You know those weeks when you can’t even keep track of what day it is anymore? Yes, I’m sure you do. We all do. This has been one of those weeks for me. Last Monday brought with it a hectic haze. By the time Friday finally arrived, all I could think about was the weekend. And not just any weekend, but a blessed, long-awaited three-day weekend. I had already prepared a lengthy list of tasks that would get my attention, beginning with a manicure and ending with clearing out the boxes crammed into my tiny attic. In a one bedroom loft, storage space is holy and I have not been treating it as such.
Things got off to a successful start. An entire afternoon dedicated to those self-care items that we put off, including a simultaneously terrifying and amazing paper mask facial of Korean origin. Long walks with the dog, reading on the couch, organizing my closet while dancing to a playlist that Spotify calls “Folk Pop Pulse.”
I thoroughly enjoyed my double Saturday and was feeling pretty good about my proactivity this morning. All that was left to do was to sort out whatever lay in wait in the attic. Then, as I brushed my teeth, I had a realization. It was not Sunday morning. It was Monday morning. And on Mondays, I write.
Determined to make time for everything and follow through with my original plan, I hunted down a ladder. Boxes came down one after another and I sifted through the contents. I find that I’m rarely attached to objects but very attached to creations. This meant that the majority of what I unpacked was either a book, a journal, or some sort of work from college.
A piece of paper slipped to the ground as I sat flipping through the pages of a notebook. Picking it up, I saw that it was a letter. It instantly registered that the handwriting was mine. I said:
Dear Old Self,
You are brave, even though you don’t think so. You trust when you know better. It may be stupid, idiotic, moronic, but it is brave. I still don’t know if you get where you want to go, or if you get anywhere at all. Those same old fears will follow you every day until you’re at least 20 years, 7 months, and 11 days old. Your heart will hurt too much and you will want to give up. But you never will. There is the slightest chance of bliss waiting for you right around the corner. Always keep looking, even when there is nearly no light by which to see.
I have no memory of writing this, but I’m so glad that I did. It’s a small, swift glimpse of the loneliness that I carried with me for most of my life.
I am a born outsider. I spent most of my adolescence and early adulthood desperately wishing to be understood. Much of that was related to my coming out. I was afraid. I wanted to be sure that I was worthy of love. I wasn’t sure. As a result, I refrained from loving myself.
Like others, I’ve inhabited many dark places during my relatively few years. I can only imagine that on the day I penned this little note, I was feeling particularly alone. Even so, I found a way to help myself through it, simply by recognizing the victory in how far I had already come. And knowing that one day I would feel lost again, I hid the words inside an old journal that I anticipated toting around for the next half of a decade. Wouldn’t you know it, I was right.
Best of all, approximately 365 days after jotting down this lifeline to myself, I met my wife. The universe works in weird and wonderful ways.
If I wrote a note to my younger (or old/former) self now, it would go like this.
Don’t worry. You find bliss. You find warmth. You find that you are your own light. And, I can assure you, you will find a brilliant peace by the time you are 26 years, 4 months, and 9 days old. Hang in until then.
Cheers to the journey.