Learning To Love You More




Assignment #53
Give advice to yourself in the past.

Christopher Rogers
Middletown, New York USA



To Christopher at Age 3:
1. It's not your fault that your sister choked to death on a marble, even if it was a toy with which you played. Don't blame yourself for the coming decade.
2. Don't let the baby sitter touch you like that.
Age 4:
1. Don't play house with Weird Nameless Girl at Sutton Hill. Even though she wants to be a robin and you want to be a blue jay, it's going to be awkward. She'll disappear from your life completely after you think you grew so close. This will likely be part of why you can't commit to anything later.
2. Your grandmother loves you. Make sure you thank her for the blanket and pillow and for letting you sleep while you visited her after you ate that stick of butter out of her refrigerator.
3. That's right, you're just kids. Ryan isn't in love with you. You were just kids. Don't torment yourself over how his parents flipped out about what all kids supposedly do. Oh, and don't try to look him up later in life thinking you had some kind of early soul connection. That's just weird.
4. When your mother tells you that she and your father are getting a divorce, don't say, "Cool." Hug her. Tell her you love her. Ask her if she's okay. It'll freak her out because you're four, but I think it might help her later.
Age 6:
1. Changing schools is rough, I know. You're about to do it seven more times. Do your best to make friends wherever you go. You'll probably only keep one in each town, but when you grow up, the ones that matter will still be around. They may even be how you see this beautiful country.
2. Know that it's okay to tell your counsellor about what your father did to you. Don't let him scare you into saying it was one of your baby sitters. There are no cliffs in this area. Besides, she's a great woman and doesn't deserve that.
Age 11:
1. Don't let your stepfather prey upon your shyness. More importantly, no matter what you do, don't withdraw. If you do, the next ten years will be incredibly dark and lonely. They still are lonely.
2. Commend yourself for never having stopped telling your mother you love her. It's not weird. Keep saying it. Keep hugging her. You're both going to need it.
3. Your best friend doesn't feel the way you feel. It's okay.
Age 15:
1. Tell your mother where you're really going at night. It's not dangerous and you aren't going to get hurt. You'll be a lot better off with her worrying about you than when she finds out you've been going to punk rock shows instead of just hanging out at the mall. This will stop you from lying at age seventeen about an overnight trip to Philadelphia. As a result, you'll need to come out at this age, too. If you don't do any of this, just work on total honesty now. Lying will otherwise become a really stupid and damaging part of your life for the five years.
2. It's okay that you haven't felt love yet.
3. After you meet Carrie, end your friendship with
Age 17:
1. Don't meet Rob. Not now or ever. It's not worth fifty dollars.
2. Start looking at colleges. I know your stepfather is telling you that you will spend two years at the local community college, but that's okay -- he's not going to be in your life in three years. You'll have your own choices to make then.
3. If you didn't at fifteen, come out to your mother. She already knows, even though you sing bass.
Age 21:
1. Don't lie about where you're from. For example, don't tell Patrick your name is Connor and you're from Ireland. You'll actually like him. Don't do a lot of things with accents, like passing them off as your own. Play with them and play with characters, but don't try to pass them off as your own.
2. Tell Steve earlier what's really going on with your feelings. Don't just say things because of a sleepy summer afternoon and some body contact. Everything you do means something. See 2 for Age 15 for further instructions.
Age 24:
1. Love yourself. No one else will do it.