You sit there, reading, minding your own business. To everyone else you look normal. They all think you’re a normal person having a coffee reading a book. Most of them don’t notice you. You blend into the crowd. You hide in plain sight. None of them could know what you think and feel, and you dare not tell anyone. You’re afraid it will scare them because it does scare you.
You sit, invisible to everyone; with your chest pounding, your thoughts racing, your hands shaking. You’re reacting to something. Something triggered you. Sometimes you know exactly why you were triggered. This is not one of those times. You don’t understand. You can’t explain it. You pick at your fingernails and cuticles. You twirl a pen or pencil in your fingers. You refill your coffee. Was it the coffee? Should you stop drinking coffee? The coffee didn’t bother you yesterday.
You survey the coffee shop. No one knows what’s happening to you. Even if they knew, they wouldn’t understand or care. Why should they care about you? They have their own problems. They’d think you were just some jackass craving attention. You know that’s what they’d think because that’s what you would think. But no one cares what you think just like no one cares what you’re feeling or what you’re doing. You’re the most insignificant person in existence.
You’ve pulled one of your cuticles too much and now you bleed. This distraction only works for a minute. Your thoughts stop racing, but your chest never stops pounding. You want to runaway but don’t know where. What you run from will follow you. How do you get away? Your thoughts are racing back, and your bloody finger doesn’t hurt anymore. You can’t even hurt yourself properly. There are never enough distractions.
You leave. You walk. You burn energy. It distracts you some and makes you tired. You need to feel tired. Keep running away until you’re tired; until your thoughts are tired.
This won’t feel like much of a letter because I’m filling it with mostly questions. It’s a natural desire to want to know the future. Everyone wants to prevent bad things happening in their lives and they want to anticipate possible fortunes. I have enough anxiety and don’t want more, but this little exercise intrigues me. I’m trying to think of what things actually concern me. What do I want to know about myself? I’ll do my best to not sound cliché, but I think it will happen despite my efforts.
I imagine you are myself at 60. Do people ever enjoy our writing? I don’t care about money or fame. I hope we make enough to survive and live comfortably, but does our writing leave any kind of impact? Does anyone care we created these things? Are these things important to anyone besides us? I guess I want to know if there is any point to doing this. What’s the point of writing a story if no one ever reads it? I write for myself and always will, but I want other to enjoy it too. I’m sure you would tell me to keep writing and keep fighting and all the things I want will come to me.
Asking if I’ll find love is one of those cliché questions. Also, it wouldn’t be an accurate question because I’ve already found love a couple times. I knew I loved someone when I cared more for them than I did for myself. I once told someone I wanted them to be happy even if that meant not having me in their life. I know love. I’ve found love. The question is, will I find someone who loves me the way I love them? Will I find someone that’s important to me and I’m important to them?
That’s it! Everything else in my life is trivial. As long as I still have my friends in 30 years, I think I’ll be fine. I know I’ll still write and I hope by then I find someone who wants to share their life with me and I share mine with them. I don’t need a big house and all the money in the world. I guess I’m keeping things pretty simple. Things are never that simple for me. I’m never that simple. I’m looking at a 30-year rollercoaster, aren’t I?
There’s so much to be said. How can I sum it all up in one letter? I’m you, but older; much older. Life hasn’t been kind to us. You’ve already been through a lot and there’s so much more you will go through. It seems unfair, but everything has a purpose. I don’t expect you to understand that, but one day you will. And believe it or not, things will get better. Then they’ll get worse only to get better again. That’s how life is; ups and downs. The ups are never as great as you think, and the downs are never as bad as you think.
You’ve got another 25 years before you start to understand all the things that happened to you. Why do you feel what you feel? Why do you think what you think? The answer will come. My advice to you is to always trust your instincts. In many ways, your instincts are the only thing you can trust. They help you survive. They teach you. They protect you. People will come and go. This will hurt, but you’ll keep going. You’ll have trouble trusting them, but don’t judge them too harshly. They’re like babies and don’t know any better. Sometimes you make the same mistakes they do.
You’re going to feel alone for a long time. Don’t let it bother you. Loneliness can be a strength and sometimes it helps you survive. Be careful not to let it consume you. That’s a darkness that’s hard to escape. Sometimes you’ll want it to consume you. Just know you’ll always find your way out. Your future doesn’t have much love, but there is some there. It may not be the kind of love you want, but I promise it’s the love you need. You won’t be much younger than me when you finally understand what love is, but it will change your world for the better. It will make you a better person and a better friend.
Believe in yourself and don’t listen to any of the negative things you hear. Don’t listen to the negative things you tell yourself. You have to make your life something you enjoy. You have to mold yourself into the person you want to be. No one will help you and most people won’t care. You’ll know you’re doing something right when more and more people want to spend time with you and talk to you. It will feel too-good-to-be-true because you’re used to people being awful. Not everyone is awful, and miracles do happen. Everything you’ve survived and will survive makes you a walking miracle. Remember that. You are a miracle. Never give up! Never surrender!