If this letter reaches you, then time travel exists, McFly. Rather than speak about the possibilities of this phenomenon, this letter is supposed to be a loving missive to myself as you, the high school senior that you are. As you know, we don’t think about our “self” to kindly or lovingly or highly — which makes this letter particularly difficult to write. But just listen, because the amazing life that you’ve lead is going to become turbulent very quickly, and I’m here as a kind of precautionary voice — one that I myself, the 32-year-old version of your 17-year-old self, could benefit from listening to.
Most important thing to hold dear to yourself: always listen to yourself and trust your instinct. Correlatively and actually even more important: do things for yourself and yourself alone. Stop trying to please others — you start putting others first this year…with you know who, and doing things to impress him instead of doing things for yourself. This results in your increasingly shitty self-esteem and your burgeoning eating disorder.
STOP DOING THINGS FOR OTHER PEOPLE.
STOP DOING THINGS TO IMPRESS PEOPLE.
You, meaning-I-meaning-us, still do this today. We do this because we think it’s the only way that people will like us or date us. People “like” us or interact with us because we can do things for them. To be honest, this is generally but not wholly true. Keep that in mind — be cautious, but don’t shut everyone out.
Speaking of dating: yeah, it’s not really on your mind, and it won’t be for quite some time. Sometimes I wonder if you’ve had it right all along; that it’s better for one’s sanity and productivity to remain asexual. That said, one day when you’re at Oxford a lovely little Irish One will come after to you — because she genuinely likes you. Yes, she. And this — not that she’s a she but that she for some unknown reason wants to hang out with you and be with you—confuses you greatly, and, consequently, you push her away for quite some time. But then you give in, and when you do it will be a lovely first relationship…minus her gay shame and how it manifests in a handful of unsavory ways. Be proud that none of that shame washed off on you.
And, on the whole “gay” thing: yeah, it was never a big deal for you, and you don’t ever have a “coming out,” and that’s fine and actually super cool. That said, remember that Kate recently told you outside of Mr. Straughn’s class that she, in reference to all those Michelle Pfeiffer pictures lining your bedroom walls, bets that you’ll “come out” in five years. Granted, it’s no official “coming out,” but you’re gay-pretty-gay-all-the-way as in Gold Star Gay, but in the fifth year you’ll indeed come out. When you tell Kate you’ll reward her with dinner…and sex.
She’s a good friend.
Now, just try to be a good friend to yourself.