An Open Letter To A Teenage Me

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Dear Eva,

The world is a hard place, and it doesn’t owe you anything. You can work hard, stay late, take initiative and still fail. You can diet and exercise and still fail. You can love and be loved and have it end. You can try as hard as you want, but failure is always an option. There is an upside though, life isn’t just filled with darkness, because you can get up, wipe yourself off and try again.

There are a lot of hard times coming your way, a lot of friendships you thought would last a lifetime are going to end very abruptly and it is going to be very difficult to build new friendships. You are thinking of going to college and I beg you, please do not bother putting yourself in debt for an arts diploma. If you are going to invest in your education, please invest it in something that has broad career possibilities attached. Your arts diploma has never gotten you anywhere, in fact you are still struggling under the weight of student debt because of your shortsightedness.

Let’s talk about attitude. You are prove to believing that you are capable of slipping yourself through any door, wether it be open or closed, and it may have worked well so far, but it won’t anymore. You have to prove yourself to get anything, and no one is going to give you what you want without a steep price. You are arrogant, self centred and rude, get over yourself, you are not better than anyone by a long shot. Humble yourself and learn to learn from others without feeling like you have to prove that you are clever. On that note, no one is ever going to think you’re the smartest person in the room, so get the idea that you are out of your head.

Gasoline is expensive, cars are expensive, rent is expensive, bills are expensive… save your money and don’t waste it on pizza, poutine and rum. Be smart with your bank account and set saving goals as soon as you can. You never know when a rainy day will hit and you will regret not being smarter with your money.

Lean into love. Love your body, love your family, love your friends. Learn to love mundane jobs, chores and errands. Being miserable about the necessities in life, you are establishing a miserable life. Treat yourself with small things when you feel down, it is an investment in your happiness. Call your mom every week or so, she worries about you.

Don’t invest time in people who mistreat you, habits that are destructive and places that won’t help build you. Learn the value of positive people and habits, as they will help you live a happier life.

I don’t know what else to say to you, but please be humble and accept help when it is offered. Offer help to others, spend time painting and please live a productive life.

Love, Eva

Kiss The Scaly Ankle

We have come to the misconception that romantic relationships are picture perfect moments stringed together with gold and silver. This just isn’t realistic. Relationships are messy, difficult and emotionally draining at times. Men are not perfectly coifed with bulging muscles, huge bank accounts and varied interests that are tailored to impressing women. Women are not naturally hairless, their nails take work and high heels are painful to wear. Everyone is just another person who eats, sleeps, burps and wakes up with morning breath.

Once we move past these illusions we can really see the value of individuals. A crooked tooth can be endearing, freckles are cute, scars tell stories and everyone has stretch marks. These things seem to be forgotten as we try to fit into smaller sizes, cover our blemishes, seek out cosmetic surgeries and do our best to become the ideal cover model. We are perpetually being told to be thinner, have whiter teeth, shinny hair and perfectly manicured fingers. We don’t promote the image of a normal human who’s living a normal life, we promote lavish lifestyles and in order to fit that bill your life has to be centred around appearance and wealth.

This lifestyle that is constantly portrayed often comes with the “perfect partner”. An individual of equal wealth and beauty, manicured and styled to perfection. This isn’t a healthy way to portray and seek out relationships. Finding the right partner doesn’t centre around appearance and wealth. Though attraction and financial stability do have a level of importance, those criteria are determined by the individual and not the marketing industries.

The saying “there’s a lot of fish in the sea” does not account for the fact that a lot of those fish just don’t fit your life. Finding a compatible partner can be difficult and it can be tempting to try to adapt or change to better fit them in your life. This is necessary to some extent but must be kept in moderation. No matter how much face cream, waxing and coffee scrub, you will still wrinkle, have body hair and cellulite. In the end, you and your partner need to be comfortable and happy with your own bodies and accepting and loving of each others.

It’s incredibly important to be accepting of your partner and their body. Over time we age, we wrinkle, we get rashes, scars start adding up and our bodies get beaten up. Though these things may make us self conscious or seeing these changes in your partner may be some what unpleasant, you have chosen each other to spend your life with. No one stays young and beautiful forever, and the relationship and respect you have for each other is ultimately more important than appearance. Try not to make your partner uncomfortable or self conscious of the changes in their body, learn to love those changes or at the very least, don’t criticize them.

Let me give you an example. I have a dry and scaly ankle from sitting on it for the past five or so years. It’s embarrassed me and for years I’ve tried to exfoliate and moisturize it to make it go away. No matter what I do the ankle remains as dry and scaly as ever. My partner, Ryan, goes out of his way to kiss that scaly ankle, because he knows I’m not fond of it and that his actions make me feel less self conscious about it. In turn, Ryan has a perpetual ingrown toe nail. which we trim to keep manageable. Never once have I complained about his toe. I just help him keep it from returning to an ingrown state. It’s not about the issue with the nail, it’s about my partner being comfortable and healthy. That toe nail is something he appreciates having help with, the same way I appreciate a kiss on my ankle.

The point I’m making here, is that we as people are riddled with “imperfections”, and though we may not be in love with every nook and cranny of our or our partners bodies, they are the bodies we have. Love your body, respect your partner, and remember not to sit on your ankle, it really dries it out!

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