A Letter to My Past Self (2007)

Danielle in Paris

This piece is part of a series of diary entries I made. I originally wrote it as an introspective and therapeutic exercise, but I decided to publish it.

Dear Danielle,

What you’re feeling now will someday pass. I can’t promise it will be quickly – unfortunately, that’s not how depression works – but it will pass. And it does get better. It doesn’t get any easier – unfortunately, that’s not how life works – but I promise it does get better.

You are in the process of trying on one of the many personas that you will try on in your 20s. It isn’t really you, but you can’t see that yet. You’re not really the glamorous, high-flying sort, and neoliberal politics are not really your style (deep down, you know you don’t really agree with them). You are certainly not Carrie Bradshaw, despite the curly hair (and thank goodness for that!) But that’s who you think you want to be at the moment, and accordingly, you will surround yourself with people who you think that girl should be associated with. Some of them will hurt you. One of them will break your heart. I can’t shield you from the hurt you’ll feel when it happens, but I can tell you that you’ll barely think about him in 10 years’ time. I’d tell you not to worry about meeting “the one” just yet and that it will happen when it happens (no spoilers!), but you probably wouldn’t listen to me. I really do wish you’d spend your energy on your family and people who genuinely care about you (even if they’re far away right now). You’ll be less lonely when you learn how to be yourself again and make space in your life for people who actually understand you, but that’s a lesson you’ll have to learn the hard way.

The anxiety you feel about your life will never truly go away, but it will become more manageable. I can’t say that you’ll have everything figured out eventually, but at this point, I don’t think anyone ever has everything figured out completely. You will learn how to make sense of things as they come and deal with them accordingly. Eventually.

In closing, take care of yourself and learn to love yourself. And don’t forget to enjoy the present. After all, you’ll never get to be 22 again. I can’t really say I want to be 22 again (32 suits me just fine – getting older is much better than they make it out to be), but I still look fondly on the better moments of that time in my life all the same. Make memories and hold onto them. You’ll thank me later when you pull through this.

Sincerely,

Your Future Self

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