Sometimes, when the world gets heavy and I don’t quite know where I fit or what I’m going to do, I imagine myself as a teenager. I imagine all the things I’ve done between high school and now. And I write myself a letter. While listening to Bon Iver.
Today, I needed to write myself a letter.
You’re nineteen; the world seems simultaneously too large and not large enough. You don’t know who you are. Not yet. You’ll spend the next five years learning. University will prove to be the best thing you’ve ever done. You learn more about yourself and who you are in those four years than you have before. You learn how to shrink. You learn how to expand. You learn how to be okay with who you are, even if you don’t like yourself sometimes.
During this time, you will have the closest friend you’ve ever had. You’ve both always been in each other’s lives, but college makes it so much more than what it was. You’re so close, people wonder who you are when you’re not together. It feels wonderful to be a part of a pair. For once, it feels like you belong somewhere. Your wings grow, but only in tandem with each other. You’re linked in everything you do. Where one begins, the other ends, and vice-versa.
You’ll get in a fight. You won’t know how to deal with it, so you’ll run away. You convince yourself of things that may or may not be true. You pull back. You give up.
I don’t blame you for this. I think, in a way, both of you needed this. You needed to figure out who you are without the other. So you both know that you can shine without the other. You do a lot more growing in the six or so months you don’t speak to her. You get to know other amazing people, people that mean the world to you.
And then, one day, something happens and she sends you a message on Facebook expressing her condolences. You realise how much you miss her then. So, naturally, when you hear something happens to her, you wonder if you should reach out. If you should extend that olive branch.
One day, Emily, you’re going to realise that getting older means letting go of old preconceptions you had. Life is a constant state of flux; what you say when you’re nineteen won’t be what you believe when you’re twenty-three. You’ll wear leggings. You’ll go out in yoga pants when you’re just too lazy to put on real jeans. You’ll say you’re sorry when you realise you’ve sort of been an asshat.
You’ll lose someone suddenly, someone you were so close to, and it’ll force you to recognise that you can’t wait to do all of the things you think you should do. You don’t know what will happen, but you know that staying silent will be far worse than any other consequence.
You’re going to make mistakes. You’re going to be pushed away and push people away.
And you’ll learn from it; you’ll be stronger for it. You’ll heal and you’ll grow.
And then you’ll reach out your olive branch. Not because it’s an attempt to hold the past, but because you’re finally, finally, ready to move forward.