Dearest Former Self,
I am speaking to you from the year 2016: your fourth year in college, but not the last, because you decided to go to New York City for school. Sounds cool, right? It was for a while, but I’m here to tell you that things get pretty lonely, but there’s no shame in missing your home and your family at 20. And it absolutely doesn’t mean that you should give up on your big dreams, but you will come to find that happiness doesn’t come with a big city and a false face.
Let me explain. You know how they say remember this moment because you won’t remember that these are the good old days? Well, they’re right. At this moment, you’re probably happy, in rehearsal for something or other with a group of friends that you can’t imagine your life without. And I’m here to tell you something very important; you’re doing just fine. Though I know there is no doubt in your mind, you’re doing it exactly right. You were meant for this lifestyle, for the leadership that comes with it, and just about everything in between. But in college, actually possibly as soon as high school, you will come to strongly dislike a term that has likely been used to describe you--“theatre kid.”
Looking back, I seem to recall you never really liking it; you hate labels and groups and think everyone should define themselves. You still think that. In fact, I know for a fact you find nothing wrong with the term and anyone who uses it as a descriptor, really, you just don’t think it applies to you. And apparently, you’re right. You know the song “Belle” from “Beauty and the Beast”? You will come to relate to that song more than you can know now. It’s great that you know who you are, and love yourself, and have a high self-worth. You will not loose that, but it may be compromised from time to time, because, as it turns out, the one place that it seems like you’re supposed to fit in is the one place where you are not welcome. Okay, maybe that’s a little harsh--they say never write when you’re mad, right? Instead, let’s say it’s the one place where you will come to find that you do not belong.
Here’s the deal, and you’re not going to like it: you will second guess your choice as a theatre major. Crazy, right? But in the light of the loss of some of your entertainment icons (Bowie and now Prince *sobs*), it’s come to your attention just how immature and egotistical people are, especially in entertainment--thinking you’re superior comes with the territory, but I’m getting to that.
People are always making fun of their college selves in movies and TV, right? (i.e.: Ted Mosby, all the time, always) But, I mean, your theatre history class couldn’t even identify a picture of Patti Smith the other day. Not to be Carl Fredrickson over here (“Up” has come out already, right?), but how could aspiring artists be so unaware of what came before them? I hate to be ignorant about geography as a person, so how can artists be unaware of all the art that came before them? Have the blasted Kardashians and quick and easy fame and the like really had that much of a horrifying impact? Seriously, find what you love and study the crap out of it. I’m still doing that, and I consider myself a better artist for it. You know self, you started a Sk8ter Boi screenplay in seventh grade. But I digress.
As for being yourself, that’s one thing you are always, but you won’t stop, discovering what it means to be you. In fact, you’ve to stop apologizing so much, and you no longer consider guilty pleasures a thing; if you like it, then it’s awesome. End of story. On the apologizing note, I think Jeff Bebe (you know, lead singer in Stillwater from “Almost Famous,” the best movie ever) said it best when he said, “here I am, and f*** you if you don’t understand me.” You get that; you’ve been listening to Prince nonstop for three days, for God’s sake. But you also know something invaluable. Something that has been alive and well for a long time, but seems to radiate in your generation--there’s a big difference between being unapologetic and a straight butt hole. Here’s what that means--you will learn to be your own best friend. Friends will come and go, but the ones who matter and who are like minded will stay. And, more often than not, you will enjoy your own company, which will include the ones you truly love, on occasion.
I’m sorry this is a scatterbrained mess, but you know yourself. You write how you think and right now, that end of semester feeling is setting in, and with it, comes contemplation of where you are and where you’re going. Your friends are starting to graduate from college, get married and other adult things that seem unreal to you right now. You’re still trying to deal with the fact that Rory Gilmore is about to graduate college, and that happened almost 10 years ago. Here’s what I’m getting out; regardless of your observation of others and the inevitable feelings that come with that--inferiority, concern, the general feeling of being lost-- don’t forget who you are and who you want to be. Take a gander back through old photos, resume credits, your friend list and don’t forget how you got to where you are today. Don’t let anyone steal your sunshine because you are loved, and happy, and individual. It’s okay to be afraid. It’s okay to be really, truly different. It’s okay to dislike, as much as it is okay to love. It’s okay. All of it.
Keep doing what you do best, whether that means coping, living, passing the time, whatever, just do it, because it’s working for you. Look how far you’ve come and then look at the journey to come.
In Omnia Paratus (Ready for Anything.)