(To Myself eight years in the past: February 1995)
If this letter reaches you when I hope it will, you will currently be failing all of your classes except Athletic Band, attending camps for the Northern Aurora Drum & Bugle Corps, IRC-ing too much, racking up too much credit card debt, and trying to get into a relationship without getting laid. Life is pretty fucked up for you right now. I know.
If I told you everything you needed to know to straighten out your life in the next few years, then I wouldn’t be here later to tell you about it. We don’t want some weird Back to the Future II paradox going on… so I’ll tell you about the little things, and advise you about the bigger ones. I wouldn’t want the major things to change, anyway… but you’ll find out why later.
First off, I know you’ve been seeing guys from the IRC [internet relay chat]. I think you’ve already found this out the hard way, but always meet guys in public. Never go to their house to watch a movie the first time you meet. And don’t feel obligated to go further than you want. Oh, yeah… and watch your roving hands. They could get you in trouble.
Matt is a dork, but he’s harmless. He’ll go away eventually. Jon isn’t worth the heartache. He’s too old for you, and no matter what it may seem like while you’re together, he’s really not your type. Don’t sweat it if nothing ends up happening between you two. Adam is a total dork, too. I don’t care if he is a bit of a local celebrity. He’s called the Virgin Freak for a reason. Don’t go to his dorm room, and don’t make out with him. It’ll just cause an IRC soap-opera, and you’ll end up being weird about each other. Better off just to be IRC buddies and leave it at that.
Bryan is a different kind of dork — he’s got more relationship experience, and he’s more “normal.” If you’re going to make out with somebody, he’s probably the one to make out with. As far as physical stuff goes, he knows what he’s doing. Even if he does make fun of your ratty old shoes. — And don’t be afraid to stick up for yourself. Tell him to buy you new shoes, and tell him you wear a size 10. See if he does anything about it.
And don’t be such a prude. Don’t be afraid to let guys touch you in your bathing-suit area. Sure, wait on sex, but don’t be afraid of physical intimacy.
On a different subject: I know it’s early in the semester, but I regret to inform you that you’re going to flunk out. No, no, not permanently, just for a semester. It’s OK… this is going to be the best thing for you so far. You know you’re getting sick of school — admit it. When you come back almost a year from now, you’ll be ready to be here. While you’re home, you might consider getting a job. Don’t wait for Gary to goad you into it.
Oh, did I mention Gary? He’s Mom’s new guy. Get used to him; he’ll be around awhile. You’ll think he’s a total dick, especially when Mom starts bringing him home while you’re living there. He’ll try to start treating you like his own kid, and trying to “raise” you or something. Don’t be all pissed off about it. You won’t want to admit it, but he’s got some valid points. For instance, your job (or lack thereof). You’re not going to find something you really like, not at age 19 with no experience. You just need something to get you some money. Save up for drumcorps next year.
Drumcorps is going to be the most kickass thing in your life for quite a while. You’ll wish you’d gotten involved in it sooner — as it is, you’ll only have three years of marching eligibility. Make ’em good ones. Talk to people. Make friends. Don’t be afraid to be a dork. Get in shape before you get there. Go check out the Rec — it’s right across the street, and it’s actually pretty cool. Go jog or something. Being in shape will help you enjoy the experience more. It’s totally intense, as you already know. And it gets better.
Off-topic: Steve P. is an asshole. He might be fun on the trips up to Saginaw, and he might like some cool music, but he’s generally an asshole. If you ever consider him to be attractive, smack yourself. You’re too desperate. Something better will come along soon, I promise.
What else…? Oh, yeah. Stop using your credit cards now. Use the job you get in the Fall to pay them off a little. You might want credit sometime in the next seven years, and it’ll suck to be without for that long.
Take pictures of everything. You never know when it’ll be gone, and you’ll want to remember, and you’ll be frightened at how much memory has passed you by. Take pictures of friends and loved ones, of places and events and buildings. Take pictures of Tom and of Memaw. Take pictures of your boyfriends (and I use the term loosely). Chronicle your life, so you won’t forget the bad parts. Or the good parts.
Something else: when you come back to school next Spring, your roommate will be a little weird. Be ready for it. She’s cool, but she’s weird. She’s got cool friends, too.
Now, not to get you too excited, but… you’re going to meet somebody. Somebody Special. You might not know it at first, but he’s different. He’s not going to try to get you in the sack on the first date. He’s funny, and honest, and tall. He will love you to the ends of the earth. It’ll be cool. Only thing is… he can’t sing, and he doesn’t like drumcorps. 🙂
I don’t want to give you too much to think about at one time, so I think I’ll leave it at that. Just remember, when things seem totally fucked up, and all you want to do is sit in your room and eat and be miserable, and Life seems intent on fucking with you, and you think you’ll never get out of your funk… remember that things always work themselves out eventually. It sounds like so much crap, but it’s true. It’s just a matter of sticking it out and doing what needs to be done.
Things are going to look up for you. It’ll be a rough year ahead (except the kickass drumcorps part in the summer), but it’ll work out. You’ll see.
— Your Future Self