I believe firmly in the notion that we do not remain the same person all of our lives; that if we could get into a time machine and go back we wouldn’t even recognize ourselves. Would we physically be able to recognize ourselves? Of course, but mentally? Could we really comprehend what was going through our minds on a daily basis in the past? Not completely, no.
If I could go back in time three years to age 15 I would still look pretty much the same, regular old Plain Jane doing what I do best, worry. If I were to step back into my mind? Oh boy. I’d see self-loathing, a bundle of anxiety I didn’t understand, and a mess of things I couldn’t do anything about but still had the displeasure of constantly worrying about them. I’d see a girl falling apart and trying her best to hide scars on her wrist and smile like she wasn’t losing her mind and her hair wasn’t falling out from stress. I’d see a girl who was trying to put back together the pieces of a broken mind without a clue, desperately clinging to what she believes is a beautiful lie “it won’t always be this way, it gets better.”
If I could go back 5 years to thirteen I’d find myself in an even worse mind set. Death seemed to be the only answer, voices screaming to take those pills, rip the flesh from my body anyway possible, thrashing on the floor raked with pain followed by complete numbness. Make up covered the redness on my face from tears, a black wristband covered the open wounds on my wrist as I smiled and played the part I thought I had to. Perfect daughter, perfect student, perfect friend.
Rewind to eight years ago, ten years old and I’ve been betrayed by someone I tried to help. Standing up for a friend only to have them laugh as I’m pushed under the metaphorical bus. One word is my undoing, now I’m alone and everyone in my grade has turned against me. I don’t speak at school anymore, only one word a day and it’s to my teacher “here” as she calls attendance. I sit alone while outside and watch the shadows move, learning how to tell time by them. I wait to be able to go home, counting the time until I can take that beautiful ten minute walk home from the bus stop. Lies are spread about me before my eyes. Everyday spent contemplating non-existence and alternate realities where I don’t exits, I was never born. The thought almost is enough to make me smile. Almost. Clinging to the thought “make it to three O’clock.”
It’s crazy what time does to a mind, what life can change in you. Even if I traveled back a year I’d see someone I didn’t quite understand. A year is a long time, things have changed. What would I say if I could go back?
I would tell 17 year old me that there’s nothing wrong with being a bit of a slacker sometimes. You don’t have to go around trying to be better than everyone at everything to prove a point to those who doubted your mother. It’s your life…and if those dopes can’t see how amazing mom is then they clearly are too stupid to be bothered with.
I would tell fifteen year old me to breath. High school isn’t actually as important as you’ve built it up to be. Yes you have to graduate but no its not going to ruin your life if you only do school work 6 days a week instead of seven and 14+ hours straight of school work with a few 5 minute brakes is really not a good idea. I didn’t try to overachieve senior year and got straight A’s but just doing what I could mentally handle. It gets better, honest. MENTAL HEALTH IS CRITICAL TO SUCCESS!
I’d tell 13 year old me to stop bottling things up. No one can be perfect. Why do you think YOU can? Also medication for anxiety and depression would have been pretty helpful if I’d asked.
As for ten year old me? This one goes right back into the one word that destroyed me; if you say someone is being a bitch and their friend hears it and then the next time you see them they’ve formed “The Bitch Club” and dedicated all of their time to hurting you. Take a big bow because you’ve got the most egotistic popular brats in school admitting to everyone exactly what they are. Besides, those people won’t matter in a year anyway, in fact you won’t see the leader again for seven years when she waddles past you as one of the least popular girls in school. As petty as it may be, you’ll smirk to yourself thinking about how she thought she was the “Queen Bitch” when in all honesty, that title belongs to karma. All the hours spent crying yourself to sleep, dreading waking up in the morning, losing sleep on Sunday nights knowing you’d have to go back into that hell tomorrow, and contemplating death v. non-existence will all seem like old scars. You may still hurt every now and again when the memory resurfaces but at 18 you’ll look back with pride at how you handled yourself. Sticking up for others, even if it means taking their place in the execution line isn’t something I’d regret. I’d do it all again if I had to. Remember this, karma is a bitch.
I look back at my life’s major events and only part of me can really comprehend my thoughts and actions. Over the years I’ve grown up, and I know I’ll continue to do so. Who knows where I’ll be in 5, 10, 15, or even 50 years? Hopefully wherever I end up it’s good. I don’t really care where life leads me so long as I can sit back at the end and say, “Everyone who touched my life changed me. Everywhere I went taught me. Every adventure shaped me. I’m who I am because of everything life gave me, every test and reward. I’m a better person for my experiences, no matter how big or small. I lived well.”