Sunday, February 15, 2015

A Letter to my (Delusional) 18-Year-Old Self

Dear me,

Look at you. Little Miss Adult. Eighteen years old and ready to take on this oyster of a world you've heard so much about. You can officially buy a lottery ticket now. Your graduation party is fast approaching. You've started on a college major, one you chose solely because calculus wasn't a pre-req.

You're adorable ... and delusional. You are completely defined by external labels and petrified of other people's opinions of you.

First, let's talk about the biggest thing in your life. For other (normal) people your age, it might be academics or sports or a circle of friends. For you, it's church. You define yourself by the "church kid" label just like others do with "nerd" or "jock". And in typical clique-ish manner, you are crazy critical of others who aren't exactly like you.

You cannot comprehend that a whole world of differences exists outside your tiny little universe ... which basically means you're a judgmental bitch.

Don't worry, you'll get over it. Mostly.

Next up, let's discuss your horrific self esteem. If there was only one thing I could say to you, it would be to love yourself. STOP focusing on how everyone else perceives you; it doesn't matter. Peel off your self-made labels. See the beauty in your imperfection. 

And for God's sake, stop weighing yourself three times a day and BACK AWAY FROM THE MIRROR. You're wasting so much time giving a damn for no good reason.

You are beautiful because of who you are inside.

Of course, right now you have no idea who you are inside, so you're not going to understand this. 

You will, though.

(Also, while we're here, no more blue eye shadow. Ever.)

Just no.

Finally, let's look at your life choices. You're taking a road less traveled (these days anyway) and getting married in a few months ... soooo young. You're terrified to tell people you're engaged because of the judgmental opinions they feel they must bestow upon you. But remember how you need to stop giving a fuck about what everyone else thinks? Yeah. Do it now.

You have found the thing people wait their whole lives for. You're in love. 

Does that mean it's going to be perfect or easy or exactly as you imagined it would be? No.

You think that, though, don't you? Your sunshine and roses imagination has no idea what's coming.

Marriage is going to be so much harder than you ever thought possible. It's going to test you, try you, break you and make you again. You'll soon learn just how amazing a force love is, how its elasticity will keep you bound together as your fairy tale dreams are smashed to pieces. 

It will be worth it.

And then you'll start having babies and you'll realize that all your perceived flaws are nothing compared to the intense inadequacy you feel trying to care for another human being. You will realize that showering twice a week is actually a pretty solid life goal. You won't have time to freak out about the stupid things you're freaking out about now because you'll be freaking out about a whole bunch of new and different stuff ( ... OMG OMG CALL POISON CONTROL THIS BUBBLE SOLUTION COULD BE TOXIC!!)

Just as with marriage, parenting will knock you on flat on your ass. You will deal with things more disgusting than you can possibly imagine. You will want to call it quits sometimes. You will bear the guilt of doing it all wrong every single day. And you will find joy in the madness.

Many of the challenges you'll face in the next six years you will barely survive. Everything will seem to happen at once and you'll be left bleeding from a head-on collision with rock bottom. You never think you'll be there now, but just wait. 

You will find out what its like to look at your amazing, spectacular, breathtaking life and not want to keep living it.

And then you will find reasons to breathe anyway.

Every misstep, every mistake, every accident and “oh, shouldn't have done that” moment will help you figure out who you are. You will realize that your journey is your journey and no one else can tell you what is right or wrong. You will learn to listen to your heart and follow it ... at least 50 percent of the time.

You will be like a phoenix rising from the ashes ...

... and you will probably think it is like, SOOO LAME that I went with a phoenix metaphor because WHERE IS THE CREATIVITY IN THAT, HUH? Cut yourself some slack. The older you is t.i.r.e.d.

Good luck with life, delusional little trooper.

You got this.

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