Posts Tagged ‘Open-Ended Letters’
Writing Prompt: If you could write a letter to your younger self, giving advice for troubles that will happen in the future, what would it look like? What would you say? Would the letter be funny, or would it be serious? (from Apricot Tea., check out her new project – Ask Apricot)
Dear Younger Self,
It’s me, Older Je. I’m here from the future, briefly, to tell you a few things you should grasp tight in your memory and not let go of. Tidbits of advice, if you will, to help tackle some stuff that you’ll find hard, a perspective on the things to come and a few words to still your mind. If I could be there with you then, this is what I’d tell you:
First and foremost – stop feeling bad in your skin. It’s you. The only body you’ll ever have; and it could be a lot worse. Let me tell you, every time you’ve felt squishy or pudgy or unlike the pretty girls in the magazines, I’ve looked back on pictures of you, and you looked like a million bucks. I only wish I could have that figure right now. I work every day to get it back. So dammit, put on a f*cking bathing suit in public and prance around. Kick your toes in sand. Bend over and pick up your beach towel without putting a T-shirt on. Look in a mirror and appreciate what your momma gave you.
Speaking of momma – try to let up a little. You’ll look back of some of the stuff you said and did to hurt her feelings, and it’ll sting. She’s great, and all she’s ever wanted in life is to be a fabulous mother, and your best friend. And while she might be a little hard on you (yes, I still agree Bs are not a bad thing and a midnight curfew blows), she molded you into what you’ll soon become – smart and independent. A lot of girls don’t get a supportive family. Appreciate that they love you so much they’re willing to push you, ask what you’re doing and punish you. It might feel like you’ll never agree, but trust me, she’s a great friend waiting in your future, and she’s worth it.
You know what’s not worth it though? Credit cards, a poor credit score and calling your parents to bail you out because you lost your job and can’t pay your bills, or living paycheck to paycheck and barely squeaking by. Or not being able to drive your car cause you spent your last $9 on Snickers ice cream and Oreos while drunk one night instead of gas to get to work. This one is easy – stop freakin’ spending. Stop it. Now. The eight sweater coats in every color and length that you couldn’t live without – they’ll be the ugliest thing you’ll see in a couple years, so you don’t need all of them. And that poncho. And those jelly sandals. And that suede Pocahontas-looking jacket. It’s all just material junk that you’ll look around at, unable to sell it for any sort of value, and wish you had all that money back to pay off your credit cards.
I know you’ve never been good at money – but you’ve always been good at friendships. Keep that up. Friends and your family – they are what matter – not the latest fashion, or 46 tubes of the shiniest lip gloss, or the car you can’t live without and the perfect vase for your living room. Just remember – there are a few of these people you’re going to lose too soon, and it’ll be hard to grasp or understand. So always return that phone call, and always visit when you feel you don’t have the time. Because you’re going to look back and wish you did.
And finally, I’m here from the future to tell you to stop worrying so much about me. Take it one day at a time. Here’s a tip – you’re not going to be married at 27. So chances are you’re not going to have your first kid at 30. And guess what; it’s all going to be okay. You’re not going to love your job, but you’re working toward smaller goals and you’re figuring it out. All the answer won’t be at your fingertips when you thought they would be, but you’re well on your way. You’ll discover that living in the moment is much more rewarding than always worrying about the future, so why not start that now? That job you felt like you’d never get – you’ll get it. So continue to sling coffee and live for free off your parents. You’ll never be that free of responsibility again. That relationship you thought would never come – life is full of love and being alone is some of the best times you’ll have to grow. So stop moping on the couch because you couldn’t find something to do for one night. Relax, take a breather and let it all just come, one day at a time…
Dear Marriage and Babies,
You give me hives.
I wish I was being facetious. I’m not. Lately, I increasingly feel anxious – like I’m going to have a god damn panic attack and be admitted to the loony bin –when I hear about a friend getting engaged, or how you, Marriage, are “a lot of hard work” or even worse, divorce. And I’m teetering on stark-raving crazy, Babies, when I hear about how hard it is to have you, the whole pregnancy gig, postpartum depression, etc. I start to feel a bit short of breath, and this big ole uncomfortable, nervous lump forms – like a butterfly in my chest.
