26 Things I Wish I Could Tell 24 Year Old Me- As I Turn 27

 I’m turning 27 on Monday and I can sincerely say that the last two years have been crucial in my personal development. I think about who I was on the cusp of turning 25 and the difference between then and now is so drastic it’s hard to believe that it’s the same person, never mind that I’m that person. Below, I’ve made a list of things I wish I could tell 24 year old me.These are in no particular order. Enjoy.
 
1. There is no right or wrong way to grieve-just healthy or unhealthy

Healthy: Taking an unplanned moment  to shed a few tears because they are relentless.
Unhealthy:  Doing so heavily intoxicated in the bathtub.. on a regular basis.

Take notes.

2.  Going into work hungover stopped being cool last year. It becomes sadder the older you get.

In fact, getting hammered on the regular stops being cool around this time too. Your body agrees with this.

3. On the other hand, leather jackets are VERY cool. You are the kind of girl that can pull one off, you just don’t know it yet.

You will meet her in a year at the TJ MAX in Dorchester and it will be a religious experience. You will feel more confident in this thing than you ever did in a pair of heels. Added bonus, the confidence will stick around, even when you’re not wearing the jacket.

4. It’s just a job.

Say this over and over again until you believe it- It is just a job. See it this way, if it were a relationship and it made you this miserable, would you stay? No. Don’t be afraid to walk away and do whatever you got to do to get there.

5. Awesome things will happen the minute you stop being afraid of people reading your writing.

Even if your writing sucks, it could make you rich- just ask E.L James.

6. Remember when people said you and your best friend will lose touch after she gets married? LIES.

In fact you guys will get closer. How? Because neither of you define yourselves entirely based on your relationships and you both are really into your interests and each other’s as well. Don’t sweat this one, really.

7. It’s empowering to turn down going out because you have shit to do. (And by shit I mean Netflix and sushi.)

Me time. Sweet sweet glorious me time. Sometimes you will only need a day of this. Sometimes you will need weeks of it. Either way, indulge.

8. Just cut your hair off already.

Look at you girl, all fierce and sexual looking! Damn.

9. You’re going to move to Chicago. It’s going to be terrifying but totally worth it.
The most important thing you will get out of this is that you will know anything is possible. Crazy, right?

10. When you remove expectation and start loving people as they are, you have much more fulfilling relationships.

With everyone, including yourself.

11. That being said, remove toxic people from your life and don’t let toxic people in.

Ain’t NOBODY got time for this. Believe it or not, you will have less time for this than you ever had before.

12. You will start feeling too old for this shit.

This sort of relates to #11. This is a good thing-it means you’re growing. 

13. Don’t let anyone tell you you’re not enough of anything-especially a guy.

If someone tells you you’re not girly, cute, funny, smart, or whatever enough- tell them to fuck off in the most poignant way possible. Don’t change for someone ever. The only person you got to lose is yourself. I know right? Big deal.

14. It’s OK to have emotions.
Don’t hide them just because you think other people don’t have them. 

15. It’s OK to not like kale.

You will meet a dude named Kale and he will be your friend, but in terms of the veggie type thing, people will be all about it all of a sudden and it just wont be your thing. In fact, a lot of things just wont be your thing that people you know will be all about. Differences are awesome, just don’t be douchey about them.

16. On the other hand, holy fuck cilantro!
It’s like the basil of Mexican cuisine! But really, herbs are to food as accessories are to outfits. You will have a moment when you will start to understand them and it will oddly have this profound effect on you. Enjoy it.

17. Notice how you’re not sad that everyone is getting married and having kids and you’re not? 
GOOD. You just started to learn how to judge yourself by your own path. A lot of people don’t figure that out. I could say to hold on to this little pearl of wisdom with everything you have but it won’t be difficult for you. 

18. You’ll lose people you care about, some in major ways and others in more of a metaphoric sense.

You won’t be ready for it. This isn’t to get you paranoid, this is just to help you understand that A LOT is out of your control. Trust the process. Grieve, adjust, carry on.

19. When you bike, wear a helmet.

Chicago drivers don’t get bikes. Don’t assume they can see you either. 

20. Try yoga again. You will like it this time!

And you will start to hate it if you miss a week. The stretching will feel good, you’ll get the endorphin high, and all the Down Dog will tone up your abs. Glorious!

21. People talk with their insecurities and it comes out in the form of hate.
Remember this when someone is rude to or is gossiping about you. People who are secure in themselves don’t gossip because they don’t care and because they have better shit to do.

22. You will wish you had done all this sooner.

Be happy that you’re doing it now.

23. It’s all beautiful, even the messy parts.

Even the sad, gut wrenching, empty parts. It’s all part of the process. It’s all part of life. Try to get something out of each experience, even if you have to go digging for it. Doing this will leave little room for bitterness. 

