In 2001 I was 15 and I wrote a letter to myself at 25 not to be opened until August of 2011. It was an assignment from Mr. Anderson’s theater class. He was the most influential teacher I ever had and I think of him often. Thanks for getting this letter thing started Mr. A!
It was mostly about the boys I liked and the music I liked (both lists are now embarrassing, Korn and Billy Henderson? Gag.). There were also some hopes for the future in there but for the most part it was clear I was very unsure of what my future should look like. My major life goals at that point were to be hot in college and move to the city. LIFE GOALS ACHIEVED! but wait… oh fuck, I still have to go on living? I guessed it was time to set some new goals. So when I was 25 I wrote a letter to myself at 30.
I will not reproduce the whole thing here as it is very long and nothing is spelled right (did you all know that I am dyslexic? Hand writing is still a struggle for me.) but I’ll outline the highlights.
The beginning is a very sad take on my relationship with a man who was unkind to me. At the time of writing it had been three years and we had just broken up (again). Unfortunately I know that the sad girl who wrote this letter took that man back and spent another deeply unhappy year trying to make herself small enough to fit into his life. I tried to make my emotional demands smaller so he could meet them, my personality smaller so he could be the one to shine, my opinions and talents smaller so his could be greater, and my body smaller so that I would deserve love. That additional year is all the more heartbreaking seeing that I wrote to myself:
“I hope this letter does not find you with him. I hope that you will have let go of whatever is keeping you unhappy and accepting less than you deserve.”
Even if it took me another year to cut him loose for good, I did get there. So, check.
Next I asked myself how I was doing on giving up certain vices which I will not name here because my parents read this (Hi mom!) and the details are not important. What is important is that I get another check mark!
I cringed at the next section when I read a declaration that I was 165 lbs and trying desperately to be 135 again. LOL If only I could be fat like I was back then! AmIright!? All kidding aside, I consider where I am to be another check even though what’s happened is the opposite of what I was hoping for when I wrote that… I was obsessed with my weight and I starved and I cried and it was never good enough. When I lose a few lbs now I am excited about it but I also never cry standing on the scale or deprive myself.
I will never be 135 again and that is a good thing. I wasn’t healthy back then. I couldn’t run a mile back then. What good is it to be thin if you can’t even do anything? I gained more weight and in 2013 I ran a half marathon and the way I viewed my body goals changed. My goal before was to disappear. My goal now is to be stronger and run longer.
I don’t need to be small for anyone.
Then I wrote about my cats, Luke and Annie, who you all know if you read this regularly. I had just adopted them and was pretty excited. I also mention having lost the big cat of my High School years, King James, who did not make it through the winter of 2010. Poor guy. He was a great one.
Finally I conclude with a hope:
“I hope you finished your degree. Currently you have dropped out. Go back if you have not. Also, currently you do not clean well, or often. I hope you do now and if not I hope you’ll try. Talk to you in 5 years.”
Thanks former self, I did finish, and I do keep a cleaner house although that struggle is ongoing.
So anyway. I guess I need to write 35 year old me a letter. I’m pretty happy to say that this one won’t be about some dickhead making me unhappy. I think when I’m 35 I’ll be able to read my year 30 letter without crying. But who knows. I’ve always been a big cry baby.