A Photograph

I’m crying my eyes out. I feel so sad, so impotent. “You cannot force people to love you they way you expect them to,” my therapist repeatedly told me. Still, no one can prepare you for that when it relates to a member of your close family, and it’s hard. It’s fucking hard!

I try to take my mind off of it by browsing through my phone, cleaning out old or repeated pictures, and I stumble upon one of me as a baby. I say to my younger self, “This, too, shall pass.” What else could I say to little me to be able to overcome this hard, sad time?

Just look into your past and realize all the things you’ve accomplished! Realize all the things you’ve missed, and my God, all the things you are still waiting to do! You should know that all the times you thought about dropping the towel or even jumping off a bridge were not worth it.

I wish I could stumble upon my younger self now that I’m almost 40, to tell you this:

-You are a consequence of all the people, places, friends, food, religion, books and pets you have crossed paths with, so savor it! All of it – the good, the bad, the ugly. It all will become part of your life and memories.

-Save money, my dear! I know you’ll come across so many things you’d love to buy, places you’d love to travel to, clothes you’d like to wear. Trust me, having a little bit of money to spare will save you a great deal of problems in the future. Just put some money aside. You won’t regret it.

-Love, love with all your heart and soul, but I hope that you can also understand the difference between love and attachment. Loving someone and being loved by someone should come easily, like waves in the ocean. They might come strong at times and wash over you, but at times they can also be calm. Just let love be. Don’t push it, because if you have to, it’s probably not love and has become something else.

-Embrace your awkwardness. You will not be everyone’s cup of tea, but you shouldn’t change who you are just because you are not liked by everyone. You are an acquired taste, and if some people don’t like you, maybe they should acquire some taste.

-Do not take things so personally. The world doesn’t revolve around you.

-Be safe. I know that a lot of times you’ll feel like there will be no consequences for your actions, and you will grow to be a very lucky and fortunate person, but don’t push it. 

-Growing up you will hear people say that you are very intense, and you will not perceive that in a positive way. I wish you could understand how beautiful and important this intensity will become to you. You’re not crazy, it’s just who you are. OWN IT, GIRL!

-Follow your dreams! But do not expect them to play out in the romantic way you see them in your head. Following your dreams is also fighting for them. Do everything in your power to show only yourself that you are capable of doing anything you’ve ever put your mind to. Persevere. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.

-School will be hard for you, very hard, because you are a dreamer. Just understand that you have to push yourself. Unfortunately, our culture needs you to go to school, just try not to be so lazy. You are smart, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. It’s just that the format doesn’t work for you. But guess what? You’ll eventually have a college degree! 

-You will understand quite late the meaning of gratitude, but once you do, your life will revolve around it, and it will be beautiful. Be grateful. Always.

-Do not say yes just to be polite. You can say no when you want. If people don’t like it, again, do not take it personally. Maybe they aren’t worth it.

-The shape of your palate… yeah, it’s not that common. You think it is, but it’s actually quite rare. And oh yeah, one of your ears grows to be quite a bit bigger and different from the other, and your belly button is crooked. But again, my dear, even though you think early on that all of these are horrible things about you, they will be quite handy for impressing the boys! USE THEM TO YOUR FAVOR!!!

-Trust your instinct. It will feel like witchcraft sometimes, BUT THAT’S OK! You are full of magic. No one but you needs to understand this. You’ll save yourself lots of tribulations if you trust your instinct.

-Say what your heart feels. You’ll have to let it simmer, and let it pass through your brain to get absolute confirmation of what you want to say, but don’t let other people dictate what you say and do. Your heart has a voice, too. Let it resonate, or you will explode. Let it speak.

-You will suffer a lot of losses, and you’ll always ask yourself what you could have done differently. Maybe a few things here and there could have been avoided, but all of those things have brought you to this moment, to this precious, imperfect life that you love to live.

-Accept your femininity. It’s not a burden; IT’S A WEAPON – the most powerful one you’ll ever have. Embrace it, accept it, own it, love it, feel it. BE IT!, BE A GIRL, BE A WOMAN! BE YOU! 

-Going to therapy is not only for crazy people. Trust me, it will change your life. Sometimes the best thing to do will be to just put your heart out there for someone to show you why it’s hurt and how you can heal it.

-We are all different. What society sees as a standard regarding your education, livelihood, appearance, sexual preferences, shape of your body, color, race or whatever, shouldn’t shape you. Just be yourself. Don’t be what people or society tell you to be. Above all, do not feel bad because you are not what they ask you to be. It’s ok.

-Forgive and forget, but don’t let whatever experiences life gives you go down the drain. Bad things (more than good ones) also carry lessons. Trust me on this.

-Let go, my darling, let go. This too shall pass…