24. Sometimes, you just have to celebrate the little things.

You got out of bed on a day you really REALLY didn’t want to? You saved someone a tongue lashing they probably deserved? Hell, you got lost in your new city and found your way back without having to call your roommate? Celebrate with a glass of wine, a bubble bath, or by wearing your favorite dress tomorrow. It’s OK. You’ve earned it.

25. Keys, phone, wallet, glasses. 
I can’t believe I still have to tell you this.

26. You will start to learn how to invest in yourself.

And it will be the most rewarding thing out of all of this. Trust me.

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Post Caterpillars

(Every now and then I get shocked by all the changes that have happened and I have this moment of panic- like it finally hits me that his is my life. With everything still very much in flux, it’s hard not to get caught up in the crazy, least for a moment or two.

Yesterday morning I woke up feeling pretty uncomfortable, so I tried to reason with it through my writing. Below is the outcome.Changes and transitions-the ever present theme in my life. My friend Steven says I’ve made a career out of this state of being.)

 

When we’re kids during early science lessons, we are taught that the caterpillar becomes a butterfly. It goes into a cocoon, hangs out in there for a little bit and it comes out bright and vibrant, with an ability to fly.  We are never exactly told what happens in there.  In reality, the digestive juices once used to process the caterpillar’s food end up eating the caterpillar itself. Scientists sometimes refer to this as a “partial death.” From there a new body, the butterfly body is built.

Partial death-I feel that way sometimes. There isn’t much of my psyche that feels attached to the life I had back in back east. With the distance, all my relationships have changed, including the one with myself. While I recognize I’m not the first time to pack up and go, and I’m aware I won’t be the last, I feel as though I’m taking it a lot harder than most. You know the start of the flight where the wheels lift off the tarmac and you feel totally weightless? I feel that way all the time. I’m white knuckled holding on to nothing that could save me if something were to go wrong thousands of feet off the ground, but I tell myself that I got this. I have a college degree and health insurance. I have a job that I can do and I clean up alright.  Gone are the days where I would sleep with dudes just for attention’s sake, or drink myself until daylight. I got this who adult thing. I’m stable.  

But I am I? With the highs feeling drug like and the lows like a car crash I can’t be sure.  In doing something entirely for myself I’ve created this bubble of isolation that people either can’t relate to or is too intricate to be worth getting to know.  I’m not sure if it’s fear or exhaustion or the mix of both but I know I’m starved for someone in this city to just get it and because I continue to play it off like it’s nothing, I keep attracting people into my life who move through the days effortlessly without thought or sense of heart. I can do this shot for shot and dance to some electropunk band that seems so popular here but what I need is a pub and an Irish man playing a mandolin. I need another lost soul wearing a Red Sox hat who knows why I had to get out and why I can’t go back, at least not yet.

Here I am. Walking around city that’s 10x bigger than the one I grew up in, 7 months, a thousand miles, and a million worlds away and looking the part but feeling like a beetle without it’s exoskeleton, or a jellyfish unequipped with the sting.

So here’s to all you caterpillars swimming in the sea of uncertainty for what feels like eternity. Here’s to all you somewhat thriving individuals who look like complete people but would expose all the cracks if someone looked in your eyes long enough to see them. You are the way that woodworker sees his unfinished project beautiful.  You are the slow simmer of your crock pot beautiful. You are the stretched conversation with your best friend because you need to keep them on the phone for  just 5 minutes longer beautiful.  You are still at the part where you are digesting yourself so don’t be mad that you are not yet a butterfly.

Dear Internet- I Am Not Sad

I don’t know how to say this to you largely in part that my virtual proof of existence claims otherwise- but I am not sad. I am stressed and confused, and maybe a little lost in varying degrees on any given day. I’m working through those emotions by either thinking too much or not at all about things that are either too important too ignore or not significant enough to consider. 

And while I have moments of sadness Internet, I am not sad. 

I am grateful that even if I sit perfectly still and do nothing, my life gives me enough stories to share. I am happy that people enjoy these stories. I still get giddy when people say I’m well written. 

I am happy that I know I am capable of doing whatever I want, though I may find the means completely terrifying.

I am confident in a way I’ve never have been before. I have tired myself sick of the dating game. I won’t listen to when you say I’m too rough or too masculine. I know I’m salacious. I love being a woman. I can access alluring parts of myself at any moment I just chose not to because my energy is in dire need of being directed to other places. I enjoy every freckle and every curve, even the one of my crooked smile. 

I’m not scared to talk about the sad though, in fact I think we all need to talk about it more. Life is awkward and unfair. It’s relentless and exhausting.  I’ve found the older we get the more we are afraid at how we feel. Let that go. Let us shake our false identities that tell the world we are happy all the time. We are not walking photographs of ourselves- we are people. Our ability to experience life deeper than face value is exceptional and should be celebrated, not hindered or ignored.

So Internet, as you may know, I got a lot of feelings and many more things to say. But I save it for a topic that is less in my defense. I am not a sad girl or a happy girl I am not a wise girl or a dumb girl. I am me. I am usually all, but sometimes none of it and I refused to have my journey to be reduced to just one thing.