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.
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.):