Yesterday I read Dooce’s post/discussion about what’s more difficult, Babies or Marriage. She wrote about how she *literally* checked herself into a mental hospital six months after experiencing you for the first time, Babies, and how she’s been through countless hours of counseling on her own and with her husband, to improve you, Marriage. Well, it all just gave me that constricted, hives feeling again. And I want to shout, “Don’t Make Me Do It, Captain!”
I bet you anything, if asked, Dooce would say it was ALL worth it. Everyone would. But, I don’t buy it. I mean, I’ve heard speeches from people who have lost limbs, been addicted to painkillers, or been through cancer, and they all say they wouldn’t change anything because “it makes them who they are today.” Great. Congratulations. That still doesn’t mean that I want to experience what they did. And right now, I’m not sure that I want to experience you, Marriage or Babies, anytime in the next decade.
I want to live in my carefree 20s forever, and never cross the bridge into your unchartered adult waters. I never feel old enough for either of you. When I hear about people in high school who are married with babies, I screech, “But we’re only TWENTY-SIX!” And this year it’ll be, “But we’re only TWENTY-SEVEN!” And I’m sure I’ll be singing the same tune at 28 and 29 too.
See, I know I want both of you, SOME DAY. It’s just that that some day is always in the future, even as the years go by. When will I feel PRESENT about you? I try to talk to my girl friends about how uncomfortable or not ready I am for either of you, but half of them give me the countdown speech:
Well, we need to have Babies in our 30s because if you have one in your 40s, then YOU’LL.JUST.DIE, and you want your first kid at 30, 32 at the latest, and you want a few years with your husband before having kids, which is 28 or 29 – and you probably want to be engaged for at least a year or more before Marriage so that’s 26 or 27, and you, ideally, want to date your potential husband for a couple years before getting engaged, so you should have met him, like, yesterday.
And this is supposed to make me feel better? My anxiety just increased 10 fold.
Everyone wants to know these days if I can picture myself with my significant other and you, Marriage. “Are you guys going to get MAHWIED?” is all I hear. The eff if I know. It’s not that I can’t see myself with him, necessarily, it’s just that I. don’t. think. about. it. I know some hopeless romantics are reading this right now and saying the quintessential Polly Prissy Pants line, “Well that just means he’s not THE ONE for you.” Riiight. And they know this because…they read it in their crystal ball?
Really, all I can think about is keeping my sanity. And my bank account. Cause it’s damaged enough as it is. And by sexy suede boots, expensive makeup, luxurious lingerie and more earrings than you could count. NOT by 14-tiered mascarpone cakes, house payments, diaper service, nannies or sippy cups. And the latter list is SO much less appealing than the first, so I’d rather not trade. Thankyouverymuch, Marriage and Babies.
So please, please, can I drag out these “single” 20s for as long as possible? And can my friends stop giving me the countdown speech, or can you cover my ears every time there’s any dose of “reality,” along the lines of cracked nipples or losing the *spark* in the bedroom, coming my way? Cause really, what about that gives me something to look forward to? I’d like to live in my little 20-something bubble, without either of you, for as long as humanly possible.
I’ll get back to you when I change my mind.
I seem to be going back and forth between Halloween posts and Election Day posts – two things I’m very passionate about. My apologies if you don’t feel that passionate about it, you should probably stop reading now…I was sent a grand little e-mail this morning, that I just have to share since we’re moments away from a HUGELY exciting and nervewracking election (which I’ll be spending at the bar) FYI – THIS IS A JOKE :
Dear Red States,
If you manage to steal this election too, we’ve decided we’re leaving. We intend to form our own country, and we’re taking the other Blue States with us. In case you aren’t aware, that includes California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and all the Northeast. We believe this split will be beneficial to the nation, and especially to the people of the new country of New California.
To sum up briefly: You get Texas, Oklahoma and all the slave states.
We get stem cell research and the best beaches. We get the Statue of Liberty. You get Dollywood.
We get Intel and Microsoft. You get WorldCom.
We get Harvard. You get Ole’ Miss.
We get 85% of America’s venture capital and entrepreneurs. You get Alabama.
We get two-thirds of the tax revenue, you get to make the Red States pay their fair share.
Since our aggregate divorce rate is 22% lower than the Christian Coalition’s, we get a bunch of happy families. You get a bunch of single moms.
