An Open Letter To My Past Self

Dear past self,

One day you’re going to look in the mirror and you are not going to recognise yourself. You appear more angular and a little harsher around the edges. You will smile at your reflection and your face will soften. You are still the same person on the inside.

I am going to have to break some bad news to you.

Your heart is going to ache. Sometimes it will feel like somebody has punched you in the stomach. Other times it will not feel like anything at all. You are going to spend a lot of time wondering which feeling is worse. I hope we figure this out together one day.

Demi-men who have not grown into their personality yet will use you as a crutch and the pressure will feel like all of the mountain ranges on earth are resting on your shoulders. You will stay too long. People who you thought were good for you will not stay long enough. Friends will disappoint you. You will read too much and wonder why you incessantly talk too much and laugh too loud, deciding this is why people do not stay.

You will learn to leave prematurely. You will leave people, places and states of minds. Every time you leave you will grow more and more nostalgic. Your heart is going to sink in the middle of a Tuesday afternoon when you remember the way your second year of college felt, six years after you dropped out. Your heart will feel heavy when you remember the smell of your first boyfriends skin, the sound of your old friend’s laughter, the way your brothers sounded before they had learnt to speak. You will find that the hardest thing about growing older is as your age increases as does your capacity for nostalgia.

Nothing, and nobody, is going to cause you more heart ache than you will cause yourself. You are going to censor yourself, you are going to try to shrink yourself smaller, you will envy chameleons for the way they so effortlessly blend into their environment. You will want to disappear. You will want to be a dandelion dispersing under a child’s hot breath. Red lights and stop signs don’t seem very important to you right now, I know you sometimes don’t look left before you cross the road. You won’t jump. One day you won’t want to be pushed, either.

I want you to know this feeling is not perpetual.

You will strive for balance and you are going to fight even when you are tired. You have always had fight. Perhaps you feel that somewhere along the way the glimmer dulled, but strength is an integral part of your being and that isn’t as transient as you would think. You are going to be fist in throat on a bathroom floor and there will still be a glow of hope somewhere amongst the sadness and desperation of it all.

You will not give up on yourself completely.

You will learn the art of embracing authenticity. You will learn to trust in yourself. You were always trusting of others, but never trusting of yourself. This is going to change. You are going to learn to believe in your strength. One day, alone won’t be synonymous with lonely. The universe will respond to your bravery with beautiful people. You will not take them for granted. You will not expect attachment. You will practise appreciation instead of expectation.

Your heart is not going to feel as heavy anymore.

I know you feel a little lost a lot of the time, I know there are a lot of things about yourself and about your life, that you do not understand right now but you are going to grow and thrive. I am writing this letter with a mind softened by the grief, a soul strengthened by the fights, a heart that is wise from the fallouts. Do not give up. I am writing this letter from a place of power, happiness and contentment. Be safe in the knowledge that you are growing towards this.

The view is beautiful.

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