Learning To Love You More




Assignment #53
Give advice to yourself in the past.

Oakland, California USA



Advice to Lisa, Age 13:
1-Study Spanish, not French. It will come in much handier when you live in California, and you'll never speak French well enough for it to be especially useful, even when you run off to Paris in twenty years in a misguided and expensive attempt to heal a broken heart.
Advice to Lisa, Age 17:
2-Keep fighting Mom and Dad about having to get confirmed, but don't be such a little bitch about it. Yes--they are wrong to think that you should just suck it up and embrace Roman Catholicism to keep your family happy, and it's true that by refusing to do so, you show more respect for the religion than they do in pushing you to be a Christian joiner against your will. But don't steal the car and run away from home. It will only make things worse.
Advice to Lisa, Age 18:
3-Don't cry because you and Devon are destined to part when you go away to school. He will never again be as radiant, as handsome, as sun-kissed and magnificent as this summer he is spending with you out at the lake, his smooth hair always falling in his eyes. You are catching him in his moment of fullest bloom. Inhale.
Advice to Lisa, Age 22:
4-Do not go back to Brown after spring break. Even though you are supposed to graduate in two months, you've already stopped going to classes and you've abandoned your thesis because of your depression. You believe it will get worse upon returning to your apartment and to Matt, and you are right. You will become anorexic and suicidal and, as you suspected, you will not graduate anyway. Stay home with your parents, who do not understand, but can at least keep an eye on you. Don't worry; you'll go back and finish your degree next year.
5-Stop hanging out with Matt, baking bread for him and waiting for him to come over to your apartment and fuck you. He comes by because he misses you, but you guys are never, ever going to get back together. Even though he was your best friend, the dramatic back and forth you will endure with him for the year after your break up will utterly destroy any love and affection that remained between you.
Advice to Lisa, Age 28:
6-Your affair with Sean may seem like a tidal wave you are helpless to stop at this moment of weakness in your life, even though you are aware that he is a pathological liar. But be prepared for the natural and obvious consequences of your actions: you will alienate several colleagues who you will continue to have to work with for a number of years, and he will, after not very long, begin his complicated game of deception and then disappear--just like he left his wife to be with you.
Advice to Lisa, Age 30:
7-Don't fall in love with Tomaso. His adoration and need to be with you constantly will feel like love, but really, he's trying to escape from the fact that he got his ex-girlfriend pregnant not long before he met you. He'll never tell you this, and he'll break up with you right around the time the baby is born, with no explanation. You'll have a question-marked shaped hole in your heart and the only reason it will ever be filled is that, several months later, you'll just so happen to go to a bar with Barbara when you are in New York for work, and she will confide in you this entire situation, including the fact that he is being sued for child support.
8-When Liana's mom dies, get over yourself and be there for her more, as much as you can.
Advice to Lisa, Age 32:
9-When Eric confesses to you that he is bipolar, that his father was an alcoholic adulterer with a secret second family, and that his mother was neglectful and is financially dependent on him, don't assume, despite his many kindnesses, that he has summoned superhuman powers to emerge unscathed and even preternaturally self-aware from this sorry foundation. End it when you are still having doubts, before you fall in love with him, while you still cringe at the sight of his white Crocs or that ridiculous cowboy hat, and when you haven't forgotten that bizarre lie he told you about going to Costa Rica. End it, because if you don't, you're going to crack open the most ancient parts of your heart for him, and when you least expect it, he will call you up in the early afternoon of an ordinary day and devastate you.