Please be aware that Nuevo California will be pro-choice and anti-war, and we’re going to want all our citizens back from Iraq at once. If you need people to fight, ask your evangelicals. They have kids they’re apparently willing to send to their deaths for no purpose, and they don’t care if you don’t show pictures of their children’s caskets coming home. We do wish you success in Iraq , and hope that the WMDs turn up, but we’re not willing to spend our resources in Bush’s Quagmire.
With the Blue States in hand, we will have firm control of 80% of the country’s fresh water, more than 90% of the pineapple and lettuce,92% of the nation’s fresh fruit, 95% of America’s quality wines, 90% of all cheese, 90% of the high tech industry, 95% of the corn and soybeans (thanks Iowa!), most of the U.S. low-sulfur coal, all living redwoods, sequoias and condors, all the Ivy and Seven Sister schools plus Stanford, Cal Tech and MIT.
With the Red States, on the other hand, you will have to cope with 88% of all obese Americans (and their projected health care costs), 92% of all U.S. mosquitoes, nearly 100% of the tornadoes, 90% of the hurricanes, 99% of all Southern Baptists, virtually 100% of all televangelists, Rush Limbaugh, Bob Jones University, Clemson and the University of Georgia.
We get Hollywood and Yosemite, thank you.
Additionally, 38% of those in the Red States believe Jonah was actually swallowed by a whale, 62% believe life is sacred unless we’re discussing the war, the death penalty or gun laws, 44% say that evolution is only a theory, 53% that Saddam was involved in 9/11 and 61% of you crazy bastards believe you are people with higher morals then we lefties.
Finally, we’re taking the good pot, too. You can have that dirt weed they grow in Mexico
Dear February and March,
I loathe you. You are the worst two months of the year. Nothing exciting ever happens in February—who actually looks forward to Valentine’s Day, even if you do have a significant other? And does anyone ever really think to him or herself, “Oooh! Leap year is this year! The only thing I’ve ever liked about you, March, is St. Patrick’s Day (heart!), and the downhill slope to longer days and a warmer spring.
Usually by the time the two of you come around, I’m so sick of the Seattle grey that I’m ready to move— your weather is cold, and your days are dreary, dark and boring. You also force me to realize how many winter pounds I’ve put on over the holidays. With the onset of spring and summer mere months away, and my pants fitting slightly tight, my hate for the two of you grows. I am obligated to kick into extreme workout and healthy-eating mode—boor ing! And you know what February? You snatched my boyfriend away this year and snowed so much that I missed my cabin weekend away to Leavenworth. Damn you!
Oh but March, you’re finally treating me right this year. You’re only one week away, and I can’t wait to bid February adieu. I am looking forward to wrapping myself in you, March. Not only have Sarah and I planned a fun girly party at our apartment (sex toys and fondue. That’s right. I said sex toys and fondue), but you will be delivering my boyfriend back to me. Oh, how I count the moments. To top off the gifts you are bringing me, I also have a girl’s night planned to see Mamma Mia at The Paramount, will finally be getting vacation and sick pay through work with possibly a significant raise, AND I will be taking a crazy and sexy little trip to Vegas.
If only you could be this good to me every year…
See ya February! And hello March!
Your Fair-weather Friend,
Currently Feeling: Sexy in my new sparkly cardigan I bought last night.
Currently Anticipating: Seeing what this volunteer copywriting thing is all about tonight.
Currently Listening To: “Into the Mystic” by Van Morrison..over and over and over again. I can’t get enough!
I used to refer to you as my boyfriend and didn’t know how to quit you. But, I finally beat you down. Sent you packing. Told you to take a hike and didn’t look back. I don’t need you, your approval or your unrequited love! It’s been 60 days, cold turkey. Oh, how happy I am without you. Let me count the ways:
- My clothes don’t stink
- My coats don’t stink
- My hair doesn’t stink
- My car doesn’t stink
- I don’t walk into a restaurant or bar with a cloud of smoke around me
- I no longer sit and think about you the whole time I’m at dinner or out with friends
- I no longer have to be “that girl” who needs to excuse herself from social situations to step outside
- I don’t have to feel weird, hugging my parents or having them ride in my car, thinking they can smell you
- There aren’t mounds of ash on every surface of my car anymore, and I can sit through traffic without feeling like I’ll rip my hair out if I don’t have you around
- My friends no longer wrinkle their noses at me or give me disapproving looks because of you
- I don’t have to hide or feel self-conscious in any social situation, whether it is with a cute boy, at work, with strangers or friends
- I’m not spending an extra $25 plus on you each week
- I will no longer be spending four-pack, quick-death weekends with you at the Gorge
- As each day passes without you, my lungs and my health are getting increasingly better
- Quiting you is no longer a huge “To Do,” hanging over my head
- I won’t be that 60-year-old lady with wrinkly skin and a scratchy voice
- I’m just happier!
