If I could go back in time and tell my younger self some real shit to help her out I would say the following:
Why would I do that?
First of all- haven’t you watched The Terminator? Shit seriously goes awry when the future gets all Mcfucked with the past.
Now, of course, writing a letter to your past self can be healing if the intent for said letter is, say, forgiveness or permission to lay some shit to rest already because the past was the past. But to write a letter to yourself, as some kind of a warning, as some kind of a guide to your future self? What is the point of that?
I don’t want my past self to know that everything is going to be okay. I want her to fuck up royally. I want her to know what it feels like to live through terrible, heart-wrenching moments that she really, truly believed were going to last forever. How the fuck else would she ever learn that those moments never, ever actually last forever? How else would she learn that she can always do better?
The truth is that life really, really sucks sometimes and I think our culture has become a bit obsessed with “positivity”. Now, don’t get me wrong here. I’m not saying we should just downward spiral into our negative or self-destructive behaviors. I think shit like “the power of positive thinking” is super cool and also true. Try meditating. It’s great. Try turning your negative thought patterns into positive ones. Tell people, “Thank you for listening,” instead of, “I’m sorry for bothering you.” Repeat affirmations to yourself until you believe them. Tell yourself you’re funny and hot and smart and just an all around fuckin’ hoot to hang out with. That shit works.
But it’s also important to remember that life is hard, because if you run around like some fairy princess moron pretending like everything is okay all the time, I think somewhere along the way your heart and soul and mind will forget how to respond to disappointment. And then you get petulant whenever some shit doesn’t go as planned. And here’s a fucking spoiler alert you guys: PRETTY MUCH NOTHING EVER GOES AS PLANNED. Learning to bounce back from disappointing shit is exercise for your brain. It teaches you resiliency. In the same way that physical exercise makes your heart stronger and more efficient, learning to trudge through painful life experiences, learning to sit with your pain or sadness or existential disillusionment of your tiny little meaningless life, forces you to be stronger the next time around, reminds you of what you are capable of and gives you the wisdom of experience.
When shit really sucks, and you live through it, like, really, really force yourself to trudge through all the terrible parts of whatever you’re experiencing, it gives you something metaphorically tangible you can metaphorically hold in your metaphorical hands that you can show yourself the next time life sucks. You can hold it up and say, “Hey, look what we did. Look what we survived. This too shall pass, man. We can do better on the other side.” And in the end you’ll have a beautiful collection of hardships you survived that become like a spank bank for your psychological resiliency.
Yeah, I said that.
So, go forth and do the hard things. (That’s what she said.)
Sit with the terrible things.
Give them names.
Say real things to the people you love that feel like needles on the way out and often end up being vessels for the best kind of medicine.
Be scared of things and admit it. Then do them anyway.
Cry in the checkout line.
Pray to every kind of god you believe in or else create your own.
The only thing you shouldn’t do is wish you could go back and do it all in a different way.
You’re here now.
Act like it.
and especially right now,
Saint Margaret Dizzle