So, yesterday was my friend's birthday and I was referring to a picture of us from over 20 years ago and I was leading that into a question I asked myself, but it became a dedication to her. She deserved that so I left it as is so today - the prompt.
As I was looking at that picture of MUCH younger me I started to ask myself that same question everyone has asked themselves at some point: If you could have a conversation with your younger self, what would you tell yourself?
So I thought about it a little bit and here we are.
- You're depressed because you're heartbroken: At age 12 I met a lovely girl on New Year's. This random meeting would change my existence. Long story short - we dated and we broke up. We got back together and broke up again. What was tough was dealing with the abrupted way it happened. It was the summer, she was moving to another state, and I had just moved. So suddenly the first girl I was ever "in love" with was just... gone. I didn't have my new address and she didn't know hers. And it was just... over.
Shortly after this, I would develop severe anger issues. I was not capable of understanding this. I would react to things with anger because mentally I would bypass sadness to protect myself. This would be a driving force in a degree of self-destruction I would grow to regret.
In my later years, I took time to think back to the earliest time I remembered my anger being an issue and when I thought of the emotional event prior to it, it all lead back to this - the heartbreak.
I'd tell myself that it's okay that I'm hurting and I need to find a way to deal with it. Mental Health matters and although you know this, you're suffering and need to acknowledge it.
Do right by yourself: There have been many times that I had a plan for myself and decided that someone else's plan was more important. Family, friends, or girlfriend - at some point I came to the conclusion that their goal is more important or valid than myself and I haven't, in the end, thought about myself and what was ultimately good for me.
The choice to do this was almost always mine and I'm sure there were times that it was the "right call", but overall I believe it stems from a...
As I'm writing this, I'm trying to think about how to end that sentence. my first thought is "...stems from a lack of importance" or "... stems from a feeling that I don't matter as much as [insert person here]" and that's tough because I still do this. I understand a lot better now that I have to do right by "Dwan" because that's all I'll have in the end. As I've told many people before, "The only person you can guarantee is there for you no matter what is yourself." People can unfriend you, people can do wrong by you, people can occupied by their own situations (and you should never be mad at someone for that. They themselves are just trying to right by themselves), but ultimately, other people died and we just can never guarantee that a person will be there. So, it's you. YOU have to be the one standing by YOU.
Do all the shit that scares you. It's not as embarrassing as you think: So, I'm sure I'm not the only one that held themselves back in high school. I didn't do I lot of things because I was embarrassed in myself and, as aforementioned, was depressed and didn't like myself. I didn't go out more. I didn't do things. I didn't try things. I just... didn't. To this day, there are things I won't do because I deal with things badly internally. I wish I could tell myself that trying new things and not having a plan is okay.
This is one of those moves that would have opened me up to new experiences. I could have met all kinds of new people. I could have developed whole new levels of confidence. And most noteworthy - I should have stayed in college. I didn't want to be a chef anymore, but I should have just talked to someone and changed my major.
There is a lot of that self doubt that stems from some variant of self hatred or disappointments. I wish I could convince young Dwan to not stay in that mind space.
I'm sure there are many more things I could tell myself. "Hey, Dwan - guess who your future brother and sister in law are gonna be?" But, those three things would really change my younger self's view on life, the Universe, and everything.
But since I can't do that, it's important to understand that it's never too late to learn these lessons. You have to appreciate the life you ARE living and know that if you want different, go get different. Make it happen or Make Do. (is it "do" or "due"?) Life is actually really good. We can make it happen. So go... make it happen.