If I Knew Then, Part II

Look’it this idiot. Clearly, she needs some help.

I’ve been doing more thinking about what I’d tell my younger, dumber selves, I suppose because my present self needs the help too. It’s funny how I can learn something–sometimes over and over again–and still need reminding about it. I guess knowledge and acceptance often run on very different tracks. (See Part I of my sage wisdom here.)

Here’s what I came up with.

  • We’re all so screwed up. Every last one of us. No one else has some magical instruction manual to life that you didn’t get. We’re all just bumping around in the dark, groping for ways to make ourselves feel better. If you can step out of your fear long enough to let yourself be scared with a few other people, your life will be so much better, so much easier. Give yourself that chance.
  • Vulnerability is pretty badass.
  • Sex does not fix everything.
  • Letting someone see you is the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do—but it is a have-to. Doesn’t have to be a man or a “great love,” just someone you’re able to hear, maybe even a few someones. Otherwise you’ll try to hide out in some very dangerous places in order to ease that ache of loneliness that is—I promise you—just the price of admission into adulthood.
  • Self-loathing is boring.
  • Confidence is sexy. (Sometimes the truth is a cliche.)
  • Good God woman, stop doing juice cleanses or anything resembling starvation tactics. Seriously. For the safety of those around you as well as your own.
  • You are not the worst thing you’ve ever done.
  • You are not the thoughts in your head.
  • Lolita. Vladimir Nabokov.
  • But never do a search for “Lolita pics” when trying to fill out a blog post. Some creepy, kinky stuff.
  • Life is not fair—and thank god for that. One day you’ll need grace to work in your life when you least deserve it.
  • You are always many things at once and that doesn’t make you a fraud. The shitty thing you’re doing to one person doesn’t invalidate the kindness you show to another. You can be both things at once. You can be small and big at the same time—you can be terrified and confident, arrogant and insecure, courageous and cowardly. You can have both complete faith and profound doubt simultaneously. In fact, those dualities often reinforce one another. Faith is only faith when you’re filled with doubt, and courage can’t exist if you’ve never been a coward.
  • When a light turns green and someone honks at you before you can even switch pedals, it is both your right–nay, your responsibility–to drive 15 mph for at least 10 min. Wherever you’re going can wait.
  • Fear can make you hallucinate solutions to your life, and those hallucinations can lead you down some dangerous detours.
  • Your vagina does not need to do pilates. Trust me. There will be fitness instructors who will tell you otherwise, but you need to stand up for what’s right and just say no. And as long as we’re here, let’s get all the things your vagina does not need out of the way: pilates, steaming, herbal detox, decorations, jewels, or any other embellishments. It’s like putting Euro Disney in Paris–it’s fucking Paris! Leave it alone.
  • A story always changes in the re-telling. Before any conscious lie is told, it becomes as fallible as its teller, as much for what is left out as for what is told. You never know the whole story, you rarely know the whole person.
  • Try not to be everything people say about women: catty, jealous, mean. Be better than that. There is enough in this world for you too, regardless of what anyone else has.
  • There is enough in this world for you too. Felt like that one warranted a duplicate.
  • Sometimes swearing really does fucking help.
  • At some point, home is no longer given–you have to make it for yourself. Don’t try to chase your past to find that safety you crave—it isn’t there anymore. It’s up ahead, and it looks different than the one from before, but you’ll recognize it when you get there. 2887477141_56e4659d40
  • The way people treat you says much more about them than it does you.
  • No one is thinking about you as much as you think they are. They’re too busy thinking about themselves. (All of us–just bumping around the dark.)
  • Nobody owes you anything. Safety, love, respect, understanding. Recompense from past harms. You are not due any of these things, and if you can find a way to accept that, you will likely get them all.
  • When he says he needs space, believe him. The more you clench your fist around something the quicker it disappears.
  • “Beauty without grace is the hook without the bait.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Make the following bets: Arnold Schwarzenegger will become governor of California and Donald Trump will be the frontrunner for the Republican presidential candidate in 2016. Swear to God.5440990018_cd5ec6b9d3
  • Fear and loneliness will not kill you, despite how it sometimes feels.
  • Adolescence is a series of awkward pauses for everyone, not just you.
  • If you make your life only about running away from certain things, you will run right into them.
  • If you hear only one thing on this list, let it be this: When you start getting published, do not, under any circumstances, read the comment section. People are dicks.

photo credit: mothers love via photopin (license)
photo credit: Donald Trump via photopin (license)


4 thoughts on “If I Knew Then, Part II

  1. Carolyn February 3, 2016 / 10:10 pm

    Adore adore adore (you know the week way I love to say it)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. joshualay24 February 4, 2016 / 2:42 am

    Good stuff. Also, I’m glad you’ve switched to capitalizing things. I think it looks better. (Not a snarky comment!)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Paula March 1, 2016 / 11:42 pm

    Great piece !!! I can relate to so so much of it. Especially love the part where you
    Wrote about being many things at once and not being a fraud.

    Liked by 1 person

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