AGA Roll Call: Dear Me
I have putting writing this letter off for a long time, but it has never been far from my mind every time I come to post a blog entry. I think most of that is that I am finally coming to terms with the fact that in ten years time I probably will be around to read this letter, which only a few months ago was a hope that I couldnâ€™t quite grasp hold of, and now it seems a lot more realistic.
In a couple of months I am getting out of here and moving to Canada for a year (at this stage) to start a new life. Right now I donâ€™t feel like I am leaving much behind that I will miss, aside from a few people who I hope I will keep in touch with. A while ago now, Heather told me that as you grow older you start to make your own family, from people you really care about and who care about and are invested in you. I have started that process only recently, and I do hope that as I read this ten years from now I do have those people in my life, even if they are few, and I hope that I am one of those people in someone elseâ€™s life.
As I was thinking of what to write here I saw this roll call and just had to write this to myself. I ended up printing this exact letter out and putting it in a wood box of mine that i keep all my treatures.
I plan on opening it up in 10 years and remembering what I had to say.
Dear future self,
The date should be Feb 15th, 2017. Amazing to think youâ€™ve made it this far in your life. You are now 27 years old about to be 28; do you have that family you always dreamed of yet? Did you get married by 24 and have kids by 26? If not are you at least happy in your life right now? Whatâ€™s the world like now? I hope that gay marriage is legalized, I hope by then equality for all is actually not a dream but a reality. I hope that we donâ€™t have a republican presidentâ€¦and hopefully by then weâ€™ve had an African American or a woman as the president. I have all these hopes for the future but normally my hopes and wishes donâ€™t happen so I guess I can only dream for now and dream that my future self continues the fight for equality and doesnâ€™t give up doing whatever she believes is right and whatever she believes is the futureâ€¦.
To everyone who celebrates the winter holidays, happy holidays!
One of my favorite roll calls featured letters to our future selves, and so since I'm inspired by Dickens this time of year, I wanted to see what everyone had to say to their past selves.
Write a letter to yourself 5, 10, or even 15 years ago. What do you have to say to that little girl? What do you wish she had known that you know now? What do you want her to pay attention to, to appreciate more fully? What do you want her to avoid?
â€œWhen I dare to be powerful - to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraidâ€ ~Audre Lorde
You should be 29 right now, getting ready to approach your second "scary age." (The first was 23...you wanted to be married by then, remember.) I hope you have accomplished everything you wanted to by now. Do you remember going into the summer before you turned 20? You were going to do research on faith-based organizations and use that research as a jump-off point to change the world. Whenever someone asked you what you were going to do, you answered, with full confidence: "Get my law degree, get my masters and phd degrees, do Teach for America, apply for a Fulbright, then get married and have kids." When you look back, were those realistic words? Or were you just speaking what you thought people expected you to speak?
How's it going? You're on the verge of turning 28, right? By this time you should have graduated college 5 years ago, meaning its close to my military contract being up, isn't it? Hope that's working out well. Are you married? If not, are you seeing anyone? Do you have kids? If so, how many? Are you still in the Marines? Did you become an officer? What did you graduate from college with? Do you still see yourself as a feminist?
Remember me, though? So close to being 18 I can taste it; dreading and dying for boot camp to come and go; dating a dorky guy you love who calls himself an equalist; going to Ft. Worth in a few days; reading Ariel Levy's Female Chauvenist Pigs after The Devil Wears Prada; trying to figure out what seems definately right and definately wrong.
Dear Future Me,
I hope that you are reading this on the AGA website that you are still involved with. I hope that after you read this, you go back to your (my, our?) first posts, read them and laugh because your writing has improved by leaps and bounds since then.
I have so many hopes and dreams for you Future Kampire. Chances are that you have not achieved them all; I mean itâ€™s a lot to ask of anyone to have won the Nobel Prize for both literature and peace, so itâ€™s ok if you havenâ€™t done itâ€¦ yet. I hope that you have achieved some of our goals though. I hope youâ€™ve written a novel, or a collection of stories. I hope that you still dance when youâ€™re eating good food. I hope that youâ€™ve visited France and loved it and now speak French fluently. I hope that you are still optimistic, confident and easy-going, I hope that you are still in touch with your old friends and I hope that you are living somewhere in Africa when you arenâ€™t traveling.
I cry with you and Iâ€™ll hold you forever. You are NEVER alone. You are so strong, but with me holding you; youâ€™ll never have to be that strong again. The things you have trapped in your mind can now be released and youâ€™ll never have to feel embarrassed, inferior or naughty. I want you to just sit in my soul and forever illustrate your life and imagination. I will never abandon you.
I hope you know youâ€™re my inspiration for everything. I hope you know that youâ€™re not a burden, a bad daughter or an embarrassment. I hope you know that it was never your fault when they hurt you. It is crucial that you know that. If you will ever smile again, you must learn these things. There are so many things that you needed to know, that no one taught you. And because of that, I cry for you.
I feel weird writing a note to my future self. I'm not sure if there is going to be a future self or even a future. What if the world ends in the next five years? Ok, things will probably be fine and the world will still be here in the next few years. I guess I am not the type of person who thinks about the future as a real thing. I can't even imagine being 23, because I can't imagine being 19. Anyways..here goes...
