Dear 17 Year Old Self: Take Care of Yourself

Dear 17 Year Old Self,

Please take care of yourself. And please give yourself a break. You work too hard, and you put the weight of the world on your shoulders. Life is starting to suck a little less for you, but you’re still not convinced that everything will be okay. Home will get better, I promise. I know you don’t want to believe me, and really why should you? The past couple of years have been horrific, and nothing gold can stay, right? Whenever something good has happened to you, it’s like you get smacked down twice as hard.

This probably isn’t comforting, but life sucks sometimes. Then it doesn’t suck as much, and if you’re lucky good things stick around for more than a fleeting moment. These moments should be savored, not diluted by the challenges, struggles, and disappointments. There are going to be plenty of those over the next 10 years, but remember that no one is out to get you. Everyone goes through rough and smooth patches alike – it’s all about your attitude.

Having a positive attitude isn’t for everyone else, it’s for you. You don’t want to experience years of self-degrading and negative thoughts. It literally changes your brain. I’ve spent the last two and a half years trying to undo years of damage. While I’ve made amazing progress I still have far to go.

Speaking of recovery, go to therapy and get on some medication. Now. I know how adamantly resistant you are to this idea. You think you don’t need you any help and that your issues aren’t as bad as other people. You don’t want anyone to have to worry about you and be a burden to your family.

You aren’t broken. I know it feels like you are. That you’re brain and your emotions are completely unpredictable. You think that keeping it all inside your head will make it less real, and that you have control over everything.

I’m going to save you years of trouble, so hopefully you can avoid some of my mistakes. You have severe anxiety and you’re depressed. The sooner you admit that to yourself and to other people you can start on the road to recovery, and you can take care of yourself.

It’s not weakness if you fight the battle with armor fully equipped. It’s brave and it’s strong. Sometimes it’s easy, other times… not so much. But you have to keep fighting.

It doesn’t go all away at once, but I promise you will be start to see the forest through the trees.

You’re worth it.

Dear 17 Year-Old Self – You’re Hella Gay

17 prom

Dear 17 year old self,

It’s been 10 years, and I’m feeling a tad retrospective. I definitely don’t miss that period in my life, but I figured you could use some advice and insight. I want to write you a couple of letters to make things a tad easier for you in these next 10 years. I’m going to start off with one of the most important parts of your life. Honestly if I had known this at 17, life through college (we’ll get to college) would be a whole lot less complicated and dramatic.

You’re gay. Like, super super gay.  You are sexually attracted to women. You know those dreams you had a couple years ago about one of your good friends from grade school? Yep that means you’re gay. You almost figured it out then, but there was a lot of other stuff going on at the time. Trust me, I totally understand.

It’s not like you need to come out in high school. Actually, I would recommend not doing that. Coming out to yourself is way more important that coming out to anyone else. High school is not a safe place for you to be out, so don’t worry about it right now. Just be really gay in college. And don’t end up kissing the boys you took to prom. I felt nothing after kissing them, and really it didn’t make you happy, just more drama. And if you decide to tell the boy you went to senior prom that you’re a lesbian, please expect major ‘religious’ backlash. He is a terrible person, really. You know how everyone around you thinks he’s a douchbag? It’s because he’s a douchbag. So just find a cute girl in your freshman year to make out with. And don’t drunkenly sloppily make out with boys, it’s not that great.

Do come out to Mom and Dad, in your own time. I know that there is a lot of stuff going on, but they’ll make time for you. I know that it seems super scary, seeing how Catholic they are, but you know how rebellious Mom is when it comes to institutionalized religion telling her what to do.  If I’m remembering correctly this is around the time Dad is either considering or he has started to train to become a Deacon. I spent a long time thinking that a convert evolved into a Deacon could not be opened minded. That he couldn’t accept me for who I was because he was so cemented in his beliefs.

I know you’ll be surprised to learn that that line of thinking is totally wrong. Having that douche bag boy throw Bible quotes at you has turned you off from the idea of religious people being tolerant and accepting. Dad is clueless about anything LGBT, but he does love you, all of you. It’s going to be kind of awkward at first, but Mom and Dad get used to the idea and it just becomes a normal part of life.

You’re probably wondering about the romantic side of things. You’re awkward and shy and anxious, and I know that you have absolutely zero confidence. You struck out with guys because you weren’t interested at all, not because you’re not attractive or loveable. Online dating is a thing, and trust me, it’s still awkward. So is trying to date in college. Really dating is just awkward until you find the right person.

You are NOT incapable of being loved, and you are not broken. You probably don’t believe me, but you do find the right person, and she is absolutely amazing. You love her so much, and she loves you back for who you are, not just the shiny parts. Trust me it’s one of the most amazing feelings in the world. And it keeps getting better and better. Better than you could ever image. Better than I could even imagine.

You’re gay, and it’s fucking awesome.

Sincerely,

27 year old me