On Pasts

Sunday, March 8th, is International Women’s Day intended to bring unity and awareness to major women’s issues and rights. In preparation (I guess), YouTube started a campaign under the hashtag “DearMe” of prominent female celebrities and YouTubers basically creating a video of encouragement and advice to their past selves. I assume that the managers behind the campaign are planning some sort of major video compilation or something for the 8th; otherwise, I don’t really understand the rather early advertisement of the campaign/movement. 

Anyhow, I was watching some of the videos and immediately thought “Hey this is a good idea but they need some dudes up in this thing!” In case it wasn’t obvious, I am obviously joking. This was a specific campaign intended for women for a particular reason/event. However, I still think it is an interesting concept and inspired this post, but I am not going to align my post with the ones under the “DearMe” umbrella since that is its own important, separate movement.

 

Dear Past Me,

Okay, so I know your first reaction to this scenario would be to try to figure out which version of time travel/displacement would allow for the contact of differing points in time without causing a paradoxical event, but I am going to need you to stop that, right now. Seriously, just shut your mouth. Time travel is always fucked up and there will not be a plausible explanation. Let’s just go with the “Timey Wimey Wibbly Wobbly” version, okay? Oh that will make more sense in a few years and you should probably start remembering the name David Tennant for the sake of convenience.

So, I am talking to you from the future in order to impart my grand and vast wisdom, but, here’s the thing, I don’t really have any. Sorry dude. I am still kind of figuring shit out myself. Frankly, most people, even the teachers and parents around you, don’t have a fucking clue what is going on half the time. They pretty much just fake it to convince others and themselves that they have stuff under control. They don’t. Thus, instead of bestowing upon you some great knowledge, I am just going to give you some advice. Cool? (You really don’t have a say in the matter, so…whatevs)

First off, you’re kind of an asshole. Nope, no argument. You know it’s true. You are not the most athletic, popular, good looking, or talented in school (really not even like in the top quarter or half) and you have a bit of chip on your shoulder over that. Add to that your home life and natural proclivity for sarcasm and you are basically an asshole.

Here’s the good news. You calm down on the whole assholish, sarcastic thing and actually use it to your advantage. The same tenacity, wit, sarcasm, and intelligence you use to build a wall around yourself somehow manages to get you into life long friendships and groups. Basically, the sarcasm and wit becomes genuine humor and personality that you use to converse and connect with just about anyone. Your intelligence and tenacity is turned toward actually helping people instead of just yourself which apparently is a good thing. While I would suggest that you calm the asshole bit sooner, know that it eventually becomes an advantage.

Second, you have overcompensated for the lack of talent, looks, popularity, etc. with your brain. Yes, you are basically one of the smartest people in your school. That’s not saying much. I went to your school, and I know the competition. There was like ten people who were even close to the same level and even those were not much of a challenge. This is also one of the reasons why you are kind of an asshole, but I digress. You won’t admit it to anyone, not even yourself, but being the smartest kid in the room weighs heavily on you. You fear that at any given moment you will screw up and lose your position and identity. Sadly, it will eventually happen.

But, it actually turns out to be a great thing. There is going to be a point in your near future where you walk into a college classroom and are no longer the smartest kid in the class. In fact, no one really is. Everyone, well mostly, seems to have something of worth to say. The relief and awe this inspires is sublime. Seriously, the capacity for learning and knowledge will astound you after you brush the dust of home off your shoes. Never lose that wonder and curiosity. It will be one of your best attributes.

Next, remember that whole “not best looking” or near the top quarter thing earlier? Yeah, that really hasn’t changed much. Sorry, buddy but we still have some weight issues though not as bad as you were led to believe. However, it hasn’t really impacted us much. Believe it or not, you will still go out on dates. You will make lifelong friends. You will have sex. You will pretty much live your life without much trouble. I know you probably think that is impossible, but amazingly it is all true.

Ah, this one is kind of important. Keep your willingness and open mind. Already you are pissing off your parents, teachers, and other adults of supposed authority. You are not sure why this is, but the reason is pretty simply; you are questioning them, and they don’t like it. Honestly, that is it. As you get older you’ll find that established power does not like being questioned and likes change even less. We have never been good at just listening to instructions. We want to know the reason behind something and for that reason to make sense. When it doesn’t, we tend to call bullshit. This is actually a good thing. Don’t accept things at face value. Keep questioning things and finding the answers to those questions. If the answers are not correct or suitable, keep digging or change what is happening.

You’re going to find that a lot of your preconceived notions change drastically as you get older. Things like your beliefs, interests, prejudices, dreams, and goals are all going to evolve and alter. Trust me, I know. That is fine regardless of what the adults in your life tell you. Again, you’re just going to have to trust me on this one.

I feel like I should tell you more and perhaps I will another time, but for now I will leave you with just this one last piece of advice. Keep writing. Those weird, little stories and poems you have littered randomly in notebooks, binders, and on your computer are not great, but they are the beginning of something. You have a calm and undeniable sense of purpose and joy when you put thought to paper. You are not sure why but something about the act of creating makes you feel like you found what you are meant to do. I am not saying you are great at it (especially since I am still working on it) or that it will be your future career (again working on it), but there has yet to be a time when making something does not fill you with that same sense and emotion that it does now.

Sincerely,

Future You

P.S. Senior year of high school will be the best and worst year of your life up to that point, but it will not even compare to the first year of college or any years that come after.

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