An Open Letter to Every Me by Loren Lewis
Dear Past Me,
I wish I could have grabbed you by the hand to warn you about all that was to come. There’s so much more than the boxes upon boxes that you kept holding yourself in. Your youth was accompanied by both innocence and ignorance. You could use a little bit more critical thinking and common sense every now and then. Stop becoming so angry every time your mother stops you from what you want. Nine times out ten, her intentions are good and your raging hormones kept you blind to that. However, I know there were instances in your childhood where your family made you lose sight of your happiness. I’m happy to report that you’ll soon be wise enough to realize that they don’t own you. You are your own person entirely. Your social skills also had some room for improvement. I wish you could have realized then how negative and pretentious you sounded sometimes. To be frank, your friends at that time were the worst enemies of your confidence and self-worth. I feel pity when I reflect on that, Past Me, because you felt so much sorrow, confusion, and misplaced anger. Being passive-aggressive did nothing to mend your spirits or your friendships. I know you will soon see how the world does not revolve around these people and that they cannot control your thoughts or emotions, no matter how much it seems they can. There were so many bad times that I wish I could have protected you from. You really should stop straightening your hair so much. Don’t keep fleeing back to that awful boy who you kept staring at through rose-colored glasses, but is actually trash personified. You are so much greater than every tear-stained, lip-quivering heartache you found yourself in time and time again, but I know they taught you so many valuable lessons. Without those lessons, you couldn’t be who you are now.
Dear Present Me,
Simply put, you’re doing the best you can. You made it through the immensely awkward roller coaster that is the public-school system and now they have set you and several of your own peers loose onto the world as fresh-faced, bright-eyed graduates to live as you please. You were encouraged constantly by many of your teachers and family members that college was the smartest option for you, which is to be expected since you received such high marks in every subject ever, never earning lower than a 3.0 G.P.A.! The love for busywork should have come so naturally. It was confusing how you found it so difficult to understand where your motivation for schoolwork went, even after taking a gap year to recuperate. It was like all those years of coasting through classes without sitting down and developing a plan caught up to you. You spend so many days lying in bed waiting for the weight to leave your chest so you can start that "carpe diem" life society promotes so often, but it never seems to dissipate. Even spending time with friends, old and new, can seem like such an exhausting chore sometimes, because there’s never anything new for you to say. You want and want so much for that clear moment where you know what you want and how to achieve it. I want you to remember that it’s okay not to have a plan. As demanding as this materialistic society is, you will succeed at your own pace. You need to be kinder to yourself first. You need to remember that even when you’re alone, you still have people that will love and support you. You need to remember that as you’re unlearning all your harmful ideals and behaviors, others may not be as understanding and open-minded as you. This world is constantly evolving with the passage of new generations and change will come whether you’re ready or not. Don’t consider it necessary to explain yourself to everyone; you are not obligated to share parts of yourself to people who don’t deserve them. I hope you soon find yourself at a place in your life where even when the weight on your chest seems to crush all your strength, you still move forward, leaving no stone unturned, cherishing all that you discover. There are so many beautiful worlds out there that you have yet to see.
Dear Future Me,
Past Me would have pictured you in a two-story house in the suburbs with your charming husband and two kids, but as far I’m concerned, I picture you at your best: alone with two pets you consider your children under a roof attributed from your respectable career. Presently, I’m not comfortable with having a family as the endgame for my life, but I’ll leave that open to consideration. I know around this time you may have unfortunately endured great loss in your family as the circle of life continues. I’m sure you’re making them proud in as many ways as you can. I envision you a much happier and stronger Loren. I know for sure you’ve made it to California, so you’ve had to start over in many aspects of your life. I hope you’ve made a fair number of well-rounded friends, (let’s face it, the days of having a “squad” are well over for you) and kept in touch with the people you care for back in Virginia. I don’t want to jinx anything by assuming what could happen, but I’m wishing nothing but the best for you. You’ve accomplished so much and I’m excited to see what other brave new chapters you may start.