It’s a long way back from seventeen.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the past, recently. I’ve been thinking a lot about where I am now, and where I used to be. I have especially been thinking about the road uphill to get here today. I’ve been thinking about what I could say to myself at seventeen if I could about what is going to happen to her. What she is going to see, what she is going to experience, who she is going to become. At 17 she has already experienced quite a deal, more than most teenagers. And it only gets better from there.

When I was 17, and a teenager in general, I loved Blink 182. Fuck, I love them now. None of this “was” business. It still blows my mind that they put out a record, recently. There is one line that I keep going back to specifically.

“And it’s a long way back from seventeen/ The whispers turn into a scream/ And I’m, I’m not coming home.”

There are a lot of things that I could say to myself ten years ago. This is just the start of it.

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Dear Ash at Seventeen,

You are about to burn an awful lot of bridges in the next few years. And that’s fine.

Burn those fuckers to the ground.

You’re going to leave home. A lot. Your persistent wanderlust is going to catch up with you in many ways. Let it. It will finally give you the kick to move away and continue exploring. And more importantly to survive. Run with it.

Don’t look back .

You’re going to give yourself a lot of shit for taking a break before starting school. And then for staying so long. Don’t. Eyes forward on the finish line.

Don’t look back.

You’re going to reach that point where you wonder if it’s okay to find yourself. Do it. Sleep around. Explore people, explore relationships, explore boundaries. Discover what you are and are not willing to tolerate.

Don’t look back .

In friendships and in relationships.

Don’t look back.

You’re going to get lost. Your dreams and goals are going to get lost on your path to discovery. Don’t worry. Keep your head up, back straight, eyes forward. They will meet up with you again. Have faith, brigadier. You are not being led astray. Your heart knows what it’s doing.

Don’t look back.

You are going to learn to say no to people. Very quickly. And many of them. You are going to learn that you can’t please everyone. And that is okay. You are going to learn what a toxic person is, and who has been one in your life this entire time. You are going to learn that just because someone is considered a friend, or family member that that does not mean that you are obligated to love them if they hurt you or make you uncomfortable. You are under no obligation to anyone.

Cut those people loose, and don’t look back.

Dad is going to die in the next few years, and it is going to hurt like a bitch. It is going to change you severely. It is going to be your phoenix from the ashes moment.

Rise.

Don’t look back.

There are going to be a fuckton of people who are going to hate you. And they are going to leave your life, whether voluntarily or because you booted them out. But even more people are going to enter your life. People who love you. People who challenge you. People who encourage you. People who fight for you. People who you will fight for.

Grab hold, and don’t look back.

You are going to finally achieve that sense of purpose, sense of drive, sense of dedication as you feel yourself finally on the track you have spent your life desperate to find.

Head up.

Back straight.

Eyes forward.

Don’t look back.

You’re not going that way.

Love,

Ash at Twenty-Seven.

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What would you tell the you from ten years ago?

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