Sunday, October 16, 2011

21

crazy sweetpea.
My 21 year old self used the word "hella" non-ironically.
She worked three jobs, went to school full time and went out dancing 3-4 nights a week.
Unsurprisingly, she regularly slept in until 2:00pm on the weekends.
She made a lot of lists and schedules.
She loved school.
She cursed like a trucker.
She lost her dear friend and cousin to leukemia, and handled the news with tears and a bottle of champagne in the bathtub.
She was a great record keeper.
She was unabashedly, brutally honest in private, incredibly passive and non-confrontational in public.
She lived in her head and could be really hard on herself.
She was a wild, spontaneous party girl.
She fell absolutely head over heels in love with New York City.
She was an expert in turmoil creation.

Recently I dug through my livejournal in search of the name of a sweet sailor I met years ago in a Hawaiian bar when I was barely old enough to be there. In looking for the gentleman's name, I ended up sifting through a year's worth of drama and trauma, joys and triumphs, lists and unsent letters. I laughed and cried along with the detailed, raw reality of my 21 year old self and found myself filled with gratitude for the way I used to document my life. My memory tends to be spotty and it's lovely to be reminded.

For all her havoc, my 21 year old self was pretty wise. She had smart, safe rules and boundaries around intimacy that limited her experience, but prevented the kind of damage that can leave young people prematurely jaded. If she looked at the last year of our life she would wag a finger and wonder at the ability we've seemingly developed to totally ignore our own truth, despite all this consciousness work. As much as I've learned over the last six years, there were lessons already learned that my 21 year old self would like me to remember:
1. Just show up. She wasn't always perfect, but this woman was committed. She would go to class or work even if she was exhausted or hung over. She had figured out the power and importance of consistently showing up to her life, and she did so fiercely.
2. Use discrimination when letting people close. As much as her prudence might've been fear motivated, it kept her body and mind safe and sacred.
3. Tell the truth. She could be timid about speaking honestly to others, but she was very much in touch with her own truth privately. Because she was so honest with herself, it almost always kept her out of sticky situations.
4. Push yourself. You are so capable. This woman worked so much, so hard in so many ways. Her ability to do so could be attributed to her springy youth, but she was also very self-motivated and hungry. And it's that kind of youthful zeal that accomplishes great things.

The only thing I think I could really teach my 21 year old self is something I'm still working on everyday: Relax. Drop the drama. Loosen your jaw. Be renewed in play. Get out of your head! Life is so important and serious, and also not. You can't be serious about everything, dear 21 (27) year old self. Choose your serious battles wisely and wage them flexibly. Breathe. Everything is and will be okay.

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