If I had a time machine…

I would go back to this exact time, this exact moment, four years ago today.

I would say, “You know what? You think you know what you’re getting into but you have no idea, really. You think you know what you’re planning on doing, what you’re 100% sureof doing is the ‘right’ thing, but you don’t know how true this is. What you’re about to embark on will be both the most sinister and depressing, but also the most rewarding, strengthening experiences of your life. That one action — one created by love, wishes, and the simple art of bouncy conversation — will influence your life so much in the next four years, you won’t even know what hit you when you become me and you suddenly turn around, astounded at even simple the fact that this was four years ago.

“This,” I would say, “Is both the first and last evening of the rest of your life. You’ll remember it forever; at first because you’ll wonder how you could change what you did and said in order to ‘improve’ its outcome but later, you will reflect upon it as a great learning experience; not so much learning whator how to do something, but learning about your own prowess, capabilities, and values. You’ll learn in the next few years, because of THIS night, the importance of being alive; the importance of taking matters into your own hands; the importance of gleaning strong female permission simply from a few little crumbs left behind on the trail; the importance of loving yourself, having confidence, and the abilities to participate in this world of self-love and confidence without questioning whether or not you’re worthy.”

I would look at you in your vintage Bart Simpson t-shirt and size 12 black skinny jeans and say, “You think of yourself as overweight and unlikeable and undateable; you do. You write it down every single day to make a pilgrimmage to that dark part of yourself that exists just beneath your surface and reminds you of what an inadequate, ugly duckling girl you are. But right now we’re standing side by side and I hardly recognize you. And after today, you won’t even recognize yourself, either because you’ll wonder how you became such a depressive overweight stupid girl who is following around some asshole who will never love you, or because you’ll wonder how you became a slim(ish), sophisticated(ish), worldly, adventurous, upbeat, positive confident girl who makes a real effort to go after what she wants every time because she’s learned it’s more worthwhile than silence. You’ll wonder how you became the girl who was strong enough to leave today behind and move forward in every sense of the word.

“You’ll become empoweredand you’ll realize empowerment – of others, of yourself – is the most crucial thing in the world. You’ll learn quickly (but not quickly enough) that the ability to empower yourself is essentially the only thing that will get you through these difficult times. And all it will take to realize this, is THIS NIGHT, RIGHT NOW – and the suffering that follows. Don’t dread the suffering, and don’t ignore the fatefulness of it. Just know it’s necessary if you want to become the woman you’re looking at right now. Live through it; embrace it; remember it; in fact, remember every single last detail. And enjoy yourself. Love your friends! Love yourself! Love that feeling of requited love after such a long, painful, frustrating wait! Know that despite everything you’ve felt or dealt with feeling, you are entitled to the same happinesses of others, even if you tend to internalize them differently than other people with ‘normal’ feelings do.”

Before leaving you behind, I would say just this: “This is your night, 2008 Self; it belongs to you and it’s the first step to all of your acheievements, reflections, realizations and moments of pure unabridged happiness and victory. Today is one of the most valuable and significant days and I want to send you on your way knowing that you’ll make it, you’re loved, and four years from now, you can be guaranteed of both of these things to the fullest and most brilliant extent!”

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