Notes to a Younger Self

Forgive your parents for never giving you an older sister. They had a hard time making you possible, on the first place. Besides, you’ll have tens of sisters looking after you by the time you reach my age. And if you are still not contented, know that you have a built-in sister system:

That’s the two other personas living inside you.

Do not freak out. Everything will turn out to be alright. You’ve probably noticed that something is strange about you ever since you were a kid. But not all strange things are bad. Let them grow. They are just like you. They eat, they sleep, they also fart. And because you all share a space of a body, you’ll be assured that there’s someone who is going to carry your shell home when you are already lost in your world of daydreams and emotions.

Befriend your other selves. Talk to them. Hang out with them. You’ll find out that they have their own ticks and they respond to different names, but they are still you in every sense. In time, your friends will learn and accept the difference. And even though they have a favorite persona to hang out with, they would still love you all the same.

You are one of a kind. Never shortchange yourself for a person others want you to be.

But even though as I speak this, I know that you’ll still go through that process (I wouldn’t blame you ‘cause I wouldn’t be here if you didn’t). You’d play it down and repress your other selves because you probably think that you suck, and you dress terribly. Yes, you did dress terribly when you were in high school. But be consoled that at least, the people who befriended you aren’t fazed by the way you look or the way you smell. They like you for who you are, hormones and all. Treasure them because they saw you when you weren’t even seeing yourself.  Yet.

Know that things will get better when you reach college.

But you’ll still carry that angst that you had by the time you meet new people in your university. It’s never easy to let go of something just by changing the way you look or the place you live in. You’ll grow your hair long. Dress in fancy outfits. Do things that the cool people in your high school think you’d never do. You’ll drink shots and shots of angst laced with curiosity, chased by regret. It’s a potent cocktail, after all. It makes you feel giddy and down at the same time. But please drink moderately. You need to get sober so that you’ll remember the names of the people who you meet in mixers. You won’t be able to do so when you are drunk; you tend to confuse their faces with those of the people who have hurt you in the past. You’d end up sitting alone at the bar because you think you are just in the same club no matter what you do. Again, do not shortchange the night for drinks. This is your time to dance. Revel in the beat and changing of lights.

At the end of the day, go home with the people you know you can have coffee and brunch with when you wake up the next morning. They are the ones who aren’t afraid nor intimidated when you start drunk-stripping in front of them. They are the ones who wouldn’t take advantage of you when you let your nakedness be exposed in full light. They’d probably lend you their underwear when yours lay forgotten in someone else’s bedroom. Stick with them. Do not return the things that they’ve given. Rather, pass it to someone else – to the next partygoer who’s wasting away like you did last time.

Do not break this chain of kindness. Someday, it will return to you but in a different form. When it comes back, do not keep it in your closet. Give it again to the next person in need. That’s the way life goes.

When lonely, do not wait in empty train stations. Do not chase after buses that have gone already. Never wait for someone to pick you up. That boy you’d texted would never come (back). He never promised to come, anyway. Learn to walk when public transportation fails. You’ll appreciate the landscape more.

When society tells you that actions speak louder than words, reply that actions should also be backed by words. When someone acts nice to you but doesn’t tell the reason why, it’s either because (1) he’s afraid, or (2) he’s a jerk. Have nothing to do with him. You need a man who has the balls to say that he likes you and can stand by it.

Instead, listen to people who love poetry. They have a keen eye for beauty. Observe how their words disambiguate defenses. Thus, they also make sense of your tedious and flawed way of thinking. Look at the world through their lenses. Befriend their muses. You’ll learn more about yourself when you do.

Not all things could be learned from adults. Sometimes, they are the very ones who would twist the ironies in you. Look not at the teachers but at the lessons. Take down notes. Pass it to your juniors who wouldn’t believe it anyway. When your theories get shot down or discouraged, understand that hostility is a mask of fear. You are probably treading on something that has yet to be discovered or tested. Continue. Not only for your own benefit, but also for those who would come after you. They’d probably believe when things get written in books.

But do not get complacent

Because change is constant. The things I’m probably writing right now might probably be not the same tomorrow. Likewise, I know that you’ll end up kind of different from the person that you know you are right now. Cheer up. You’ll see better days. You’ll also see worse days. But know that as long as you are willing to evolve, the future will save a space for you.

All the best,

Your (young) self.


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