Thanks for the couple years you were around, but I won’t be needing your services anymore.
Currently Feeling: Severely boy malnourished.
Currently Anticipating: Getting back on the work-out horse this week.
Currently Loving: My mom’s chicken verde chili she sent home with me!
You have recently discovered, again, that having a boyfriend is time consuming. Somewhat exhausting. Having a boyfriend who is leaving and trying to squeeze in as much spare time with him as possible is just Plain Crazy. Now, suddenly having all the time in the world to do stuff that you’ve neglected and the days stretching ahead with not much planned, feels odd. I know you haven’t quite known what to do with yourself the last couple days cause you’re used to being busy. Let me refresh your memory with the mound of unfinished business or things that have been shoved to the side in your boyfriend and holiday haste. Here’s what I’m looking forward to you focusing on in the next couple months, Self:
- Actually using that elliptical trainer you received for Christmas three times a week. Cause it’d just be tragic and embarrassing if you let it turn into a dust collector like all the fat people who think buying a piece of exercise equipment will solve their lifetime of laziness and Cheeto-bag eating.
- DEEP cleaning your room, including all surfaces that have rings from glasses of red wine, sparkles from spilled makeup and food smudges from late-night drunken binges on inappropriate things like Top Raman. This Deep Cleaning might also include organizing your room, which has done nothing but drive you crazy lately. Organizing might include: sorting through the dirty clothes mixed with the clean clothes on the floor and putting them away in their respective spots; finding every shoe from the missing pair and putting them in your shoe rack; finally putting your Halloween costume away in the box; hanging up the six jackets that are piled on your desk; picking up the laundry that has been hanging in the laundry room for a week and bringing it upstairs; folding all your socks and finding the missing pairs that have been shoved into your sock drawer every time you’ve done laundry for the last eight months; hanging up each of the 20 plus earrings that are all piled on your nightstand right now and not hung in their color-coordinated respective spots in your earring organizer; throwing away all the makeup, eyeshadows and lip glosses that have been in your makeup bins since college and YIKES, high school; and sweeping every nook cranny and surface of the hardware floors that has little particles of dirt you drag into bed with you every night.
- Get back into cooking and eating healthy. Stop going out to expensive, unhealthy dinners and pull out those cookbooks you’ve had in the cupboard, collecting dust for quite some time now. Use your crockpot. Focus on jumping back on the South Beach bandwagon and sticking to it. Cause you know, Self, that you refuse to be one of those “I got fat cause I’m comfortable in a relationship” people.
- Work your little butt off to finish the birthday gift for your Dolphin Sisters that you started, gasp, more than a year ago and haven’t looked at in at least nine months. It is, after picking it back up yesterday, quite thoughtful and will be amazing when it’s done. You owe them to finish their gift the second year around.
- And hey, Self, here’s a great idea. Why don’t you go back to being the person who actually finished a book when they picked it up? You’ve left unfinished books left and right since September. They all seem to grab your attention for a short while, but then you get busy and bored with them. I’d like to see you finish ONE if not FOUR books in a row without giving up.
- And you know what else, you’re rapidly reaching 3,000 photos on your computer that are bogging down your hard drive, making it slow and annoying to use even though it’s only two years old and it’s a glorious, long-lasting MAC. These photos are all your memories, laughter, friends and fun for the last four years. It’d be a shame if they all of a sudden, one day, were swallowed by the sad Mac. You should probably look into cataloging them onto DVDs or CDs and cleaning up that beautiful computer you spent a small fortune on so you can be a little more happy with it’s performance as of late.
- Oh, and hey, Self. How about that new job?
Currently Feeling: Sigh. Back on Phase One. Booooring.
Currently Anticipating: A relaxing three-day weekend with my sister, friends and a good book.
Currently Loving: That I checked off the Deep Clean last night (up till ONE-THIRTY AM) and have a sparkly new room.