Letter to Myself: Open Next Year (2017)

Dear Future Me,

Well hello, Erin of 2017, how’s it going?

You were nominated to write this letter from your new friend Jia Wei, a sweet guy from Singapore, at Film & Nuance, whom you stayed up with late one night debating the psychological implications of fembots.

Well, it was late for you (you insomniac freak) but was probably a reasonable time for reasonable people in Singapore. Isn’t it awesome how you can debate people in Singapore though? We live in amazing times.

Here are the rules:

  • Tag it under ‘DearFutureMeTag’
  • Write a letter to yourself to read again in a years time. You can answer if you would like.
  • Nominate Other Bloggers, as many as you like (at the end of this post)

So you’ve been nominated and are feeling simultaneously flattered and nervous, because it feels awkward to publicly write a letter to yourself, but you need to get over that. Seriously.

Because if you’re going to tap into your creativity by digging into your real self, you need to be less self-conscious. You tried it with your 33 Things You Don’t Know About Me post and it worked out for you.

Remember back when you were a flutist? You knew how to play the Diva in those days… show up just in the nick of time, throw a little attitude, take bold risks when you’re performing and let the emotions fly. It’s just more interesting for people to watch.

People feel that energy and it’s what they want from artists. Lawyers and accountants should be grounded and mature, but artists are supposed to be a little crazy. Anything else is BORING. People don’t watch movies about grounded people having reasonably good days.

And blogging is Art. It’s writing, which is what you’re supposed to do. You know this, deep down.

Life changes so suddenly, it’s tough to predict. Remember that just a handful of years ago, you were dropping out of law school and getting a divorce.

That wasn’t supposed to happen. You were a music major turned English major because music was too impractical, so you thought ENGLISH would solve all your problems (!?). (Why, in the name of all that’s sacred and holy, did you not go into science, by the way? You were good at science, you liked science, and your professors encouraged you. A woman in science can write her own ticket, but no… you had to do English. Whatever, genius.)

And after English, you went to law school, because that’s what liberal arts majors DO. They finally figure out their artsy degrees plus four dollars will buy them a latte at Starbucks, then start scrambling into law and business schools for damage control.

But it was wrong for you, and you knew it. Whatever your LSAT scores promised, you were a terrible fit for the legal profession and ended up dropping out with crushing law school debts and leaving your husband, which was so disorienting at the time.

Now he defends criminals somewhere in California and you hope his altered future suits him better than the one once planned with the eccentric insomniac who once accused her law professors of losing their souls.

And you ended up taking whatever jobs you could get, poor as f*ck in your one-room Sacramento apartment. Remember that mixture of intoxicating freedom and poverty? You woke up in the middle of the night one time, naked on the couch with cheese in one hand and your laptop in the other, your black-and-white kitty curled up on your back as your World of Warcraft character waited to respawn. At least you knew, then, you were in charge of your own destiny.

You had to give your cats all the meat in your fridge and live off Ramen till the end of the month. It wasn’t your cats’ fault you were broke.

And just a few years later you were remarried, living in the suburbs, and found yourself huddled into a fetal position on the stairs, about to have a baby.

You were never even sure you wanted children. You preferred going dancing with your girlfriends and reading Walking Dead comic books to poring over nursery paint swatches and figuring out how to make school lunches in the shape of rabbits. You weren’t sure if you were actually a real grownup or could be trusted to play one well enough when necessary.

You figured if you ever did get pregnant, however, all the flooding hormones would make it seem so natural and easy. You expected to feel like a fertility goddess, piling roses on her belly at the beach, not a panicked girl watching her belly grow enormous with the horrible realization that this baby has to get out somehow.

And that baby would look to you for EVERYTHING, starting from ground zero. Could you handle it? Had you learned enough from your own mistakes to help someone else have an easier time?

But it was the best thing ever. That moment, the first time your baby girl’s shiny eyes looked into yours was the most amazing feeling.

You even decided to have another kid, for good measure, and were relieved to find out that you were still you.  Maybe now you had to wait till the girls went to bed to whip out video games and zombie flicks, and maybe you’re a little weirder than the other moms you run into, but your kids are happy,  d*mn it, in all their dragon-cape-wearing glory at the grocery store.

Maybe some of the other parents give you strange looks when you ape your daughter’s tantrums at a crowded Costco, but it worked. She got embarrassed, quit throwing a fit, and now you can buy your giant boxes of coconut water in peace.

Who says parenthood has to look exactly like it does on TV, anyway? Some people take life so SERIOUSLY. These little kids opened up a world of fun and appreciation for all the world’s little pleasures, and when you tell your daughter that the beaded necklace you’re giving her is a magic necklace that protects her from the monsters in her closet, she BELIEVES you and sleeps easier.

