As some of you guys may know, I am indeed a busy college student that pretty much got slapped around by finals (like always) and have neglected my little baby ‘Zoo’ for a while. The real difference–this instance–is that in my time away, it wasn’t really my usual resistance to actual labor; it was more of a ‘soul-searching-and-in–serious-need-of-inspiration experience’. I am aware that that sounds beyond cliché and in today’s terms, it meant that I had an acid trip and am now in rehab due to ‘exhaustion’.
And this is me not knocking anybody.
Recently, I have had a birthday. Happy belated to myself. I have made it two decades on this earth without strangling anybody or going to prison for any type of violence/attempted assassination and for that I’m proud. Once upon a time in high school, I imagined things to have turned out drastically different. Call it being self-centered if you want, but I don’t care. I’ve learned not to.
In fact, I’ve learned and experienced so much this past year and in all of my years. Normally, it would be a list or debate, but this time I was inspired to instead make a letter of sorts so that when I eventually get where I’m going, I can look back on everything I’ve done. Maybe, when I am able, I can take my time and sit down and pen a well-deserved memoir. See, I changed up an oncoming ‘aww’ moment by saying that a girl has to have her hustle; it’s not all about sob stories.
I wanted the very first post of my own, “all me” category to be something personal. Something I feel that can only be felt fractionally in my other posts. My roommate wanted different, something unique to me and it got me thinking, but then she did a self-expressionist poem in a way that only she can and it inspired me.
As well as a completely random Buzzfeed quiz.
I know that it wasn’t meant to be taken seriously, but it just gave me my spark back in a way.
I actually started writing this the day it was released that the final film in The Hobbit Trilogy wouldn’t be called ‘There and Back Again’ and that is what I decided to call this piece. This means that this post has been a long time in the making and for a while I wasn’t sure if I wanted to share it. So here goes:
***WARNING: INCOMING REALNESS***
Dear Older self,
Remember when you use to dislike your name because it was it wasn’t like all of the Emilys, Jennifers, or Katies? When you use to hate looking in the mirror because you were different than all of the other people in Catholic school? When you had an imaginary friend for far longer than you should have because the only other friends you had lived in fictional stories? Remember when you decided to sit alone on the school bus and laugh silently at your own jokes until the right person came along to laugh at them with you? When you realized that friends can be lost just as easily as they can be made? That sometimes when someone tells you that you are ‘best friends’, they can actually mean it? The moment you learned that sometimes not all friendships were meant to be and the ones that were will fight to maintain themselves? That it is alright to be yourself no matter who’s looking.
Ever since elementary school, I had struggled from something that has been with me for so long. I have had social phobia for over half of my life and even though it’s not like one of those over-the-top, demanding mainstream issues, it’s always kept me from being ‘out there’. It always made me overanalyze how I was being perceived by others and instilled a fear of rejection and failure in me that I am partly ashamed to say would linger for months. If I felt that someone else’s perception of me was marred, then in my mind that bridge was already burned. High school was pretty much a hell on earth for me that I was subjected to do daily. Everything was based on what other people may be thinking of me to the point that it dictating where I sat and my performance in the class. It affected the way I dressed (I got by on all black everything because colors just weren’t ‘me’) and the way I acted (I used humor as a type of defense that I honed over the years. If it made me uncomfortable, it would be immediately deflected by a joke or just being shut down entirely). The most damaging aspect of it all was how I began to view myself, like I wasn’t ever good enough.
I had suffered through this in silence until I realized that I didn’t have to. One of the best things, was telling someone about myself other than the non-personal basic things that someone would tell an acquaintance. The person I spoke to was in turn between a ‘wow’ and an ‘everything makes sense know’ expression. When I did talk about it to someone even just a little, it was like a huge weight of off me and for the first time in years I felt that I didn’t have to keep up the act anymore. Ironically, I realized that people liked me and my personality and how I felt and what I was going through didn’t do it any justice.
I cut my hair again, something I did once before and felt awkward about it because I lost something I could hide behind, and it was something I fell in love with because you could see ‘me’. Thick eyebrows, small lips, strange nose and all. I’m glad I don’t have the waif-like body that everybody else has or a name that makes multiple people turn their heads thinking you meant them. I’m happy that life has taught me people are ‘take ‘em or leave ‘em’ and that some are better left by the wayside and the best ones are resolute in staying and becoming partners in crime for life. I’m ecstatic to learn that I am able to depend on myself and yet lean on others if I need to.
And here are my promises:
I promise to never get to the point where I am complacent with life. I promise to question everything, even the obvious. I promise to travel the world and photograph all of the places I’ve been and map out all the places I have yet to see. I promise to never hold back, whether it’s my trademark honesty or talents that just have to be shared with others. I promise to never stop fighting for something regardless of if its worker rights, the environment, or any of my goals and dreams. I promise to be open to everything be it love, generosity and everything positive.
When I’m old, and hopefully still attractive, with rugrats of my own, this will be good. A moment in time were I decided. My turning point.
With all of the love I have to offer,
Younger, twenty-something me
This just about sums everything up