"I don't think that being a strong person is about ignoring your emotions and fighting your feelings. Putting on a brave face doesn't mean you're a brave person. That's why everybody in my life knows everything that I'm going through. I can't hide anything from them. People need to realise that being open isn't the same as being weak."

- Taylor Swift

Monday, March 07, 2016

Never Grow Up: A Letter to Nineteen Year Old Me

Now Playing: Out of the Woods by Taylor Swift (she lost him, but she found herself, and somehow that was everything) 

So this letter is more than a month late! Moving will do that to you.

Dearest Nineteen,

I'm writing this in a computer lab on campus at ANU. It's weird.

Dearest Nineteen, you've had a pretty good year. Uni was pretty okay. You have new experiences - playing a Jacobean villain on stage, meeting a pretty bricklayer with a thick Leeds accent on a sweaty dance floor on your birthday - and the demons, I think, sometimes sleep quietly for a while.

People may have started taking you a bit more seriously, but nothing is going to make that charming peacock-infested institution of yours take you and yours seriously. Your final year of uni is like skating on thin ice and, as you always do, you run as fast as you can in the opposite direction. Sometimes I wonder at your courage, dearest Nineteen. Now I am all alone in the little room you fought so hard for, and sometimes I don't feel very brave at all. But I keep on keeping on, because I know this is all you ever wanted, and it's all I've ever wanted, too. It's tough, sometimes. But you're very lucky, and all that luck and hard work weighs on you, stays your hand, makes you bite your tongue every time you want to ask to go home.

Your friends are taking paths that you never dreamed of taking, but they're happy, and I wish them well. And then you meet someone, dearest Nineteen, just before you leave, too late to change your mind. He's beautiful and sweet and kind, and for the first time in your life you consider the life you're giving up and leaving behind. You have a wonderful summer together, and now when I close my eyes I remember the warm summer air at King's Park, or the city lights from the balcony. Growing up isn't always about making good or bad choices, doing the wrong or right thing. It's about taking a path, which by definition means you cannot take other paths, and sometimes those paths have pretty hometown boys and a comfortable life that you never really wanted, but is tempting you nonetheless. I'm not saying anything was definitely going to happen with this boy, but he represented everything you're letting go in a profoundly heartbreaking way; I know you don't think you're going to miss Perth, but you do, every day, especially now that life is hard and scary and full of uncertainty. Leaving him is one of the hardest things you'll ever do, but you'll do it, because you made hard choices about which path to take. I hope we made the right choice. I have no regrets, but I'll admit that I go back to December all the time.

Dearest Nineteen, the year ahead is hard, and who knows where it will take us. But it's also new, and exciting, and you'll be happy. I promise.

Just Twenty.

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