On this October 7th, 11:50 PM, this 2017, finally turned 20.
What the fuck.
I call bullshit on this. I certainly don’t feel like a responsible, upstanding 20-year old a younger me would have looked up to with shimmering eyes. I’m honestly just as confused, helpless and mentally ill as I was back in year 15. The only thing I can really notice that’s changed is that I’m even more tired than before. And I’ve had more responsibilities thrown upon me in a worryingly unpredictable manner, that too. Like college, commuting, and being baffled that a train pass for the month costs in the hundreds of dollars despite a single ticket bagging only a few cents. Is this when I start sprouting grey hairs, or…?
But to go back to my main point, I honestly don’t feel like I’ve aged mentally at all. Like, I certainly have learned a lot more about being a better person, and handling things in life. But overall, I feel just as confused I was years ago. I still struggle with necessary life things, like getting up in the morning, cooking food (with the most temperamental toaster oven you’ve ever seen!) and now getting to class on time by train and walking across the Philadelphia cityscape. I really don’t know if I’m able to do what one would expect of a mature and responsible 20-something, considering I’m still into collecting cute plushies and reading mountains of gooey gay romance comics. Hell, I still talk about some of the games I own like I did back when I was just 8, blathering on and on about every little detail (as I always do), boring some and making others mildly uncomfortable. It’s all a really strange experience, and, well, I certainly don’t feel qualified for this temporal title I’ve been given, as well as the responsibilities and traits I’m expected to carry! But as they say, “Fake it until you make it!”, and if others have made it further, I suppose someone as battered and bruised emotionally as me can make it on to his late 100’s just the same.
… That’s a thought. Me being in my 100’s and still a huge, gay nerd as ever…
Anyway, I have a interesting idea to commemorate my progress thus far in my journey of life. Hitting a milestone like this is a good opportunity to look back from where you came, you know? (… God, I sound like such an old man already.) So, in a sort of fun little activity/writing exercise, I thought I’d write little messages to my past selves one by one, in a means of looking back on how (much of a mess) I was back in the day (and still am now, just a different kind of mess). So, from the start of things, let’s get started.
Why don’t you eat everything like a normal infant?! Most fresh from birth start cramming god-knows-what into their tiny mouths in hopes of figuring out what it is. From rocks to bugs to even dirt, some little baby has swallowed it down. But not you. Even baby food is too crude for you, you always spitting it back up as an acidic mess minutes later. People will rag on you for being choosy about what goes in your mouth, so you’d better prepare, even though you don’t have a grasp of language until a while later.
Though, good job on fooling everyone into thinking you were a girl for a long while just because they put the wrong hat on you. You’ll learn how bullshit that mess all is soon enough.
Congrats on getting motor control down pretty quickly! Even while stumbling around like a drunken sailor, you don’t topple down onto your face like many other children.
Though, maybe standing up perfectly without any practice and walking across the room unfaltering was slightly creepy. Yep.
Reading and talking are pretty interesting, aren’t they?
No, you have no idea. Being fascinated by the stars and having in-depth conversations with your Great-Grandfather (who you should listen more to, by the way) about your mortality is only going to make everyone set horribly impossible standards for you later on. Yes, it’s cute how you’re learning all the planet names and can list them by memory, but just do it far away from everyone else when they’re not putting you up on a stage.
For the love of god, listen to me! I need that safe academic path you’re ruining!
You have an unhealthy obsession with trains. It’s how your parents trained you to use the bathroom, by rewarding you in train toys every time you didn’t make a terrifying mess of the bed. Also, maybe, I don’t know, calm the everloving fuck down over trains? You elapsed into a seizure over getting one for Christmas that year, trying to get one open but your heart rate being too high for you to peel the paper off.
What the actual fuck is wrong with you.
Normal children don’t read grimdark Lemony Snicket books and laugh at all the dark humor. Normal children don’t defecate in their pants for their birthday and ignore it until Father notices the smell and loses it. Normal children don’t play games with their playsets where children die and get orphaned in horrible plane crashes. Normal children, mostly of all, don’t get into a high speed go-kart some stranger built in the parking lot nearby and try to drive it without a helmet while your folks aren’t looking. And succeed.
Wow. You really like video games. Like, way more than normal children. Most talk about it at school, or invite friends over, but you go way beyond that. Most kids don’t pretend to be Mario jumping around in their backyard for weeks on end. Most kids (at your age, anyway…) don’t write fanfiction about various RPG characters with horrible self-insertion. And most of all, most kids are able to talk about things other than video games. But not you. You just prattle on every day about the same game. For months. This is probably why your only friend is a kid as crazy and weirdly developed as you who lives next door.
I think it’s safe to say that everyone was relieved when you started to grow out of your gaming phase. Sadly, now you can’t really decide on who you are. I know this because I have your old sketchbooks, which show depictions of wizards one page and ninjas the next. Maybe just copying people you find popular isn’t the best idea? And maybe doing it so obsessively people find you creepy isn’t a good plan, either. Just… find what you like, you dope. Get a personality!
Welcome to high school! You’re gay.
No, really. You just have had such a terrible experience learning about gay people that you’re in major denial about it. Shouting compliments at all the popular boys? Oggling the guys in the locker room? Ghosting the latest guy on campus? Trying to dive under the water during a camping event to “catch a glimpse”? Those are not normal friendship things. That is violent, unstoppable, homoerotic attraction. Same goes for when you get introduced to the internet soon after, and finding all your “friendships” with guys online way more intimate than other bonds. And maybe talking about how cute the boys in your latest comic book are, too. And turning down every girl who asks you out.
Thankfully you’ll ditch the horribly religious school and finally develop an actual personality online, but it’ll be a long and painful while.
But you’re super gay. Just realize it already. You need all the time you can to put all this together and focus on your identity rather than being an insufferable blank slate of a human being. The internet is the greatest gift you’ll ever receive!
And that one boy in glasses you glomped in gym class is still hot as ever, by the way.
Okay, so you’re figuring yourself out, that’s good. You want to wear cute dresses sometimes, kiss boys, and buy all the gay novels. You also finally have a career plan, which everyone has been shouting at you about for the past 14 years. Well done!
Also, you’re doing all the emotional growing all those past years of trauma, abuse, and otherwise horrible experiences regressed. That’s… well, that’s good, but also you’re sort of a emotional tornado capable of tearing down every friendship you ever had in one swift blow. The growth is important, but please listen to people, for fucks sake. And don’t get attached to people. As cynical as it sounds, people you like will vanish from your life forever, and there’s no helping it.
Please. I need those emotional wounds you’ve created to start healing.
You’re just as messed up as the others (though you’ve made amazing progress).
Dear Arguably Billions of Other Iterations of Past Selves-
Thanks for doing whatever it was you did to escape my memory forever so I don’t try to save you in a letter from the future. Good job!