Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Dear Past Self, Everything Turns Out Alright

Sometimes I think about what it would be like to go back in time and do things over knowing what I know now. 

Photo Courtesy of Nicole Hendricks

Like so many movies when adults go back to their adolescences or teen years and relive all the events that shaped their lives, I take this proverbial “Peggy Sue Got Married” approach to looking back on my own life and wonder what if….

Last night I had a hard time falling asleep and my mind went to that dark place called memories of high school, and I began listing off all the things I did that I may or may not have done the same if who I am today were in the same position.  After several embarrassing and painful memories popped into my head, I finally fell asleep.

Then today I was driving in my minivan on my way to have my third of four varicose vein procedures, very much my current self as opposed to my sixteen-year old self, and the song “Black” by Pearl Jam came on.  I think it was the classic rock station, but that’s beside the point. There is one line of the song that I have always loved,

I know someday you'll have a beautiful life,
I know you'll be a star in somebody else's sky,
But why, why, why can't it be, can't it be mine?”

I remember listening to this song long ago and hoped and dreamed that I would be the star in someone’s sky.  I know, typical melancholy teenager, right?  Can you just see me in my room listening to my boom box hoping for whatever boy I had a crush on at that time was listening to the very same song thinking of me? Sad, but true.

I suddenly started thinking about the past again and rather than think of all the things I would change, I thought about what I would tell my past self that might be helpful.

When I was done, I had the most amazing moment of clarity realizing I am exactly where I'd hoped I'd be.  Based on the rut I've been in over the last several months, it was a welcome revelation of just  how wonderful life is and how much I have to be thankful for.

First and foremost, I would tell her not to eat the meat in the cafeteria.  Just sayin’.  In fact, I would tell my past self all sorts of things about what not to eat.  Imagine her dismay when I tell her about the fat free or gluten free movement!  I’d spare her from all those Snackwell’s that she thought were good for her because they were low fat. 

Then I’d tell her that despite the fact she’s pigeon holed as a theater person, she’s a fabulous runner and teach her some Pilates too.  Sounds stupid, but if you knew how much worrying I did about my body back then, you would understand why I’d love to teach her two things that I discovered later in life that changed my body and made me feel better about myself.  Hell, maybe I’d even end up with a scholarship.  However, that would also probably drastically alter the universe and how my life played out. Haven’t you seen “Back To Future?”

I’d tell her which boys to stay away from like the plague, which ones ended up being a waste of her time and energy and which one’s would break her heart.  I’d be careful not to discourage her too much, after all, some of those boys were worth kissing since we all need a little heartache to make us stronger.  I’d tell her boys are really all out for one thing and one thing only, so be careful.

I’d tell her to let things roll of her back and not be so sensitive, but warn her not to take anyone’s shit.  I’d tell her to be more confident in herself.

I would tell her to surround herself with people who make her feel good and do the same for the people she surrounds.

I’d tell her which friends will last the test of time, which one’s end up stabbing her in the back and which ones she will end up being friends with on Facebook that she barely even talks to now, hoping she will give them a chance because they are actually wonderful people.

I’d tell her to avoid stonewash jeans at all costs and not to go through that whole wearing boys’ clothes stage.

I would tell her that her future husband is actually walking the halls of high school right there with her and try to avoid running up to him to see if he has any dry cleaning that needs to be taken in or if he can stay home with the kid while I go out with my friends.  That would surely freak him out.

I would tell her to go home and hug her grandparents and thank them for letting her live with them.  I would tell her to have a cup of tea with her grandma and crack a joke with her grandpa. 

I would tell her to hug her mom and listen to her; she’s smarter than she thinks.  I would tell her she might be a pain in her ass about curfew and whom she hangs out with because she loves her and worries every single second she is away from the house. I would tell her to spend time with her mom instead of running off with her friends.  I would tell her to say “thank you” to her mom for constantly correcting her grammar instead of rolling her eyes.  All that information will be useful some day when she becomes a writer.

I would tell her to work just a little bit harder at school and pay attention in math class because, despite the fact that most of it doesn’t make any sense, she WILL use math some day.

I would tell her not to try so hard to make people like her.  I'd tell her just to be true to herself.

I would tell her to save her money and never to open that credit card in college. 

I would tell her that all those times her grandpa told her to mind her P’s and Q’s, he was talking about Pints and Quarts…like as in beer…which is actually really good advice as to not make a fool out of yourself when you’ve had too much to drink.

I would tell her that she really doesn’t know everything despite what she thinks.  She has a lot to learn.

I would tell her to have more fun and stop worrying so much; youth is fleeting.

I would tell her that despite the fact that she is lost and sad, everything will be okay. 

I would tell her that even though she feels empty, one day she will be whole.

I would tell her that even though she feels lonely, one day she will be needed and surrounded by love.

I would tell her not to be so angry, life is better than you think.

I would tell her not to worry about finding “the one,” because he’s closer than you think and some day he will complete you in every way.

I would tell her some day you won’t feel like “the poor kid.”

I would tell her all the things she hopes for; a family, a beautiful home, friendship and love, will all come to her.

I would tell her she’s beautiful and special and that all the things that she is experiencing will transform her from a girl into a strong, confident, capable woman.

I would tell her not to worry so much about the future and the unknown.  I would tell her to hang tight; everything is going to be all right.

1 comment:

  1. Amen! You have given your mother the compliments she deserves to hear before it's too late!! Good girl, Bish!