Dear Barby at twenty,
Hello, from twenty-six year old you.
We’re in a sunlit living room, sipping tea, a breeze flowing through your balcony on a lazy Saturday afternoon. This isn’t your parents’ home. There’s a man reading on the couch, and the sound of kids playing in the background. You’re married, with one mini me! :D AND YOU’RE PREGNANT WITH THE SECOND. Congratulations, momma!
This is you, by the way. We still look the same, except for the hair. Yay?
Before your imagination goes crazier, you can sigh with relief that you’re as single as the day you were born, except for some dates you’ve gone on (and had a good time). Kids are like short aliens, and you don’t have any of them. That nightmare with the royal blue wedding dress and Asian Keanu Reeves never happened, but you will meet some pretty fantastic people. Two of your mother’s side cousins have boyfriends btw! Anyway.
This is the first of three letters to us at different points in life. I chose to write you, because this is one of our darkest years. You’re anxious about the future, going crazy at home, trying to study abroad because you feel like it’s the perfect solution, angry, and self-destructive. You believe that studying elsewhere will guarantee you a path to creative success, maturity, and happiness. But you feel hopeless, ugly, and trapped, because of paperwork, insecurities, and the general unlikelihood of it all. You compare yourself to the people you read about in all your design research, and even to your close friends. You feel like you’ll always be at a disadvantage because everyone is moving ahead, whether getting a more well-rounded education abroad, or establishing connections online, while you’re stuck. There are days you feel like a waste of air, and might as well be swallowed up by the earth. You feel like once people know you, they’ll go away, because you secretly fear that you’re broken, unlovable, and unfixable.