You don’t owe your younger self a thing. But your future self… hell, your future self deserves everything. The solo train trips to Manhattan in your favorite tarnished sandals. Running at midnight to the new Taylor Swift album. Wine for dinner and dinner for breakfast. Children to raise and child-like wishes to chase. A love that doesn’t leave and many before that do. Promises to give and promises to break. Perhaps you think you don’t want any of that right now, but you don’t know if your future self will. Your future self deserves a chance to make those choices. Your future self deserves respect. At a minimum, the whole world.
And one day, maybe far away or maybe even tomorrow, the bittersweet taste of gasping it all in will smile at you with its crushing heaviness like a cement blanket and fleeting weightlessness like a feather. I plead again. Don’t hurt yourself the way others have. Please don’t. Perhaps happiness isn’t choosing yourself today. Perhaps neither is love. That may be your truth. Yet this chokehold telling you that you won’t make it to see another day is a liar. She doesn’t know a thing about you. Perhaps I don’t know you well either. But I have also slept within the company of thorns, too young to have been dreaming of coffins and whether someone would have read a eulogy. Magazine doll-face at daytime and shaking to sleep at twilight. That was once me too. I do know a thing or two about surviving.
But these lies don’t. Liars never tell you that putting on your shoes will require less effort. Leaving the safety of the four walls at home will start to feel exciting again. You will be able to shut guilt behind the front door for a few minutes a day. Soon enough, these brief minutes will morph into long hours. Liars don’t tell you about how hope will hold your hand as you stand tall like a superhero, looking back at how hard you fought to choose life when it wasn’t choosing you. But I am. I am telling you that it is absolutely worth it. A naturopath did not heal my fatigue. A hot bath did not warm bones. A new relationship did not erase the old one. Another purchase of tennis shoes did not fill the gaping hole within. But faith did. Faith healed me. Daily, you’re going to have to choose to show up with your raw wounds on display as they slowly scab into healing, because nothing worthwhile happens outside of one’s volition. You gotta give your future self a chance to do more than just survive. And all the while, I’ll be waving my white flag, praying for you.