Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Michele at 22

Dear me,

You do not have to move to Atlanta. In fact, you probably shouldn't. Of course he's wonderful, and of course you want to stay with him. But, Atlanta? What are you going to do in Atlanta? You just graduated college, I know you have no idea what you're going to do -- grad school, audition, live at home and wait it out? But that's okay. It's a good thing! Following a boy because you don't know what else to do? Maybe not so smart. (And guess what? He's not going to want that house in the country, or the chickens, or to do anything but play Starcraft and drink beer. And you're not going to marry him.)

You know how you ended up spending three months on $300 as he got more and more depressed about his job and, well, Atlanta? And then remember working at that hoity-toity wine bar (where you have no business carrying more-than-one of anything made of glass and/or filled with stain culprits)? And remember how none of it really changed anything except that you felt lonely, irritable, and like a failure? You weren't, you aren't, I'm just saying...the most important lesson from this (that you still struggle to learn, or manage, or something) is that you need to NOT lose yourself in relationships. Your mother, your teachers, your friends, all have made a point to tell you how independent and adventurous you have been, and how you've always just picked up and gone wherever you wanted. And this time you didn't, and it had serious side effects. They got better. But pay attention to that lesson and learn how to live simultaneously with a relationship and with your instincts. Don't let any boy guilt you out of your independence, your need for solitude, and your need to travel, drive away, see the mountains and oceans from many angles. People may cry, "Escapism!" -- but living a life for which you have no feelings, or feel trapped or manipulated is far worse. Don't think of it as escaping or running away -- think of it as running to.

Also, listen to your mother. She really is aware of what makes you happy far more than you are -- you're still trying to replicate what makes others happy because you think you don't know what pleases you. Stop it. You are not other people, and their happiness is not yours, their jobs are not your key to success and their hobbies are not your interests. Be happy for them. But shut up already and listen to yourself. And your mother.


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