You don’t know me. Not yet anyway. I am you, 27 years on.
You turned 40 the other day. It came and it went much like any other day. There was some celebration, there was some sadness. But it passed. Much like any other day.
You worry so much about not fitting in. About not having friends. About what people think of you. About whether your mom and your dad value you. About whether your brother and your sister love you.
Stop worrying. All those nights of tears and fretting get you absolutely nowhere. Not one bit of the energy you expended ever changed anything anyone ever thought of you, did for you or meant to you.
Stop worrying Jessie. You will be ok.
I have to tell you that your dad dies soon. A massive heart attack. Norine comes, and Stephen eventually. And then they leave and it is just you and mom.
In time, you forget what he looked like. You forget what he sounded like. You forget who he was. Because you barely knew him. All that becomes important is whether or not he was or is proud of you. And it doesn’t matter one way or the other. The only person who has to be proud of you, is you. Learn this now. Learn it well. Because you will fight this demon all your life. And it will win. Every time someone doesn’t measure up to the ideals you have set for them. Every time someone leaves. Every time someone disappoints you. Somehow, you manage to turn it into something you did wrong.
Stop. Learn the lesson. Don’t take other people’s shit on as your own. And try to remember your dad as best you can, for as long as you can. Because you will miss who you think he was, who you hoped he was, who you believed him to be every day for the rest of your life.
Over time, your mother develops an unhealthy attachment to you. Your nature, and her nature, clash and crash and nothing good comes of it. It will shape you and affect you in ways that no one will ever understand. Don’t let it. So much of the heartbreak you face, comes from this one simple fact. Your mother, however unintentionally, will mould you into a soul that is very damaged. Stop. Learn the lesson. Don’t let another person’s weakness become your own. But remember always, she did her best. It may not have been good enough for you, but it was her best. Don’t turn away from her. Love her as best you can. Because she is your mom. And one day, she will be all the family you have close to you.
When you get a bit older you are going to fuck up monumentally. You will think your life has ended. You will think you will never recover. You will believe that you are done. Don’t. Stop. It makes you strong in ways that no other person will ever be strong. Although the fear of it will haunt you forever. You will recover. You will get better. You will be okay. I promise. Just keep breathing. One breath at a time. This one moment does not define who you are. You fucked up. You are not a fuck up.
Even older still and you will get sick. Some weird mystery illness that they still argue about. Stop. Don’t let any doctor who you think knows better, tell you who you are. Don’t let them pump you full of the meds that will balloon you to 170kg’s. Don’t let them. Question everything. Make sure it makes sense.
Older still, and you will realise that you are ok alone. But that being alone all the time is hard. It is hard to never have anyone to rely on. It is hard to do everything alone. But you will find a few souls that hang out in the periphery of a life. Always there. They love you. Find them. Keep them close. You will need them.
One day, you will realise that your family is made up of so many animals. People will laugh at you when you call a dog your closest. Don’t care what they say. Every single life in this life, is worth love. Love them completely. Time will come when they will become your reason for waking. Your reason for going home. Your reason to be.
So much doom and gloom. So much to face in a short life.
And I haven’t even really started.
So let me tell you this.
You are beautiful Jessie. You are compassionate and kind and generous and smart and funny. You are loyal and true.
You are beautiful.
I am proud of you.
Every little bit of you.
Every big bit of you.
Every broken bit of you.
Every whole bit of you.
Learn your lesson Jessie. You matter to the only person that matters.
You are exactly who you are meant to be.
And you are awesome.