own past, present, and future?”
The answer is generally no – I look at where I’ve been, what I’ve come to and where I want to be – all the while noticing the breaks in paths, the redrawn lines on the map of Meg, and the hands of time that don’t stand still while I sprinted to get where I ‘thought’ I should be, thank God I took off the watch. I look back as a teen and try to jump in that mindset, it is a severely clouded perspective with a narrow perception of the world and I thought
“what would I say to myself at 17 if I could tell me something from the perspective of now”
from that questions flows an answer into the following letter to myself circa 2006.
Dear 17 year old self:
It’s Meg – I think you’ve gathered that by now, I just wanted to let you in on a few things that might equip you for not only now but later. That best friend of yours that’s been on your crazy roller coaster called life – it’s all going to work out in the end and you really will be best friends forever. That atrocious hair color you’re currently sporting? Get rid of it, blonde isn’t for you – and it’s not for your budget either…go back to your nappy roots – you’ll be happier. I know you won’t believe this but, not everything is the end of the world – and it’s ok to let go sometimes and not want to have complete control over everything. Whatever you do, don’t drop out of high school because if you do (or did) I’d whoop your ass, I’ll let you in on a secret – you drop out of college, but not for lack of effort – rather lack of aspiration.
17 year old Meg, it’s ok to find your dreams and it’s ok to look within to see them – once you’ve got them, hold steadfast as you lace up your running shoes because you’ll be following them as you see fit and to the success you want to gauge for yourself. The best friends you have now – will not always be there, especially in hard times – you’re going to learn your strength and your worth from these moments in the future and realize that no you really can’t be friends with everyone all the time – it’s exhausting and unrealistic – but the people you end up clinging to and sharing your life with will be making it worth it because its about quality in these hard times rather then quantity. Quit buying designer things – you’re making mom broke, and you’re being a selfish brat about it – those BKE’s still don’t give you an ass or make me think your any cooler now – let em go. Stand out – because you were NOT born to fit in, you’ve tried – you failed, you attempted again – it shows, be you because it’s a pretty kick ass person to be.
People will be telling you that college is the “best four years of your life” I don’t know where the hell they went – but they suck…because guess what? The public education system didn’t do squat for teaching you how to study on your own when there’s parties and freedom and Friday nights involved – it’s called self control…you don’t have any – sorry kid. All the busy work you’re doing now….they don’t give that in college…all the scan trons you hate now?… get used to em’, and all the hallways you walk down saying hi to people you only half heartedly know – don’t get too comfortable in them; college will rip you straight out of your comfort zone leaving you to find who you are all over again if you’d have taken the time to do it in high school. Another small secret to you my dear child…you won’t figure you out until you are staring adversity and ruin in the face – when you are completely left with nothing, you realize where to find your everything: don’t get discouraged, it takes some people a lot longer than you to get there – don’t feel failure when you’re just recognizing success. Moments of high school that you will “always remember” really aren’t that memorable after 4 years time – same with how cool you thought you were, how nice you tried to be, or how mean spirited you acted – you get a second chance to change – don’t pass it up, you’ll need it.
Congrats on not having a kid – keep it that way, you are going to find that company doesn’t mean security and love doesn’t mean leaning – your shoulders will get tired from carrying someone else’s burden and your mind will get (pardon my french) fucked from all the emotional complications that are completely unnecessarily placed throughout life and love. Who you are now is not who you are destined to be – take the good parts with and toss the shitty ones to the wayside – you won’t see it for a few years time but when the bad outweigh the good you’re going to hate yourself for a little bit – stick with it and know that you too can change and adapt, adjusting and learning to be the person you’ve always wanted. I won’t tell you it’s going to be easy – because it’s going to suck and you’re going to struggle but through this you will be finding out how strong you are and the worth you have – don’t forget it, and don’t let anyone think they can take it. This ones going to break your 17 year old heart, but the person you’re with now….it’s not forever sweets, and it’s all going to be ok – things don’t end too horribly, no one sets fire to anyone’s things, keys any cars, or slanders the shit out of reputations – it just hurts for a little while finding the truth in the lies, it’s a struggle to put one foot in front of the other but you’ll find your pace and with time you look within to realize you were living someone else’s life for quite some time – once that realization sets in – all bets are off because you’ll start to find yourself and blaze your own trail.
You already know but I’ll tell you now – apologize to mom, the fights aren’t worth it and the guilt will eat you up for quite sometime, like I said everything is not the end of the world and she’s not as bad as you think. Quit trying to be too cool for your family – because you’ll find soon enough there’s dysfunction in everyone’s not just yours (cats outta the bag) and in due time – you’ll realize how important they are to have them close and to love. You are not the center of the universe or the apple of mom & dad’s eye – you’ve fucked some shit up and the bad news is, you’ll do it even more come 20 – but the good news? They love you through the whole thing, so don’t forget to thank them and tell them what they mean to you.
This won’t be the most important memory or day of your life – and there will come a time where you will look back, and actually have the chance to say to one of your old coaches, that knowing what you know now – you probably would never do this activity again in high school if you had the chance to go back…and guess what – she agrees. It may seem like a waste because you have to stand around acting like your thrilled with second when all you want to do is kick eastviews first in the face – but you’ve learned more from being on this team than you’ll realize – you learn perseverance, strength, courage, and leadership – some of your best friends will remain even after this has passed – hold onto those ones, they are quite spectacular come age 23. Although your hair is unruly – let it be, the waves will stay that way forever and frying them with a straightener wont be helping anytime soon, you’ll figure it out around 22 but it won’t be so bad after that. Remind yourself everyday that what you are waiting for really is worth the wait – because on my end, you’ll be waiting quite some time and when it finally does come along you will be ecstatic to see it for what it is and appreciate the beauty of it the way it deserves to be. I should tell you to start writing now because at 23 everyone’s going to tell you how great it is – it could be better if you’d have picked up a pen a lot sooner…we’ll get there though. Pay attention in English because you will end up writing a book – a children’s book actually – more than one to be exact, but it’s going to be a lot easier to edit if you’d have paid attention in class…
More than anything I’d like to tell my 17 year old self is to not be afraid of absolute ruin – because you’re going to experience it, don’t fear the unknown and relish in the opportunities you create for yourself – you are going to learn quickly nobody’s waiting to hand you anything, you have to work for it, and you have to work hard. Don’t fear being you – it’s kind of a fun person to be when you’re not obsessing about being like everyone else – change your negative thoughts now and change your life, you have the ability and no amount of therapy is going to help you find that…you are. So go now knowing that it’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything – you’re going to lose it all, but don’t let that scare you – because it’s going to allow you to create the you, you’ve always wanted to be.
“people do it everyday, they talk to themselves… they see themselves as they’d like to be, they don’t have the courage you have, to just run with it”
Until then 17 year old Meg – fuck shit up the way you were meant to – with a smile and a mean dance move – Cheers.