dear 17 year old me

Hey,

Long time no see. You used to write me letters all the time, and I’ll admit I’ve let myself forget them, the journals housing your words sit untouched on the shelf. Maybe I’m afraid of facing the truth- that I’m not what you wanted me to be. I remember you used to look forward to the future so longingly, the idea of being in your twenties contained a glamour and wisdom that you sought after ceaselessly. I remember you thought that I’d have it all figured out, that the 22 year old version of yourself would be effortlessly cool and say all the right things and become immune to the heartache so often inflicted by others.

I’m ashamed to admit I’ve forgotten your dreams. I know New York City used to be the backdrop, and there was something about working for a publishing company, and I was supposed to make it all happen for you, I was supposed to be like a character in a TV sitcom, young and floundering in The Big Apple somehow managing to make rent every month without stress.

But dreams change, and simply being in your twenties isn’t a remedy for the side-effects of living.

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I wish it were easier.

It would be nice if I had done you a little more proud, if you looked at me now and said “Yes! She’s exactly what I hoped she’d be!”

As I’m sure you’ve already gathered; I’m not.

But you don’t know what you’re going to experience yet. You think that the world has showed you enough pain to last you a lifetime, but it’s just the preface. Spoiler alert: these next five years aren’t always going to be kind to you. You will meet people who take everything from you and leave you nothing but the remnants of the person you once were. Maybe that’s why you can hardly recognize yourself in me. The girl inside me turned into a wolf years ago.

Sometimes I envy you. You’re so selfish, chasing your own desires with no pause to consider any consequences. Breaking hearts doesn’t make you feel guilty yet. You relish in kissing as many people as you can. There’s a carelessness to you that I’ll never be able to capture again.

But then I consider your melodramatic tendencies and I relish in being me once more. Everything is so intense to you, if I visit the banks of my memory screenshots of you sobbing on the floor ferociously after a bit too much Jose Cuervo, uncaring of who’s around to witness your undoing, flash before my eyes. All of your feelings are so violent and unpredictable, don’t you get exhausted?

You’re not going to love him forever, and he’s never going to give you the answers you crave. One day you’re going to fill in the blanks and I’m sorry that the conclusions you draw about his motives won’t be pretty ones.

I know you think it makes you a bad-ass but you should seriously stop skipping class. People in the real world have little sympathy for the insolence of a girl who thought she was too good for the education system, and when people scoff at your transcripts you’re gonna feel regretful.

Cherish the friends you have now. I know you feel like you’re stuck in this town, but growing up here has been a blessing. One day everyone you know now will be far away. And something within you will be irreparably changed. You’ll start to forget peoples names. And something about that stings.

I admire your bravery. Sometimes I feel like that’s a trait I’ve lost in these years gone by. I remember you, bright-eyed and hopeful, penning love letters and hesitating for only a second before handing them over. I admire your strength, too. When those love letters didn’t garner the reaction you were hoping for you didn’t hide and lick your wounds. You shrugged, and dared life to hit you harder cause you can take it.

I know you think you live your life on the side-lines, but your words carry more weight than you realize. Keep writing, keep living, keep trying.

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For a long time I resented you, as many people do I looked back at my youth and cringed my embarrassment. You’re so vulnerable and naive, heart on your sleeve, emotional sensitivity that gets you hurt more often than not. But now I try to channel you sometimes. I think of the spark in your eyes that I’ve lost over time and I want to reignite it.

I’ve accomplished a lot in the last five years. And now that I’m on the other side of them I can truly say I’m proud of myself. I traveled, I loved, I learnt how to stand up for myself. Even though I’m not what you hoped I think you’d like how I’ve turned out. I think you’d admire the way I stand up straight and the lack of a tremor in my tone when I enter a debate. I think you’d like the balance I’ve struck between tender and storm, between cold and warm. And even though my dreams aren’t the same as yours I think you’d appreciate the direction of my goals. Helping people, travelling and living a life that’s honest and full of laughter.

I’ll try to be braver for you. I’ll try to remember that old wounds are no excuse to hide myself away. I’ll try to do you justice.

You and I, we’re walking contradictions. Delicate like a flower, electric like lightning. A melding together of desirable and undesirable. Something special.

High school won’t last forever, so hang in there. Try to remember that everything is temporary, hold onto the good moments tightly, and exhale the negativity.

until next time,

r.

Author: rachelle

Figuring it out as I go along, documenting and staying as honest as possible.

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