I was a difficult person. I was a difficult person to be and so I imagine that I was also a difficult person to deal with. I was so trapped by my own false, illogical beliefs about who I was and the world that I stunted myself. I was so hungry for other people’s affirmation that I was lovable and worthy that I let that little monster of uncertainty destroy many wonderful things that I had in my life. I had issues (but who hasn’t). But I’ve also seen some truly dark times: you name it, I’ve thought about it, tried it, done it or wished for it. I have been to most places some of you beautiful readers are at right now, and I know, because you tell me. I get it. And I just want to say that if there’s anything I hope my life amounts to, it’s that I can relay some kind of knowledge, if not only for my own catharsis of sorts, but for you.
Please know that while I completely realize that it was only going through certain experiences I was able to arrive at these conclusions, and thus, the “hard way” of learning worked best, I also believe that simply passing on some of what I learned when I arrived at the other end of that dark tunnel may spare you, in some little way, somehow– at least, that’s what I hope.
And I hope you don’t have to go through a hundred terrible days before you’re able to realize that a bad day does not mean a bad life. We tend to spiral. We tend to get stuck. But the ebb and flow is what keeps things moving, interesting and worthwhile. It’s important. But what’s more important than understanding that is being able to cope with it. To know that most little things can be solved with a nap, a drink or a long talk with someone who wants to listen and that most big things have to be solved with an inner reconciliation.
You shouldn’t have to go through a dozen heartbreaks to realize that the thing about waiting for love to save you is that, simply, it won’t. Though I do think that may be hard to see until you’ve really put all your emotional eggs in one basket and watched that fall through and leave you with nothing. But nevertheless, I hope you know that not all great love has to be forever love, and that just because one person doesn’t care, or a whole bunch of people don’t care, does not mean that someone else will, or already does. Your past does not dictate your future, trust me on that one.
You shouldn’t have to go through life not knowing that you will continually come face to face with whatever truth silently resides within, and that it will build and strengthen into an intimidating and aggressively scary beast of a thing if you keep ignoring it. You can acknowledge the truth now or you can acknowledge it later, but either way, it will bring you to your knees eventually. The longer you wait and the further you bury it, the worse it will be.
You shouldn’t be faced with an extraordinary difficulty without knowing that most great things require you to first be gutted. That will be your opening, your beginning, your reckoning and the start of a beautifully mysterious and unknown journey that will deliver you places out of your comprehension right now. And that’s important too. Not knowing is often what makes you act.
You shouldn’t have to wait until all the big things in your life are gone before you realize that the small things will save you. That what you will find the most joy in, and the most earnest salvation, are mornings in bed with someone you love, with nothing else to do but stare at them and wonder how you got so god damn lucky.
You shouldn’t have to spend your entire life trying to win over people’s approval to realize that their approval is nothing more than a nearly fictional idea of how we can paint ourselves in our minds. Nobody can validate you as an entire person. They can validate a part of you, but that part can change, as can their opinion. And of course, beyond that, there’s nothing that will make you more whole than realizing that you just are, because you’re here. Realizing that is where the real magic starts to happen.
And you should realize that sometimes you do have to learn things the hard way. But that you should just take the lesson from the suffering and move the hell on. That holding on just a little bit longer won’t change anything. Not someone’s opinion, not what you said, not the person you lost and not the inevitable decision you made. You can rattle through these things in your mind for the rest of your life and it won’t do a damn thing to change any of them.
I hope you don’t have to be the sad girl (or guy) I was, but I hope that if you are, you know that beautiful things usually follow if only you can muster up that little bit of faith to keep going. So I hope you move on, and I hope you choose love, and I hope you come out on the other side with a fantastic story of misguided youth. I think all the best people have one.