Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Journal 114 Dear Me Part One

All around the internet lately, I guess inspired by the melanoma ad titled "Dear sixteen-year-old me" bloggers are taking this to task.
The thought of writing to my sixteen-year-old self is vaguely horrifying, because I was one of 'those' teens, the type who loathed being a teenager, who saw their teenage years as something to be endured rather than celebrated, and looked upon graduating high school and subsequently, post secondary education, as an achievement best left in the archives, the attic of the brain, never disturbed by rational thought again.
I didn't peak in high school, I don't refer to my university/college days as 'the best of my life'. Anyone who talks about cheerleading and joining clubs in school can just keep on walkin'.

What DID surprise me about the many treatsies I read about "dear me" was how much women fixated on their looks, allowed it to define their early life (and continue to define their current life) and how little they discussed their actual accomplishments.

In case you're curious, I am not, and never will, write a "dear sixteen-year-old me" blog entry, letter, or journal rumination. I don't re-visit my teen years. Ever. But I will do a little spin on it. After all, I have lots to tell myself.
So without further delay...

Dear thirty-six-thirty-seven-thirty-eight-year-old Me,
I know that there are many years and ages before this one that you thought were the hardest, the toughest, the most frightening. And I'm sorry you were wrong. They were hard in different ways, the way twenty-four was after the robbery and that break-up that sucked.
And different from the way twenty-eight was with its punishing heartbreak.
Different, even, from those endless teen years where all you did was wish you were someone else, somewhere else.
You'll wish you were somewhere else this year too. But you'll stick with it.
Here's some short-range stuff:
Family Day, February, 2010 will be the last time you will have your whole family at your loft for a meal. You will grill chicken on the roof before everyone gets there, and your Mom, Dad, and sister will love the lunch you make. You will sit at the dining room table together in your loft, just the four of you, the way it's been all your life, and that will be the last time. It will be such a nice day. You will hold this memory forever.
Enjoy that Chicago trip, it will be the last piece of fun before you get some really really bad news. In that hotel room, you will feel a powerful intuition. It is sending you a message. Listen to it.
May 2010 is going to suck, that's all I can tell you. Listen to your Aunt's advice, as she is the person who is going to get you through this period. Her most sage saying will be this:
"Be still".
You will remember this and keep it within you at the most difficult points over the next three months. It's not just your Dad's cancer diagnosis that is going to make these few months extremely hard, but also a major betrayal by someone you trust.
The times you walk to Princess Margaret hospital to visit your Dad during evening chemo will be special for both of you. It is high summer, gorgeous weather, and the hospital has a rooftop garden that you will return to in memory alot. It's a place of peace. One evening you will go down to the hospital cafeteria and get your Dad some tomato soup with crackers to crush into it. He will enjoy this meal immensely. File this away. It will make you appreciate how wonderful eating is, and you will never again be as particular about your food.
You will change through this. It will be painful, and amazing, as all the biggest things in life are.
You will make a pivotal phone call one late night in June. You will spend many late nights this fateful summer on the phone with this person. You will ask yourself if you are falling in love.
You are.
You will plan a vacation at the end of the summer, and at the time it just seems like something to do to get out of your head. It will be much more than that. In Central Park, you will see a man whom you are certain is an angel. Pay attention. This is your next warning.
Your Dad's prognosis will be looking good when you get back from this trip. You will be wary and worried. Before long, your intuition will be proven right.

You're going to get the flu at the end of the year and your New Year's Eve will be protracted by this. You will go a month without seeing your parents in the new year as you are too sick to be around them. You won't know why this is important yet.

If there is one point I will underscore continuously it's this: you must trust yourself even when your life seems to be breaking apart--something keeps guiding you.

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