Instead of addressing this month's letter to jaded readers, I will write a letter to my future child. Photos by Ian Sims.
Its October 8th 2016. I live alone in Austin, it’s lonely and strange and wonderful.
The first month of college was a movie. The characters are as rich and interesting as the city the movie takes place in. I could write a whole book about the people I have met but I wouldn’t even know where to begin. There’s the stunning Nigerian women, there’s the world renowned athletes, there's the preteen math prodigies, there’s the Korean exchange students, there’s the poets and the dropouts and the ones in love and the ones who aren't. So much can be said about these people and about the things that happen in this city, but I will refrain from sharing details in the interest of time. However I will add that, when you are reading this the adolescent faces that now surround me will all be wrinkled and worn down, or tightened up with Botox, but in this moment we are all unmarred by time and that’s kinda amazing to me.
Even when the unbridled freedoms of college life excited me most, even when I was most keenly aware of my youth and charm, I still felt completely disenchanted within a few days of being on campus. It was due to a mixture of a lot of things; it was the pressure of only being 18 but having to fend for myself, it was taking extremely difficult classes and not doing well, it was being in a failed relationship with someone that didn’t even want to be in it, it was not having money, it was going to too many parties, it was not going to enough parties, it was the elections, and the police shootings - it was all of these strenuous situations, bubbled together to form a concoction that I can only attribute as being the root cause of my premature disillusionment with adulthood.
Of course, in hindsight, I am loved and have nothing to worry about, but the irrational sense of failure and loneliness persisted for many weeks. It wasn’t until I found myself sitting atop a mountain in California that I started to awaken from this daze. Summer turned into fall and things started to make sense again, as they tend to do in autumn. I allowed myself to be bitter and lonely for a few days after I returned from the West Coast. When people who hurt me called to ask for forgiveness I allowed myself to not answer. This is actually a really great tool in healing. ‘Letting yourself be selfish’. Eventually even I had enough of myself, and I just had to stop being bitter and move the hell on. I have found that forgiveness taste better than bitterness and it’s lighter to carry. So in time I forgave people and I forgave myself for being a screw up and now I am okay.
I'm sitting on my favorite Persian rug in the entire world in my dorm. It’s just me and Frank Ocean’s voice here, after I write this letter I may work on coding to get that Google job so that I can support you. I spent the day walking around the city going to farmers markets and museums, getting on and off buses, walking until I felt sores on my feet, and only stopping to eat but pausing occasionally to smile. I want to give you what I know of my ownpath while allowing you to walk your own, so I really don’t care if the path you walk looks like mine, but I do hope you are able to live a life that forces you to pause and smile.
Your super hot and smart mom at 18 years old