A Message to Myself in College

I know that the thing you fear most is a repetition of the last few years – the ones you call and truly believe were the absolute worst years of your life. That time, it seemed to have started out great. That’s what made it all the more painful, I suppose, when it all came down in shambles. This time, it seems to have started off on a less energetic, less optimistic, but still good note. Perhaps your lack of hope and enthusiasm in your defense mechanism. To fall in love with life again scares you, because then it has the power to break your heart yet again.

I need you to remember that you are a bad actress. Please do not try to pretend. Please do not try to pretend you aren’t horrible at pretending. Honesty. Honesty. Honesty. Live by it. When you feel happy, do not pretend melancholy. When you crave solitude, take it; do not lead people on by making them believe you are enjoying their company. Explain that the problem is not inherently them, without offense. However, when people insist on offending themselves because they are unable or refuse to understand you, do not harbor guilt over it.

Breathe, every single moment of every single day. You used to alternate between hyperventilation and suffocation. Now, be free. Be comfortable Be alive. Thrive in whichever way is best for you at that moment. Do not feel obligated to speak when you have nothing to say. Do not laugh at the things you do not find funny. When speech is necessary, leave nothing unsaid. Do not try inserting yourself forcefully in pictures you don’t belong in; someone will retain a copy of you, a square peg, begging to be granted entry into a round hole.

Do not strive for strangeness. Aim for authenticity and make sure you strike it in the bullseye. There will be people who find you weird. Make no attempt to prove them wrong or right. There will be people weirder than you. Make no attempt to normalize yourself, nor to outdo them. If ever you find yourself beginning to compare, take a step out of your body. Draw a circle around your spirit. Drag your body into it. Take heart in the isolation and renew your mind. Commune with God. Remind yourself it is not a race.

It is not your only goal in life to be the best. Not in class, not in elections, not in likeability, not anywhere else. If ever you are the best in any situation, refuse to dwell on this fact. Being the worst is never the end of the world. As much as possible though, try not to aim for either. Instead, try to learn from every situation.

Let relationships happen naturally. The more you pretend and force, the harder it becomes to find the people you are actually meant to be with. While keeping an open mind and heart, realize that sometimes the people you are meant to be with may never arrive because you may be meant to be alone. And if by now you do not know how to be alone, I worry for you.

Allow yourself the license to change. To rest yourself in the person you are now leaves no room for improvement. And you, you may acquire new flaws along the way, but you may also lose old ones. You will gain knowledge. It is as impossible for you to become stupider, as it is by definition impossible for anyone to “grow” smaller. Take every paradox with a grain of salt, including the one(s) in the previous sentence. Acknowledge their unique power to be both true and false.

I hope I will never have to remind you about this, but: create. In any form. You live, therefore you create. You were created, therefore you are art, therefore, make art. You can’t stop writing; people will die – and “people” here could be anyone, be fictional, be you.

-Akotowaa

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