Monday, December 12, 2011

Because I Was 19 Once...

I've seen a lot of articles and books lately where people write letters to their teenaged selves (they're now "grown-ups"). The more I thought about it, the more I realized I wanted to write my 19-year-old self a letter. Technically, I was a teenager, but that was one of the worst years of my life. Now, at the incredibly young age of 37, I am going to write myself a letter and go back 18 years.

Dear Erin,

What a year. Remember your 19th birthday, when the world was wide open, and you had plans for how the future was going to be? Your heart was whole. Sure, you had experienced pain and loss, but this, I promise you, will not break you.

It's scary to lose 13 pounds in two months because you cannot eat. I know it feels like the world is ending. There seems to not be any kind of future. Where do you go from here? Why, all of a sudden, does it seem like the whole world is crumbling around you?

This is a chance to learn. It doesn't feel like a learning experience right now - it feels like shit. Don't lose hope. Take this opportunity to remember who was there for you, because chances are, they will always be there for you. True friends will lop off your hair because you ask them to, because they know you are in pain and are doing what you need to to free yourself from that pain, one hair at a time.

ERIN - that guy, really? What the fuck are you thinking? You're not. You are looking for someone to pay attention to you, to love you again. But really, Erin, paying attention to you by ripping a phone out of the wall so you can't call for help isn't love. Threatening to bash in your windshield with your brother's bat while you are driving? He needs help. RUN, run fast, and run far. You know you are worth more than that.

It's scary to lose your way in life. Remember all those hours of playing Life (the board game) and how you got to choose different paths? This is one of those times. There is always another path.

Do not lose your fearlessness. This year will make you realize how utterly shitty life can be, but it will also make you realize, eventually, how very strong you are, and as you get older, you will become that much stronger in every way imaginable. You will do things you never thought possible.

I'm sorry, Erin, that this year happened. But I'm not. Because in time, you will look back at it and realize that this was the year you became you. Never stop learning, never stop dreaming, and most of all, never become someone who others think you should be - just be you. Remember when Lynne told you that you'd always be called "cute" and you just rolled your eyes? It works out when you're in your late 30s and still getting carded, kiddo.



Can you believe this was all because the kids from Beverly Hills 90210 graduated from high school and I was heartbroken? Just some humor, in case my writing touched you that much and you're weeping into your hanky.

This was amazingly cathartic. Take some time, and write yourself a letter. Pick an age that was difficult for you. Let it all out.


Corby Jo said...

Awesome Erin!

Carol McCracken said...

Well, tears ARE streaming down my face. Thank you Erin for being so are a gift to this world. I am going to follow your lead.

Carol McCracken said...

Well, tears ARE streaming down my face. Thank you Erin for being so are a gift to this world. I am going to follow your lead.

Erin said...

I hope they're good tears, Carol!
Thanks Corby!

Michelle Ingram said...

Thank you for sharing that.....i should have ran fast and far at 19 too
Love ya girl

Anonymous said...

It's amazing to me that someone as tough and independent as you can share such raw moments out of your life.

I do not know if I can ever open up the way you did. Not in public, at least.

Much applause to you! Donna

Sharon said...

I remember that year. Erin, you are amazing.