Written on July 7, 2012
Sent to July 7, 2002
Sent to July 7, 2002
Dear (almost) 16 year old me,
Hey you, it's me, You. I know this is a pretty weird letter to get, but if we're going to be honest it's a pretty weird letter to write. Happy early birthday btw (in the future that means by the way)... 16 is cool. You just graduated high school and now you're an overachieving big kid going to college! PLUS now you can hang out with both types of gendered friends and call it a group date! You should know that you develop a highly cynical sense of humor within the next decade and it's not a bad thing. Also, you still talk too much. That never changes.
If you were to be introduced to me today, you might recoil in disgust and/or, feel sorry for me. It's okay... I'll just find it funny and hug you anyways. You're pretty cute for a 16 year old. It's hard to believe, but you'll evolve into a heavily tattooed, purple haired, artistic, fat, spunky, sarcastic, and intelligent Behavioral Health Professional. A Behavioral Health Professional is someone who works on "whole life healing" with people and you also work with neurological deficiencies. That means brain diseases. It is a far cry from Dental Hygienist and Interior Designer and it sure as hell doesn't pay as much. Well, not yet anyways. You're going to find out that money is not as important as you thought and that contributing to the world is much more fulfilling. You are totally rolling your eyes right now. Stop it, I'm being serious. Also, hell is not a bad word. Stop trying to find creative ways to spell and say it. Just say it.
I'm going to just lay this really hard one out there: everything you have learned in your life so far is wrong. I'm sorry. The journey to discovering this is going to be brutally painful, long, and trying. I know you'll stick it out, just know that it really worth it. All of the fucked up shit that is going to happen will ultimately make you an electric and positive force in the world. I'm not going to go into the details about the whole religion thing... you won't be able to hear it, but know this: flexibility, introspection, self love, critical thinking and hope are the secrets in life. Did you write that down? It took us 25 years to figure that out, so don't forget it OKAY?
Oh, and another thing: you have a brain disease. All that shit they said was just "teenage hormones" was actually a hereditary sensitive predisposition to mental yuckiness. Combine that with an emotionally abusive father, oppressive religious construct and your internal rebellious nature and you've got yourself a bona fide brain disease. You will lose friends, jobs, relationships, and self esteem until you figure out that there is a biological imbalance. Go easy on yourself, it's not even remotely your fault. If anything it qualifies you to help other people better their life in your future. It's worth it. The fact is, it's not a weakness. The fact that I am alive, happy, healthy, kicking ass and taking names means that we are STRONG. We are SO strong that we beat the odds and found the motherfucking pot of gold. Btw, motherfucking isn't a bad word either. It's just a word.
Also, once you've watched Run Lola Run, just stop watching movies. No movie will ever blow your mind like that one so it's probably a good idea to quit while you're ahead.
I know exactly what topic you are just wishing I would get to already. Yes, you find a boyfriend. I know right? They never thought it would happen. You go through a lot of really awful relationship stuff (learn all you can while there) but you do end up with a soul mate. He loves you more than life itself and you guys move into a cute bungalow and have three cats (don't tell Mom) and talk about everything together because you're best friends. He's funny, handsome, and really smart. Its not perfect though. Life isn't perfect. You wont really internalize this for another 8 years, but once you do it will be liberating. Also, remember when Aunt Eileen told you to have sex with as many people as possible before settling down and you thought she was a heathen? Turns out she was right. Follow that advice.
Mom is the smartest and most amazing person in the universe. I'm fucking serious. She will save your life more than once and will also be your greatest friend. Love her with all your might. Life isn't long enough to tell her how lucky you are to have her. This is making me cry so just love her already.
Y'know that movie The Matrix? It's pretty dumb, and you'll never finish it but try and remember the point: reality is relative. You grew up in a culture that says that men are way awesome and women are just okay. This is bullshit. Read a lot of real history books (can you believe the books in school are more or less fabricated?!?! Can you believe that? I'm still working on understanding the implications...) and do a lot of soul searching. Your gut is right, and will always be right. Follow your inner voice, it's ALWAYS spot on. You are going to find a lot of really smart and amazing people when you're 20+. They get it, and you get them. We're really lucky in that regard.
You wonder about a lot about stuff. That's really good. Keep doing that, because that is what I really like about us and it is ultimately what gets us out of here alive. Just make sure to let go once in a while and enjoy the quiet. Quiet is nice too.
Harry Potter is not the devil, opposites DO attract (just make sure your core beliefs are similar), Martha Stewart goes to jail, enjoy Sesame Street while it's still awesome, don't throw away that journal...I'm still pissed about it, family is the most important thing, don't shave your arms, do shave your legs, you'll learn how to use makeup properly don't worry, 21 is NOT too old to get married (neither is 31), don't tolerate mean people, develop empathy- it's the greatest weapon, be proud about loving NSYNC already!, befriend Kevin even though he'll be having a hard time (it will change your life), love the little things, "immodesty" is a power control tool created by men, shame is not even slightly useful, remember giga pets?!?, liking cool music does not make you cool, become an opportunist, don't fake orgasms- it builds a precedence, Ashley is forever, build more bridges than you burn, and laugh at stupid people instead of hate them.
I tell you all of this, but none of it matters. I wouldn't change a thing about anything we've done so far... even the dumb stuff. What we did up until 16, and what you do until 26 ultimately created who I am/ we are today... and WE ARE AWESOME. We make the best out of bad situations, we stumble/fall/cry/laugh/get up and do it all over again. We are fucking RESILIENT. People may pick on you now, but people love you so very much when you reach my age. You change peoples lives, Self. You empower, educate, open up, clear the air, live, breathe, create... and it's only the beginning. You are perfect Jes with one s and you are so beautiful. If anything, I wish you knew this earlier. You are phenomenal and when people tell you that, believe them to the best of your ablity. Just try. I love you, and think that you're a trooper. You make me proud already and someday you'll grow up and be awesome just like me. Wanh wanh. Jk. But actually... not really.
Sappy mushy sloppy love,
Jes still with one s
P.S. JK means just kidding FYI. Ugh. Figure that one out on your own.
Thank you Sierra for the inspiration. I wasn't expecting to laugh, much less sob and I did a lot of both. It was truly cathartic. I hope everyone writes one of these... it's an experience in and of itself. If you write one and want to share, I would love to learn what your 16 year old self should know. Link me.