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January 27, 2015

If I Could Talk to My Past Self, I Would Tell her This.

r.nial.bradshaw

 “This world is big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark.” ~ John Muir

I’m 27, will be 28 in July.

I’ve seen some great days, and I’ve seen some really sh*tty ones.

Most days I’m confused by the world but work hard to carve out my own path, based upon nothing but my own desires, hopes and dreams.

Most days nothing actually makes sense to me, except for fleeting things like a good dish of pasta or the salty air on my chilled cheeks.

So as I walk these yet-discovered cobbled paths, I can’t help but wish that my present self could have bestowed some of her wisdom on my younger one. In the hopes of saving some of the heartache, a lot of the tears.

If I could talk to my past self, I would tell her not to listen to any of the bullsh*t that anyone says about her. What do they know? Yeah, it will still cut, deeper sometimes than either of us cares to admit, but it doesn’t have to define her. People will always say sh*t about her, especially if she’s working her ass off to make herself something she’s proud of.

I would tell her that people don’t really like it when she goes against the grain. I’d tell her to keep doing it. It will matter in the end.

I would tell her to revel in the chaos, the confusion of this life. I’ve spent too much time worried that I’ve missed some important sign post or haven’t done something correctly. What does it matter? Continue to be amazed by where this crazy life leads her.

I would tell her what a beautiful girl she is and, for the love of all things good, do not listen to that boy who told her she was fat after they’d made love. I would tell her that curves are amazing and to start embracing them long before she turns 27. Rock what she’s got.

I would tell her that not everybody will be her friend and not everybody will be her enemy. I would tell her that it’s okay to trust people, but be discerning where she places that trust. Some people deserve it, and some people don’t. This is a big one.

I would tell her that sometimes the people who don’t deserve her trust are her own family members. And that’s okay. That doesn’t make her an awful person. That makes her smart and wise and protective of her ever-fragile heart.

I would tell her that it isn’t a challenge when people tell her she’s soft. I’d tell her she’s got a spine of steel but one of the biggest and softest hearts out there. I would tell her to guard that heart of hers, but not so much that she shuts people out, as I have done.

I would tell her that love can be beautiful and it can be destructive.

Actually, no, I wouldn’t tell her that. I would just tell her that she will be okay when she finds this one out for herself.

She needs to know what it is to love uninhibited by any constraint. But she also needs to know what it feels like to be hurt by the one she loved like that. Pain changes you, but for the better, and it’s a lesson every one of us learns, whether we want to look at it or not.

I would tell her that her brain is her biggest asset and, for the right person, it will be his biggest attraction. Hone it, expand it, love it. It is intrinsic to who she is and she should bask in its depths of random details and facts and articulated thoughts and creative insights.

I would tell her that she’s the bravest person I know.

I would tell her that the guilt she will come to feel about her family is misplaced. I would tell her that she does everything she could possibly do and after that, it’s not about her. It’s about the rest of them, and it’s not fair to her to let that guilt eat her up inside, darken her heart, weigh her down.

Let it go. They will make it.

I would tell her to master the life lesson of “let it be” a helluva lot earlier than I did.It is what it is and she can’t change it. Rather than let it bury her, I would tell her to let things be. If it’s meant to be, it will find a way. And if it’s not, well, at least she knows.

I would tell her that if she loves somebody, don’t ever be afraid to tell that person. Either he will feel the same way, or he won’t.

Either way, it’s a gift.

I would tell her to guard her time ferociously. It is the only commodity we have that can’t be replaced. Don’t waste her precious moments on somebody who doesn’t give a sh*t about her. People won’t like it, but it’s not about them. It’s about saving your energies for the people who matter and value your discerning heart.

I would tell her that sex is amazing and to not be so worried about it. Enjoy it, revel in it. Be smart about it and don’t sleep with everything that moves, but don’t be scared of it either. And do not let people make you feel bad for loving it.

I would tell her that, back in 2004 on that rainy night, things were bad and that, even though they were that bad, I’m glad she didn’t follow through. Really glad.

I would tell her that, although love hasn’t found us yet, I truly believe that it will. When the time is right. When the person is right. When we’re ready.

I would tell her to value her independence but not to hide behind it.

When people let her down and disappoint her, she’ll come to rely on only herself, and I want to tell her that it doesn’t have to be that way. Stand on her own two feet, but don’t build the walls so high that nobody realizes there’s somebody sitting in the gardens.

I would tell her not to agonize over the little things.The little things don’t change anything, and agonizing over them only costs her something she can’t get back.

I would tell her to eat the cheeseburger. And the cookies. And the candy. In moderation, but life’s short and she should eat what she wants.

I would tell her to write more. Write it all out. Write every day, write hard. Just write. And read. Read everything and anything she can get her hands on. I’ve done a semi-sufficient job of this, but I would tell her to do it better.

Lastly, I would tell her to savour every single experience that finds her.

Good or bad, she is about to learn something amazing that is meant for only her. These snippets will help buff the edges of her being, creating another facet of her extraordinary self.

I would tell her that I love her and that I’m so glad we know each other. That I will always be there for her, waiting for her, no matter what. That we’re in this together.

From then until the end.

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      Author: Kaley Walls

     Apprentice Editor: Keeley Milne/Editor:Renee Picard

     Photo: D. Sharon Pruitt/r.nial.bradshaw,flickr

 

 

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