730 Deep Breaths

A 730 day journal- documenting the life of a woman with mental illness.

Dear Past Self,

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I am you. 

I am writing to you in hopes of preparing you for what is about to come. It will be a difficult thing to face. One that will require strength and serenity. One that will forever change how you think, feel, and live your life. I am not wiser, not braver, and certainly not stronger than you.  We are one in the same. The only thing that separates us is a simple understanding.

Rather than warn you in great detail of what is about to occur, I would rather save you the bouts of pre-worry and just offer some simple guidelines instead.

Stay positive. Look at you. You are smart, empathetic, well-mannered, and adaptable. You can beat this. The moment you choose to think negatively is the moment you will succumb to the very thing out to destroy you. You cannot fake positivity, so make sure you truly believe in yourself. Surround yourself with things that make you happy and lose those that bring you down. This will be a hard task to face. You must weed the negative out of your life. Prepare to make some hard decisions. They will benefit you greatly.

Forget about him. Trust me. He doesn’t love you. He doesn’t care. I don’t mean to upset you, but that is the truth. You can choose to let him go now and face a few weeks of heart-break, or hang on to him for three years and lose yourself for an insurmountable amount of time. Don’t allow him the opportunity to destroy your self-esteem. You will quickly learn that he was sooo very wrong about you. The day he cheats on you will not turn into a moment of clarity in which he realizes the repercussions of his actions. Rather this will fuel more adultery. Don’t give him a chance to change. He won’t. Period. Have the balls to stick up for yourself. Don’t ever let him touch you, and when he does you beat the bloody shit out of him and then you send him to jail. And while the police are arresting him, go ahead and laugh with them over the fact that you (a girl) whooped his sorry ass. This will give you the strength to feel anger over the situation, rather than pain. The biggest thing you need to remember is that this, all of this shit, is not your fault. You cared. He did not. It isn’t because you were too ugly, or not good enough in bed, or too jealous, or too weak. It was him. It always has been and always will be. At the same time, never feel bad for him. Allowing him this right will make you reopen your heart to someone who never deserved access to it in the first place.

Remember Kelly. One thing you must learn, is that you come first. This may seem selfish but it will empower you through life. It is okay to take care of people, but you need to remember that it is not your calling in life. Although you withhold the compassion and empathy to comfort and love others, you do not withhold the ability to distance yourself from other’s problems and ensure that they do not become your own. Don’t interpret this as a weakness. It is surely not. One day you will bask in the ability to love so deeply. And someone very special will fall in love with you for it.

Relax. Seriously, you need it. We both know you have been dying to become a yoga pro for years now. Go do it. Learn how to breathe, how to let go, how to be one with yourself. These techniques will help you face what is about to become. Light candles, go for a walk, journal, sing, dance- just please be happy. Don’t blankly sit on your bed mulling over what coulda, shoulda, woulda been.

Be Good Enough. This is likely a confusing request, but you really must stop trying  to be perfect. It will set you up with unrealistic expectations as to how your life and others’ lives should run. I can tell you first hand this will not better your life, it will suffocate it. You are a great student, a good employee, an amazing friend, and a compassionate partner. Relish in your accomplishments and stop trying to constantly out-do yourself.

Find your voice. I know you think you have already done this. You stand up for those that are bullied in school, you stand firmly behind your morals, and you speak your mind to those who try to attack you.  But, at some point in your life, if you don’t prepare yourself now, you will lose that ability. Your condition is not a secret. You are not an embarrassment. Say what you think and mean it. Be confident in how you feel and your ability to protect yourself. If you submit to those that are aggressive, you will only further your strife and encourage their malice.

Never try to fit the mold. You always said that you would never drink and that you would never wear make-up and that you would never fear leaving the house not looking your best. Do just that. Don’t let those girls convince you that you look more presentable with black eyeliner and rosy red cheeks. That crap will give you nothing but pimples and a complex. Don’t take that glass on your 17th birthday, it will only equate to a series of bad events (and the fun will only last for a month before you decide drinking was a wretched mistake in the first place). Never let any boy convince you that a t-shirt and jeans makes you look like you don’t care. Those heels and that push-up bra make you look like you care far too much, and that is a far worse trait. Embrace every single freckle. Love the fact that you can style your eyes with glasses. Cherish your pale skin because it will forever be soft and sun damage free. And when that punk approaches you in 5th grade and tells you that your crows feet and laugh lines make you look like a grandma- you punch him dead in the balls and then gracefully fix your hair and inform him that grandma just beat his ass.

But, the thing you need to stand by the most is something that only you can give to yourself: Confidence. 

Love Yourself.

Don’t chase after boys. Don’t celebrate when you lose 2 pounds. Don’t let anyone matter so much to you that you stop mattering to yourself. You are your best friend, your partner in crime, and your very own bodyguard. You are all you need. People will try to convince you otherwise, but don’t fall victim to their words.

Be a Mother-fucking bad ass. 

And the last thing I can leave you with is just this- Look up to Maya Angelou- she knows what she is talking about.

‘I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.’ – ‘We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.’ – ‘There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.’ -Maya Angelou

Love, 

Your Future Self

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