Deciding to stay home to bring up your little ones instead of going back to your office job was also scary, even though you hated your office job. Now you finally have the chance to be a freelance writer, like you always wanted. You’ve gotten some work doing that, and even when you’re not thrilled about the topics you’re covering, even when it’s another real estate article that’s putting your teeth to sleep, it’s still more fun than editing another uptight office memo, right?

And you love your blog. Ideas pop into your head all day long, no matter what you’re doing, tormenting you until you write them down. Sometimes you have to scribble ideas on little notepads before you can get any sleep. They churn around and around in your head until squeezed into a keyboard… a strange question, a funny thought, a flit of meaning, or a snapshot of events you never want to forget.

Even if few people ever read it, you’re recording things you and your daughters will love reading about in the years to come, things that might’ve otherwise been buried in the slow avalanche of life’s mundane details: that time Brontë said she just turned into a mermaid but you missed it, that time she wanted a sweater to warm up because she said she was too warmed down, the night Bridget kept chewing on big sister’s feet to make her laugh when she wasn’t feeling good…

You’ll need to read these things in the years to come, especially when your girls hit adolescence and can’t show you the open overwhelming love they feel the way they do now. They might tell you they hate you, that they can’t wait to get away from you, and you’ll need these memories to remember when their tiny hands once squeezed yours so tightly or to realize they just need to separate from you long enough to become their own people, to run away for a while before feeling safe to come back home.

You’re scared to death of those days, but you love your babies and know they love you. And they know you love them, which is the most important thing in the end.

This is just the beginning.

Keep doing what you’re doing. Keep loving those babies. Keep writing. Keep planning to take them exciting new places some day. IMG_2996

If it’s 2017, your babies will be turning four and five. They’ll be talking up a storm and starting Kindergarten. I hope everyone’s happy and healthy, and that you’re still writing.
We’ll talk soon.

Signed, 2016 Erin

Here are my nominees (I love all of you and hope I didn’t forget anyone, but am trying to focus on people who might want to participate. I hope you do.):

https://rachelmankowitz.wordpress.com

https://wtmlpart2.wordpress.com

http://dadstayedhome.com

http://dirtyscifibuddha.com

https://nicolaauckland.wordpress.com

https://sfarnell.wordpress.com

http://basementsaid.com

https://aopinionatedman.wordpress.com

https://justinqueso.wordpress.com

http://bensbitterblog.com

https://itsmeharshi.wordpress.com

https://bhharned.wordpress.com

https://kirstwrites.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

 

24 Comments

  1. Thank you for the nomination. I’m very honored and excited. Your letter was very raw, and touching and now I feel I know more about you than a week of reading your blog could tell me. Sometimes I think the more creative parents make better parents, because they are less concerned with what people think and how things “should be” so let your daughters wear their capes with pride. And just maybe Bonte` will turn into a mermaid in the grocery store one day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad you will participate! Looking forward to reading you letter.

      It is a strange exercise, but maybe the intention is to help you write something raw enough that you can relate your true self better than a week of normal blogging makes possible. I’m fairly new to blogging and find these promote very helpful with developing one’s voice.

      I hope it’s true that creative parents make good ones! It seems like a nice fit, in this case, because my girls are already outside-the-box thinkers and that might not have flown as well in more conventional houses. Only time will tell, I guess.

      It’s a solid balance with my husband John, at any rate, since he lives more by the book and public embarrassment is one of his greatest fears (poor guy). It’s a good match: he keeps the lights on, I cheer everyone up, and between the two of us, we hope to keep the kids on the right track 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. HAHA discussing fembots !! Thanks for the tag Erin! Your letter is so awesome 🙂 Looks like you had a pretty rough patch, but I’m glad you’ve found your joy and happiness now. I’m sure you’ve been and will continue to be a great mother to your kids, your so thoughtful and loving! Your kids will be inspired haha. And I wish you all the best for your writing, I’m sure you’ll do well in your pursuits 😀 Haha dragon-cape-wearing glory, that cracked me up! I think it’s really nice to see how you don’t take things too seriously, which is a good thing, and you’ll have many more wacky and memorable moments with your kids than parents who take things way too seriously.

    And don’t give up on this blog, you got a fan in me! Woo! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww, of course I tagged you! I love your blog and our weird conversations. 🙂

      Well, what is life without a few rough patches, eh? Anything else would be boring and it takes a little darkness to appreciate the light. There’s only so much control we have in the universe anyway… we just do what we can and enjoy the show.

      My kids seem really happy and I hope they stay that way. Maybe someday they will put the dragon capes away, but I hope the spirit of them sticks with them.

      Or maybe they’ll be mortified that their mom talked about potty training all over the internet, hee hee.

