reflection | 21


"I act and react, 
and suddenly I wonder, 
'Where is the girl that I 
was last year? Two years ago? 
What would she think of me now?'" 
-Sylvia Plath 

someone asked me to participate in a "where were you at 21?" post on instagram. basically, you post a photo of yourself at twenty-one and talk about who you were then and how far you've grown and all that you've learned, and blah, blah, blaaaahhhhh.

well, the truth is that i don't remember much of twenty-one because i was drunk the majority of it. the only photos i could even find from that year were taken by someone else from my birthday soiree where i wore a crown and a sash and had a metallic dress on. it was horribly embarrassing.

i may not be able to tell you what i did when i was twenty-one other than drink a lot of beer, but, i can definitely tell you who i was, who i wasn't, and who i didn't think i'd ever become.

at twenty-one, i was lost. i had no idea what i wanted to do or who i wanted to be. in fact, i was a train wreck. joe and i already had a few years of break-ups and make-ups under our belt, yet, we still had no idea where our relationship was going because it appeared that we wanted different things out of life. there was so much uncertainty within our relationship that i rarely knew where i stood or if he stood with me. it turned me into an insecure nightmare. i was a student, experiencing the most difficult course load of my college career. i also happened to be absolutely heart-broken by the sudden loss of my maternal grandfather (marlo's namesake, thomas mclean) just a few months prior.

i was angry with the world, for reasons that i'm saving for another time, and had no idea how to process why or where to begin expressing it. at that point in my life, i was still convinced that being happy was the ultimate goal and, that if you weren't happy all of the time, something was wrong with you.

i wasn't happy all of the time. hell, not even close to most of the time; therefore, something must've been wrong with me.

coincidentally, when i was home this past weekend, my dad randomly asked me what i'd tell my younger self. he asked me what warnings i'd give her, or what (or who) i'd ask her to stay away from. my response wasn't what he expected.

"you were right," i told him. "i'd tell her that she's right and to keep on doing whatever it is that she needs to do to figure it out on her own."

mind you, this response was on the spot. but, the truth is that i really wouldn't tell her to not make the mistakes she made or the decisions she now wishes she could take back. instead, i'd tell her to be more unapologetically her, to put her foot down when she knew that she should. to stick to her fucking guns when they're blazing.

i'd tell her that rocking the boat is something that she's particularly good at so don't stop doing it when it needs to be done.

i'd tell her that the questions that she has about why her relationship is so difficult and why she fights so hard for it will be answered in a few years. i'd place emphasis that the answer will be worth more than everything in the world.

i'd tell her that some things were not her fault and they never were.

i'd tell her that some people just aren't capable of keeping up and that it's okay.

i'd tell her to not drink so much.

i'd tell her to say no more often.

i'd tell her to keep her ass out of the sun because she will absolutely regret it.

i'd tell her that it's okay to be different and being different is actually far better than the alternative.

i'd tell her to not seek comfort in the arms of people when she's hurting, and instead, to try to find it on her own.

i'd tell her to travel without an agenda after college, something her adult self deeply regrets not doing.

i'd tell her to live her life on her own terms, to keep listening to her intuition because it will prove to be spot on.

and most importantly, i'd tell her that it will all be okay.

it will all be more than okay. 


Unknown said...

Isn't growing up a beautiful thing? xx

SRO said...

Good stuff. You know I love the Sylvia Plath reference.

Anonymous said...

love this. its perfect to have it documented now, this is something she will appreciate reading in the future.


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