When I was 10, we had two TV’s with cable – one in the living room and one in my parent’s room. Between my brother’s Super Nintendo and my sister’s Food Network, I rarely got to watch it in the living room, so I commandeered my parent’s TV. My parents had a giant bed with 47 pillows and tons of blankets, and I had privacy – I flipped between Wishbone and MTV while writing stories about unicorns whose parents were ax murderers and no one bothered me.
Do you ever have those moments where you’re all, I’ve been here before? Continue reading “Flashbacks”
I don’t post on every terrible event that happens in the world. And when I do, I’m sickened by the thought of “who is going to fuss at me this time?” “how long until the articles come out about the other – or greater tragedy that I’m ignoring just by making my profile picture different?” My Facebook doesn’t change lives. Obviously. It’s private, first of all, and I don’t post enough to infiltrate algorithms. Same goes with my Instagram. I’m not an activist. I don’t post to change people’s minds or make a difference. I just post.
I don’t know much about Beirut, beyond what I’ve grown up hearing. I’ve never been there. My heart aches for its people, and it aches when I hear of those suffering in war torn, drug ridden, famine suffering areas. Of the refugees and the hostages and the prisoners of war. It doesn’t end at the Middle East. It’s in Africa, Mexico, America, everywhere. Conflict scares the shit out of me. From when I was old enough to realize what was happening in the first Gulf War, and I hid under the dining room reading the newspaper and crying because my uncles were there, my friend’s dads were there, there were news stories showing the US bombing Baghdad and I thought my dad would be going next. I count every single blessing and star that I haven’t experienced conflict directly.
The fear that it could happen where I live, and the realization that it happens basically everywhere close to me, is very real. And I didn’t give my social media prayers to Paris because mainstream, white washed, pro-western media told me to. I gave them because I have an emotional, life changing connection with Paris. And because I know that feeling of watching the news, wondering if everyone you know is ok. Wondering what will happen next. Wondering when it will all be over. Wondering what you can do to stop feeling so helpless.
I don’t know what the answer is. I just know this weekend was a difficult one. As I read the news from my couch in my warm home with dinner ready in the oven, all my friends and family safe and accounted for… I’m just thankful for where I am, and everything I have. I don’t take it for granted.
Dearest 20 year old Audrey,
This is your 30 year old self, here to offer you a glimpse into what’s coming, and maybe some advice (even though you won’t take it, because you’re *really sure* only you know what’s up. Trust me, though, you don’t. Not even a little). So, here goes, some advice to you, you fragile little creature.
-take college seriously. Quit some of your jobs and focus on school. Give a shit about your classes. Take internships that are offered to you. I know it’s hard while you’re depressed. Just fight through it. The grades and knowledge will be worth it. And yes, I know you’re conflicted about leaving New York and transferring to GMU, but don’t worry. You’re going to meet people there who shape your life for the best. AND STOP SKIPPING CLASS.
-leave him the second you think you should. It will save you years of heartache and self-doubt. Stand up for yourself, and don’t let him rip you down. That’s a lesson you’re going to wish you had learned at 20.
-don’t accept that credit card with a $3000 limit. $3000 isn’t an emergency card–it’s a ticket to Trouble Town. And please start saving money. Get a therapist, not another credit card.
-while we are on the subject, stay out of H&M. You won’t own a single thing you bought there for more than a year, and you’ll save yourself about $5k.
-With all that money you save, go on every vacation offered to you, and study abroad. It gets more difficult to travel when you get older.
-study Mom whenever she makes a meal. You’ll wish you’d done that more when she’s not a phone call away.
-don’t spend so much time freaking out about not being where you think you should be. You will learn the hard way that you spent the freest years of your life digging through the “I Should Be” pile, and comparing yourselves to others.
-enjoy that metabolism. And that hair.
-stop panicking about what ifs. What ifs will be lurking around almost every decision you make, because you’re high strung. That’s you. Just relax. There’s a lot ahead for you. And even if you don’t listen to me at all, you still end up living in Australia with your soul mate. And you’ll still be writing. And you’ll be employed. And you’ll still be able to fit in most of your high school clothes. And that’s pretty much above average.
Your 30 Year Old Self
ps. Don’t get rid of that black sleeveless shirt with the lace Victorian style collar. It’s almost ridiculous how much you end up missing it.