      And thanks for reading! I love your blog too 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. HAHAHAH Me too! Hope we can have more of that! Nice, teens nowadays (like myself oops)…we’re just sometimes a pain in the ass. I hope so to! Even adults sometimes gotta bring out the dragon cape sometimes. For me? I’m still a child in many ways and adulthood seems so scary…urgh what happened to doing whatever you want and not worrying HA!

        I agree! ces’t la vie, and just enjoy the show. Sometimes I fret a little too much though

        I love reading your stuff too! I always laugh when you describe your kids 😂😂😂 And by the way, your writing is so good so keep it up 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Aw, thank you for the encouragement! I enjoy writing and that’s reason enough to keep at it.

          Still a teenager? Wow, I remember feeling the same way, nervous about adulthood.

          I’m not gonna lie, it IS scary in many ways. Childhood feels like such an open slate where everything is possible… time starts whipping faster and faster in adulthood, when every move you make starts to count more, begins to form a path.

          But other people can do it, so why not you? (At least, that’s what I kept telling myself when I was 15. learning to drive, haha). Some things about adulthood are great: you have more freedom, more control over your choices and environment.

          I think the hardest part may be OTHER adults. 🙂 I mean many of them are great, but lots of people seem to grow bitter, serious, and lose their curiosity… the desire to keep learning and experiencing. They grow rigid and stern, judgmental… lose their sense of humor. Try to keep yours intact and you’ll be fine. 🙂

          And hopefully you’ll have the best of both worlds: freedom, experience and a better understanding of yourself along with the optimism and curiosity of youth. I’m sure you’ll do well. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Yes, please do! I along with others enjoy reading your stuff!
            Yup confirmed. Adulthood is scary. Haha but I’ll keep your words close to me coz they’re so true. I never want to lose the child in me 🙂
            Haha funny you mentioned driving, I’ve only recently started learning coz where I’m at, they only allow 18 and above to start learning. I’m 19 and most of my friends haven’t even started! I just passed the theory test, so I’m starting practicals soon!

            Oh man, I’ve seen people around my age get bitter already…partially due to how stressful life is in Sg. It’s also so competitive here urgh. Needless to say for adults, almost all I’ve come across are exactly what you’ve described. I hope I won’t be like them.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Aw, you’re a sweetheart!

              It is scary, and competitive. I don’t know much about Singapore (I’ve heard it’s beautiful and that there are lots of strict anti-littering laws). I’ll probably learn more about it now, since I’ve talked to someone who lives there.

              In the US, you get a learner’s permit at 15 and can get your license at 16. I guess that’s odd, because we vote (and can be drafted into the military) at 18 and can drink alcohol at 21. Maybe it’s because it’s hard to get around the US without a car.

              I remember being intimidated when I first started driving. It felt SO FAST, considering the fastest thing I’d ever moved was a bike. I told myself, look, every idiot can learn how to drive. It just takes practice.

              Maybe the same is true about adulthood? 🙂

              People do get bitter. Maybe it’s because they think the entire world is open to them in childhood, but it gets narrower and narrower. You go from having limitless potential to wondering if you measure up (is my house nice enough? Is my car fancy enough? Is my job prestigious enough?).

              But that’s a trap too. It’s your life and you can live it however you want. I think if you remember what makes you happy, you can keep from growing bitter. Just do your best but don’t forget to laugh too 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Hee hee 😊😊
                Oh man,guess I’ll just have to grow into adulthood and manage all that! We can only get it at 18 mainly because its almost the opposite in sg,the gov wants to encourage us to use more public transport,sg is already so crowded as it is,even more so on roads. Yet the culture is one based on wealth and material possession,so people are going to wanna get cars anyway. Huh,I thought the alcohol age was lower in the US, guess I’m wrong 😆
                I’m starting practicals in 3 months urgh can u believe it,most of the slots have already been taken so I gotta wait 😦 Haha but yeah,every idiot can drive.
                I sometimes have fights with my parents over my future career plans. It’s mainly between my desire to do something related to the arts,like taking a degree in the arts/humanities/media etc whereas they want me to take a biz degree. I’m just quite confused right now. I mean it’s true that it’s tough to make a decent living in sg if I have an arts degree,jobs and everything…but I just feel like I might not like it in biz. I’m also thinking if I can still be happy having a less desirable job,but pays decent and still keep my hobbies. Will that suffice?
                True,and that’s why I’m in such a troubled state,I see that only do people get bitter,but all adults ever talk about is money,wealth etc…And I doubt they’re happy at all. I’ll try my best 🙂

                Liked by 1 person

                1. You’ll be alright 🙂 You seem smart, optimistic, and have many interests. No one can take that away unless you let them.

