A couple of years ago, I started working on a project with a few women that since then has kind of fallen to the wayside. It was a really cool project, but as a lot of you know, things get shuffled around due to scheduling conflicts, etc, etc. Today, I stumbled across the first assignment we gave each other, and that was to write a letter to our Half Life selves — taking the age that we were then, dividing it in half, and voila. What would that girl be doing, what would she be feeling right now? What would you like to say to her?
This is what I felt I should say. Because, you know, I don’t want to give too many things away and ruin Half Life Sam’s life by making her second-guess every action, I decided to be pretty vague. Which I’m sure some people would appreciate. But it was a very moving exercise, and I’m glad that the ladies I was working with pushed me to do it. Maybe one day we’ll return to that project.
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Dear Half Life Sam,
Hey you, freshman in high school, with your terrible sense of style and your mortification at being the center of attention. Right about now, you’re about to go to high school. You’re about to join the volleyball team, and take up leadership at youth group. You want to be an actor, or a writer. The amount of filled journals and composition notebooks that lay strewn about the house has not yet reached the description of “out of control” — hang in there, eventually technology will be on your side. You’re just a few short years of discovering that filmmaking combines your passion for writing and your passion for acting — which is really just a passion for creating, because you don’t actually like memorizing scripts, but you do love putting on a new skin to discover new worlds. You’ll discover that soon. Not your definition of “soon”, because “soon” to you is still what’s coming up this weekend, but “soon” as it is defined by adults, which is just time slipping through your fingers.
There are times coming up that you will not enjoy. Part of that is just the inevitability of high school, and part of that is stuff that you will never want to include in the life story you tell people. There is a time coming very soon when you will be very angry at your mother; but you will never hate her, and your relationship will move past the things that occur. Remember that trust is something that can break, but also something that can mend. And while you won’t be able to understand it right then, you will understand it later: forgiveness is a virtue that is so hard to put into action, but you do it for love.
You won’t keep your pride for very long. You may not recognize this, but right now you allow your life to be led by superiority — disguised by love, but still, underneath it all, it’s the joy of being able to cause exclusion instead of being affected by it. In time, you will learn that there are other ways to love the world, and the compromise that you feel it would be right now will not be so much a compromise to you later. Your world views will change drastically, and you will be terrified of the process, but you will come out just fine.
Remember that the world is not as black-and-white as you think it is, and try to maintain your sense of wonder. I wish I could warn you of things to come, and point out things about you that you won’t realize until it’s too late — your inability to see the worst in people is simultaneously remarkable and terrifying, and you will find that learning curve to be painful. But just know that with all the shit that goes down in your life, you will still have some great times. Be strong, young one, and guard yourself, but don’t let that get in the way of loving yourself.