A Belated Letter To My Younger Self


For a few years now, writing letters to your “younger self” has been a thing — a ridiculous, navel-gazing thing, but a thing. Since I am a ridiculous, navel-gazing kind of guy, I figure I’m overdue.

Oh well. At least it’s better than planking. Remember planking? Or goats that scream like people? Sometimes, I weep for our species.


Dear Younger Self,

If you remember nothing else from this letter, please remember this: you are in for an interesting ride.

I don’t want to pass value judgments, but compared to most of the folks you grow up with, you will have a rock star life. Not Led-Zeppelin-rock-star, but maybe Courtney-Love-rock-star, or My-Brightest-Diamond-rock-star, or Huey Lewis on a very good day. (NB: This is in no way an endorsement of Huey Lewis.)

Here’s some advice about what’s coming:

  • One afternoon during third grade, while your parents are away, you will sneak into your mother’s closet. You will find her high heels and her negligee and her makeup case. Roll with it.
  • Junior high geek in French classAround age 14, encouraged by your one and only gay classmate, you will discover that you like kissing boys. In fact, you like it A LOT. Then, your sole gay friend will move away, and you’ll try to play it straight for the next six years. Don’t bother. You’ll just end up hating yourself. And honestly, everyone already knows.
  • Your parents will try to convince you that certain men in town like to molest young boys. Your parents think that all gay men like to molest young boys, which is absurd. Call them out on their homophobia (even though the word “homophobia” isn’t widely used yet). That non-child-molesting “child-molester” will be you someday.
  • DadDon’t give up on dad. In time, he’ll become one of your best friends.
  • Your music minister in 8th grade? The one with the red hair and mustache? Go for it.
  • You’ll be intimidated by a lot of people in junior high and high school. Don’t be. They’re dicks.
  • In 11th grade, you will go out with a girl from the county, whose parents will invite you into their home one night and grill you about blacks and whites. They are going to say some outrageously racist bullshit, using the bible as cover. Tell them that they’re fucked. Be sure to use the word “fucked”, just to watch their expression. Walk out the door and don’t look back.
  • Frank & IIn college, you will party just the right amount. This is the first substantial evidence that you know how to lighten up. Congratulations.
  • Also in college, you will begin using moisturizer. This is the smartest thing you will ever do.
  • Don’t withhold your love. Spread it around. It’s a great way to meet people. And it’s fun.
  • Don’t give up vegetarianism just because a couple of waiters in Paris give you the stink-eye. (Yes, you will go to Paris. It’s lovely. Bring a sweater.)
  • When people ask for your help, always say “yes”, even if there’s no pay involved. Especially if there’s no pay involved. The great experiences will far outweigh the bad ones.
  • In the 1990s, you will realize that your biggest fear is waking up at age 80 and regretting the things you didn’t do.  Have this tattooed on your forearm so that you never forget it.
  • Always check the “TO” line of your outgoing emails. One day, you’ll think you’re forwarding a letter to a confidante, along with some snarky commentary, when in fact you’re replying to the sender (who is, sadly, the subject of said commentary). You will be embarrassed about this for YEARS.
  • NYU will drive you insane, but that’s okay, because one night, at a short-lived club on 13th Street, you’ll see a handsome stranger across the dance floor. A few weeks later, you will meet him. He’ll ignore you for a very, very long time, but don’t worry: he’ll be back.
  • By the time you hit 30, you will have been in love exactly two times. The second time’s the charm.
  • Callie & TiffOccasionally you will be tempted to search for your biological parents. DO NOT PUT THIS OFF. Your mother and your half-sister are amazing people. The process of getting to know them is smooth and easy. If you’re a puzzle — and sugar, you totally are — they’re the missing pieces. Your biological father, maybe not so much, but whatever.
  • Richard and Jonno, 1997Your relationship with Jonno will change over time. Accept this. Enjoy this. Good things come of this. More love comes of this.
  • On July 14, 2013, you will get the bright idea to make meringues for a Bastille Day party, despite (a) having never made meringues before, (b) having no air-conditioning in your kitchen, and (c) weather so humid that you’re starting to grow gills. Just buy some Fig Newtons and call it a day.

Much love,
Your older-but-not-wiser self

3 thoughts on “A Belated Letter To My Younger Self

  1. kalalaumango

    lovely. yes, i weep for this species as i’ve had a front row seat with boiled peanuts. yes, plenty of wonderful people and magnificent places, but too many discomforting things to know that this species especially americans (but by no means isolated to the US) are in for one rude fucking wake up call and it ain’t gonna be pretty. real estate scams have only made it worse even though habitat for humanity is a great gesture, i met some people with that group while walking across the south and it wasn’t pretty. can jimmy carter even say gay or queer without him sounding like he has peanut butter stuck to the roof of his mouth?? so that is a great note to self. and i remember that awesome photo of jonno and you from when you first met — it’s amazing to think of many things in between before social media inertia. nola wasn’t on the itinerary — i wonder why that message has been so garbled. perhaps, it’s too corrupt.

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