So here’s the thing: if I know you (and it’s me so I think I’m pretty much the resident expert), you’re probably rolling your eyes right now.
I can’t really blame you.
I had the idea to write this a few years ago but ended up stopping halfway through.
I thought: Really? Am I actually about to write a fake letter to myself?
Won’t this seem like I’m fishing for compliments? And that by writing this, aren’t I opening myself up to criticism, superficial empathy, and just a general sense of damn — this is kinda personal, no?
But here’s the thing.
At some point you’re going to be driving in the car with your mom and she’s going to turn to you with tears in her eyes as she tells you she’s sorry.
For the father you have.
For the childhood you had.
For the mistakes she made.
And in that moment you’re going to realize that maybe it doesn’t matter what other people think about this and why you’re doing it. Maybe what matters is getting it out.
Because what you don’t want is to be sitting there, 20 years from now, wondering why you’re still not happy and realizing that it’s because you never gave yourself a chance to be okay with your mistakes and to forgive yourself for the things you couldn’t have changed, even if you wanted to.
That’s not going to be us.
So here are some things that I think you should know, in no particular order:
- No one is thinking the things you think they are about you. They’re not. So drop it.
- It takes a long time to love yourself, truly and realistically. Stop making it so god damn difficult.
- You are smart. No more, no less. Own that.
- Shut up for once and listen.
- Your mom is pretty much right about everything. Don’t worry, we don’t admit it to her in the future, either.
- Try, for fuck’s sake. Try and fail. But at least try.
- Speaking of failure, you’re definitely going to do that a lot. But it’s also not as bad as everyone says it is. In fact, you end up learning way more from your failures than your successes.
- Stop comparing yourself to others. They’re not you. You’re not them. Be okay with it and move on (also see first bullet).
- Don’t let anyone tell you you’re not worthy of their love because that is some straight up bullshit.
And lastly, there’s this:
There’s no magic bullet for pain. There’s no quick fix for sadness. There’s not some secret spell for making it all go away.
You are going to lose people in your life that you love. Sometimes it’s because of sickness and sometimes it’s because of a choice. It’s going to hurt either way.
You are going to feel like somehow you did something wrong. That if maybe you had done this differently or not said that or just not been in this place at this time then everything would be different and you’d have the father you want and the family you want and the life you want.
But the thing is, you don’t really have a say in all that. I know you think you could, but you can’t and you won’t.
It’s not because you’re not good enough to love.
It’s because sometimes people in our lives disappoint us. Sometimes those people are acquaintances, sometimes they’re old friends, and sometimes they’re people that brought you into the world.
You made the right choice. No matter what else happens to you now or to us in the future, I can promise you that.
I hope that you hear this. I hope you get why I did it, why I’m doing it now. I hope you know that you’re special. That I’m so very proud of you. And that we’re not done fighting—not yet. Not by a long shot.