                  Good luck with your driving! When I was taking my tests, I scheduled tests in different cities on consecutive days just in case I failed, haha. And I DID fail my first test, so it came in handy (I passed the next day). The first one lasted about one a half minutes before the instructor decided I wasn’t confident enough and told me to turn around (so embarrassing). Don’t know if you have this option, but scheduling a few can help.

                  Ah, the practical versus following-your-passion dilemma… an age-old dilemma across the world. Sometimes I’m so jealous of people who love math, business and computer technology because they already love something practical.

                  But for liberal arts enthusiasts like us, there’s the fear of working a job we hate versus starving. I can understand your parents’ perspective–they want to see their son secure, taken care of, and successful. There’s something to be said for having a practical job that leaves you secure enough to follow your hobbies in your free time.

                  On the other hand, if you really love doing something more artistic, people find work there too… it’s just harder and takes more persistence.

                  I don’t have any more answers than anyone else, but I would advise you to not do what I did, which is change your mind every couple of years, lol. I find the world so big and fascinating, that I changed my major over and over again and would take a job for a couple of years, then get bored and try something else. I was a music major, German, pre-med, and English… and I was in the Army, went to law school (for a year), was a script reader in Los Angeles for a while, and was in IT before having kids.

                  I look back on this stuff and kick myself for not following through. So, my advice would be: if you decide to follow the liberal arts route, be persistent! Stick to it, get your foot in the door, and keep plugging away. Don’t run after every shiny butterfly that floats past you, like I did, haha.

                  I’m sure you’ll be fine, though. Your age is exciting, with tons of possibilities, but harder than people remember. So many questions. 🙂

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. Haha nah I’m not smart, just hustling you know. I try to be more optimistic,but sometimes I just get quite overwhelmed with worry, worrying about my future, career etc. It’s like a mini panic thing where I go silent for periods of time.

                    I actually think sg’s culture is so stifling, I want to be able to do things as I want it without ppl/my parents trying to control parts of my life. Thanks!! Yeah there are a few centres in sg,but I don’t think they allow me to do in diff places. I’ll try to pass on my first time 🙂
                    Hahaha, its alright if u failed the first time, driving does seem quite scary at first.

                    Wow, I actually think that’s quite something. You’ve had so many different experiences, i guess some people like more stability. Ure so talented :)) You went for degrees in those subjects? Guess I’ll have to see for myself, persistence does pay off as well but no point continuing with something that doesnt give you fufilment anymore. I still have a year before I decided which course to choose as my army time ends next year march,so I still have some time.

                    I’d really like to try something exciting. I know its gonna be tough and not feasible, but I’m really jealous of people who do what they really like,enjoy it and still be able to support themselves(or maybe not,but they seem so happy).
                    Thanks Erin 🙂 I need all the advice I can get and you’ve given me some advice I really need to hold close.

                    Like

                    1. Of course you’re smart–I couldn’t tell you were so young and I’m guessing English isn’t even your first language! I’ve studied other languages but don’t speak any of them nearly as well as you speak English.

                      Maybe you started learning it very young (we don’t teach foreign languages to most young kids in America, so most us aren’t bilingual except immigrants).

                      Good luck on your driving test! I’m sure you’ll do well (I just worked the system, haha, but never got into any accidents, so it’s okay).

                      I don’t know much about Singapore, but I’ll probably learn something about it now because I’ve talked to you and now I’m curious. 🙂

                      It’s probably good to change course if you really aren’t happy with something… you don’t want to do something you hate. But maybe not too many times, like I did. I’ve gotten to learn and see different things, which is great, but you work your way up by sticking to something. Yeah, I went for degrees in those subjects, but some them I quit halfway through and changed course, always getting bored and interested in something new.

                      You probably would get a million types of different advice from a million different people. Part of the big secret is none of us really know the answers, we just live our lives with a combination of luck, circumstance and experience, and wish we could give our younger selves some of the knowledge we picked up along the way. Some people will tell you to follow your wildest dreams and others will tell you to play it safe, and really only you can figure out what’s best for you. I’m sure you’ll be fine 🙂

                      Liked by 1 person

                    2. Haha english is my first language! If not I couldn’t be nearly half as good. I’ve learnt mandarin as well but I really suck at it really!
                      I see, welp I’ll just have to see for myself then! But I mean there is a bright side to switching courses like you did, which is that you get to experience so many different things and are exposed to wide range of knowledge 🙂 There’s definitely value in that!
                      Haha ok, just gotta see where this life takes me!

                      Liked by 1 person

                    3. You’re very gracious 🙂 and I’m learning new things every day

                      Can’t complain! It stopped raining here, the weather is beautiful, and my daughter cracked me up by asking if she could marry her bowl of Cheerios, how was yours?

                      Like

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