As I write this evening, I wonder, “What did I need at 14, 15, or 16 years old? What didn’t people tell me that I would have told my younger self?”
Back then, I didn’t know I wouldn’t marry the guy I met at the Cherry Festival or that it didn’t matter that I chose to sit in the library at lunch instead of with kids I didn’t want to have surface conversations with.
I didn’t know I could go to school for art or writing and actually make a living doing it. I had no idea the internet would create opportunities to connect, learn, and share, and I certainly didn’t expect myself to document my journey living in seven different states this past decade online.
I didn’t know I would become an alcoholic who would ruin a lot of opportunities, only to realize those opportunities weren’t meant for me anyway. I had to mess up a lot of things to return to the person I always was- the writer who liked sitting in the library.
So, as I write, I just simplified my process. A lot. This book has been daunting, like a project I will never complete, yet now it makes perfect sense.
As I write with purpose, the words seem to flow and I can feel my energetic vibration raise as I type. I can envision girls who had similar dreams as me feeling hopeful. I have no doubt the power of others benefiting from my mistakes, closing the book with more confidence than when they opened it.
I may have taken a lot of wrong turns and detours, yet each twist lead me to exactly where I needed to be- and that is to continue to write.
Intuitively, I knew at an early age I wasn’t meant to conform or play by someone else’s rules. It didn’t feel natural to “fit in;” yet living in places like San Francisco and New York made me feel “normal” for the first time in my life.
I think about the girl who fearlessly flew out to Tuscon to visit her boyfriend at 17, who graduated high school a semester early, and who skipped out on her senior year events to follow her own dreams- not anyone else’s. The guy from the Cherry Festival would eventually meet his future wife the following year, and I would make an entirely new group of friends at a college where I knew no one. I wouldn’t end up with a college sweetheart and I wouldn’t go through with a wedding I almost had, but I learned more about myself living in seven different cities than I ever could by playing it safe.
I had a blank journal with endless pages to fill- so I did.
Since going on my own journey, I haven’t looked back. Although it feels as if I’ve come full circle, I’ve returned with a newfound love and appreciation for myself- and what the next chapter of my story has around the corner.