Dear Future Me,
I have high hopes for you, future me person. I hope you have finally stopped being lazy and are doing something important with all of your free time. If you are reading this, it means you are on the computer...sad future me, very sad. Get up off your butt and do something, because now me has already spent enough time for the both of us being lazy. I hope you have gotten a degree or are on the way to getting your degree. If you haven't done that, then I hope you have your own small business that makes a decent amount of money. I hope you are painting, drawing or doing something involved with art because our high school art teacher would be very very disappointed in us if we never touched a paint brush again. Remember how good everyone thought I was? I also hope that you are active in politics in some way because we wouldn't want to disappoint our high school US history teacher, or even our 11th grade conservative english teacher who taught everything we said was rubbish. I hope you are vegan! I am trying so hard to become one so I hope you have stuck to it.
I have difficulty picturing what your life looks like these days, because for the past eight years things have developed this habit of taking unexpected twists and turns. But if there is one thing I have learned from those situations, itâ€™s that ultimately, I can still always take things in my hands and create something beautiful. So, while I canâ€™t imagine the particulars, I know that youâ€™ll have managed to make yourself quite comfortable.
I hope that you are still as madly in love as I am, and as madly passionate about literature. I hope that you still have that habit of putting both your feet in your mouth at the most inappropriate times, because Iâ€™d never want you to lose that honesty and that innocence. I hope that you still have an amazing circle of the most wonderful friends on earth to laugh and cry with. I hope you still run outside barefoot during thunderstorms. I hope you still write poetry. And I hope you still have the ambition and the drive to reach the things youâ€™ve set your heart on.
(Now say the title out loud, three times fast.)
I started writing this, got to the middle of page three, and realized that the sentiment that best characterized what I had written was doubt. My parents could storm into my room tomorrow, brandishing the book of lesbian erotica I bought, demanding to get some answers. I could spend the rest of my summer locked away at Camp Forced Heterosexuality, or be forced into enrolling in community college so my parents could drive me to and from school and keep an eye on me 24-7.
But at the same time, I could spend this summer being gloriously lazy, sneaking off to the GLBT-feminist bookstore to read for hours. I could get to school, make fantastic friends, maybe even have a romantic/sexual relationship--the prospect of that is still thrilling. It was never safe enough at home to flirt with girls. I hope you're laughing at this, back when your probably-lesbianism was still purely theoretical, instead of critiquing me and dwelling over what an awkward freak I probably am.
Dear Miss Daniella,
My, my, my, can you imagine. I know you used to daydream about yourself at twenty-one long before you were, but you never did daydream about yourself at thirty one, did you. But the little girl in long braids is not so far away; all that bubbliness and gutsiness came to fruition. And when you look around you, I'll bet everything glows.
Have you finally read more Joyce? I know he used to scare you, but it's only academia that makes Finnegans Wake such a burden. You have a tendency to believe them. Don't do that anymore, you can think for yourself.
Saving the world is awfully big business, so I'm sure you're still about it. Sommetimes I am ruthless, but I hope you've gotten over that in time. Patience and forgiveness, right, keep the bastards in your good graces. You can't win a crusade without converts.
I know you better than anyone. But still, I can't see you and I have no idea how you are. I know your dreams, the ones which will last a lifetime. Like writing Daddy's book, being well known and famous-having /him/ well known too.
Your dreams and hopes are mine. You want to move to Scotland, and make Daddy proud. You want a certain boy to recognize your beauty and accept it. You want to spend the rest of your life in happiness, to find some way to keep a steady money inflow...you even want to do something un-feminist and get married and spend the rest of your life with a certain someone.
This probably sounds a little dumb- I'm sure you know a lot know than I do at this moment.
I just want to remind you that things are going to be okay. I hope you're gloriously happy and fulfilled, but just remember, even if you're not- you've been through a lot, and even I know that you'll come out alright.
Even though things have already been tough for me, theyâ€™ve probably been tougher for you. A mental disorder like yours just doesnâ€™t go away. And thatâ€™s okay- you donâ€™t have to be perfect. Itâ€™s okay if youâ€™re not off all, or even some of the medication by now. Hell, itâ€™s okay if youâ€™re on more. I know you were hoping to be completely free of it, but even if youâ€™re not, know that the 20 year old you thinks that will be okay.
I had the absolute delight, during this year's Seattle International Film Festival, of seeing an amazing film, writer/director Lynn Shelton's "We Go Way Back."
In the film, the lead character Kate, a woman in her twenties, is confronted with her 13-year-old self via letters she had written back then to her older self, one for every upcoming birthday.
On the website for the film, Shelton says: "I once heard a writer refer to the 20â€™s as a womanâ€™s â€œgeisha yearsâ€. Feeling a little lost, she seeks direction from those around her and expends enormous amounts of energy fulfilling the needs of everyone but herselfâ€”particularly men. I certainly went through this phase in my own life and what breaks my heart about it is that it was not a lack self-direction and self-respect but rather a loss. At thirteen, I possessed a clarity of vision and a degree of self-confidence that I marvel at today. Somehow, the experience of adolescence stole it all away and it took me yearsâ€”decades, reallyâ€”to get it back again.