The picture on the left was taken 4/20/13; The picture on the right was taken 4/21/13, right in between the hours of 2 – 4 am. 4 years ago. This is the first time I have ever shared the photo on the right, which is pretty funny if you think about it, because this picture can be found by anyone with an internet connection. The irony is not lost on me. I guess it just feels different to openly share it; As if I am saying, “Hey! Look at this photo that I am not proud of, but also, a photo that I am proud of!” And I am proud of it; for a handful of reasons.
I look at this picture and I see a girl that I once was; not who I am. I look at the girl in this photo and I just want to tell her that she is not alone, that she doesn’t have to self-destruct, just so she can self-discover. I want to tell her that things can, and will get better…
Below is what I would say to the girl I was 4 years ago.
Rock bottom is humbling, isn’t it? Now, I am not here to make you feel any worse than you already do, but I am here to remind you that you are so much better than this. I know you know this, but you tend to bury away the things that make you beautiful. I feel as though I must be honest with you, this is just the first bottom you are going to hit, and I am sad to say, that yes, they do hit harder, but I am not here to ruin any surprises; you will hit them when you need to.
Your life is about to get a bit tougher, and you only have yourself to blame. 1 year without driving privileges, 1 year with a probation officer, 8 months of required therapy, 50 hours of community service, and a lifetime long fear of seeing a cop in your rearview mirror. I know you will come out of this with a lesson learned, because I know how this will all play out over the course of the next four years, but I would be lying if I said that I didn’t wish this rock bottom hit you a little harder. It slowed you down, there is no doubt about that, but me and you both know this wasn’t going to slow you down completely.
I am proud of you for quitting your amphetamine addiction cold turkey. I have always been a firm believer that this happened because you needed something to wake you from the dark spiral you were going down with prescription meds. I am not sure when you developed the bad habit of self-medicating, but you have never been any good at prescribing a healthy amount.
I often think about what I would say to you, my 21-year-old self, if I were ever given the chance, and the biggest piece of advice I would want to give you is just, be better. Make better choices and stop trying to be someone, and something, that you are not. You are so smart, yet so naïve in so many ways. This self-sabotaging lifestyle you have found yourself in is not who you should want to be, but at the same time, that is all you knew, and I do not fault you for that, I just want more for you. You have a big heart, and quite frankly, you care too much about too many things, and you need to learn how to stop giving so much of yourself, because you don’t know when to stop giving, and this is how we lose who we are. I know that your intentions have always been good, because that is something that has never changed about us, but that doesn’t mean that your intentions were well thought out. You are impulsive to a fault, and your behavior often leads to being reckless, and that is all fun and games, but at what point do you draw the line?
You are not invincible, and this is something that you are going to keep fighting yourself on. In about six months’ time, you are going to go back to your old ways, and you are going to continue going through the motions for the next two years. That is, until you hit your next big bottom. The one that changes the game completely, but you are not there yet, and I still need to leave you with a few more pieces of advice:
1. Be nicer to your parents, because whether you like it or not, they are pieces of you, and this is not the person that they raised you to be. You lost their trust, and to be honest, you will most likely never get 100% of it back, but you did that, and all you can do moving forward is make sure that you won’t lose any more of it. Stop pushing away the two people that will be there for you no matter what, and remind them for the rest of their lives that your bad choices have never been their fault.
2. Learn to let go of what you cannot change. This has always been the hardest pill for you to swallow, and eventually you will get better at this. That day is not today, nor is it two years ahead of where you are right now. There is no point in stressing over what has happened. All you ever have is the moment, and to live outside of that will just make things that much harder on you.
3. Know that you are not alone in this world. It may feel like you are, but I promise you, that is so far from the truth. Four years ago, you were a sad, dark, heartbroken girl, who had this innate desire to see just how far she could bend without breaking. This is not who you were supposed to become, and if I have anything to say about it, that is not who you are going to be. Look around. Everyone around you is waking up and making the choice to do it all again. You are not alone, and you should never feel like you are.
I heard this quote the other day, and it completely stopped me in my tracks: “You’re only as sick as your secrets,” and I think that is so profound. You mustn’t hide who you are from those around you. Your denial, shame, and lies are going to eat you alive, and there is going to come a day where they all come spilling out. Stop trying so hard to hide from your truth.
Before I wrap this up, I hope you know that I am rooting for you. You are much stronger than you give yourself credit for, and you deserve so much more than what you have been settling with. You are a good person, with a flawed way of life, and to be honest, that is one of the things I love the most about you, and me, and whoever I become four years from the me I am today.
I know I didn’t tell you this enough, but I do love you, I have just always had a weird way of showing it. Within these next four years ahead of you, be better, because this is not who you are; this is just a chapter of who you are becoming.
I love you,
The 25 year old Megan