Oh dear sweet one, I know.
I’ve been there. I’ve been you. I am still you.
A few years on, my eyes crinkle just that little bit more at the corners. You have a fair fewer scars, emotional and physical, than I. Yet we are one and the same.
I am none the wiser, I’m afraid to say. I know you are shocked. In fact, the one thing I’m sure of is the more I age, the less I know about anything. Yet there are a few more years of experience which give me the audacity to write to you.
And as I travel through time and space to you, to the you who both is and isn’t me, to the you who is also each and every one of us, if there was one pearl of wisdom I could convey, it would be this, sweet one:
Do not wait around to be chosen, dear one. Choose yourself.
Waiting to be chosen looks like chasing. It looks like grasping. Like a cat chasing a ball attached to a piece of string that is forever being withdrawn before reappearing. Like an endless game of peek-a-boo, of hide and seek.
It looks like desperate pleas asking to be given another chance, another chance to make things better. A chance that you alone will bear the burden of carrying. And one in which another gets to decide the fate at stake.
It looks like disempowerment.
It looks like fickle negotiations and half-empty promises.
It looks like losing our own damn rational heads.
It looks like prioritising others over prioritising ourselves.
I know this hurts to read because it’s true. It’s like a knife to the heart. But I’m here, right beside you.
Don’t be the cat, dear one.
When someone tells us who they are, and how they view us, we must believe them. We must. They say not to take things at face value but I say we must. People speak truth with actions and words, sometimes either, sometimes both. We have to believe the signals we are given.
Of course, I could give you the banalities that would certainty not placate you because I’d be lying to you. The “you can do betters” and the “plenty more fish in the seas”—you know the score. And yes, I’m also irritated reading them.
Because the truth is, I don’t know. I don’t know that you can do better and equally I don’t know that you can’t. I don’t know if there is someone “better” out there, or someone at all. But I also don’t know that there isn’t. I don’t know what “better” really means and I don’t think it has a meaningful or objective value. And you know that I don’t know. And I know that you know that I don’t know. So let’s not lie to each other, dear one, in this false back and forth. In this less-than-comforting false narrative.
I dare to suggest that we play a bold game of truth telling and see where those uncomfortable truths land with us.
Anyone who claims to know what our future holds is lying. It’s the tightrope of uncertainty that we dare to walk every day we live our brave, ballsy lives. So, shall we dare to be brave and bold and admit that we simply do not know?
Or to admit that we may also be comforted in the not knowing. Because an uncertain future is surely more positive than a certain misery. Because we need to acknowledge that waiting to be chosen is a sorry state of affairs. One that we should never really have to experience but an opportunity nonetheless. An opportunity to rise above the game playing, to level up for our own damn beautiful futures.
I don’t know what your future looks like, dear one, but I promise you this. The reward of waiting around to be chosen may never outweigh the cost of the sacrifice you make when you hand someone else the power to choose you.
I don’t know much, but I do know this. Choosing yourself is so much better than waiting to be chosen.
Choose yourself, choose yourself, choose yourself. Always.
Future you, the one who is you and me and all of us.