A Letter to Me, Three Years Ago

Hey brah.

Some of this is going to be weird but you’ll need to hear it. Right now it’s November, 2017, and you’re making big plans to go on a week-long road trip from Knoxville to Kingsport; from Kingsport to Mt. Airy, North Carolina; from Mt. Airy to Fayetteville; from Fayetteville to Hamer, South Carolina; from Hamer to Bishopville; from Bishopville to Greenville; from Greenville to Marietta, Georgia; and from Marietta back to Knoxville.

But I guess you don’t know that yet. Because you don’t plan on coming back. In your mind, you’re either going to cut everyone off and disappear or you’re going to kill yourself.

Spoiler alert: You came back. And you came back alive.

You’re going to spend nights in motels, eating pizza and watching Stranger Things on Netflix. And when the lights go out, you’re going to lay in bed, alone, and pretend to believe in god long enough to plead for your death, that you won’t wake up. But you will. So you go to the continental breakfast and contemplate how you’re going to take matters into your own hands between bites of Frosted Flakes.

But you’re not going to do that.

No, you’re going to come back to a life that’s more chaotic and more of a dumpster fire than it was when you left. You’re going to feel like a failure in your life, you’re going to be convinced that your parents hate you or are disappointed in you. You’ve lost a lot of friends, you’ve lost your dogs and you no longer have any money in savings. Home is no longer home, your friends aren’t who you thought they were and you feel generally unlovable.

You just put a security deposit down on a townhouse in Lenoir City. Right now it seems humble and very … brown. But just wait. Within the next two years you’re going to grow to hate it. It will represent everything you hate about yourself and your life. It will be a symbol of everything you’ve ever done wrong and it will literally haunt you with its negative energy.

Let’s be honest — even though you’re not going to off yourself in North Carolina, you’re going to come home and for the next two years you’re going to wish you had.

That’s dark shit and I know that’s not easy to hear, but stick with me.

You may feel alone but I’m here to tell you now that you’re not. There are SO MANY PEOPLE who are counting on you, who look up to you and admire you. You’re a role model to so many people, an example of how to be strong and courageous, how to push through no matter what the adversity is. You have to be there for them, you have to show them that it’s possible and that there’s always something worth living for.

And can we maybe talk about how your life is going to level up starting in 2019? You’re going to get a bad-ass MOTORCYCLE. Yep — YOU are going to be a biker. You’re going to wear busted black jeans, own multiple Harley t-shirts and hats, you’re going to rev-bomb under bridges and you’re going to feel a freedom you’ve never felt before. In 2020 you’re going to start riding in a tank top or muscle shirt which is going to upset your best friend — and make no mistake, it’s DUMB — but it’s going to feel A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!

You’re going to spend a lot of time in that dumpy, brown townhouse when times are darker than ever, but that will set you up with the opportunity and the motivation to start looking for a house of your own … and guess what? You’re going to find it! It’s beautiful and it’s across the road from a bunch of cows — fucking COWS, man! And they talk SO MUCH in the morning!

Your backyard is going to be fenced in — a decision you consciously made because you think you’ll have a cool dog one day. And you know what? YOU HAVE ONE! His name is Mötley Brüe and he may be the world’s BEST boy! He’s going to tear ass across your backyard, snore incredibly loud in his bed while you work during the day (from home, there’s a whole pandemic going on that you don’t know about just yet) and he’s going to be an amazing little gym buddy.

And you know how you feel incredibly unloved and that the garbage-pail relationship you’re currently in seems like the best possible thing you can expect to deserve? Well, think of every hateful, alcohol-fueled toxicity in that relationship and flip it upside down because you’re going to find a woman that is actually a perfect match for you! She’s just as funny and intelligent as she is beautiful, she takes really good care of herself, is career-oriented, is a total foodie and can easily out-cook you AND she listens to REALLY heavy music! She’s real, dude, and you’re getting your chance with her! I know that’s hard to believe, it’s still hard for me to believe even though I know it’s true now.

By the time you get out of this, you’re going to be stronger, more confident and happier than you’ve been in your entire life. You’re going to lose more friends but you’re going to build a self-respect that you’ve never had before. You’re going to stop living to impress other people — including your own family — and you’re going to have the most genuine relationships you’ve ever known.

You’re going to start creating art again, going on trips again and hey — apparently writing again!

But anyway, you have a trip to get ready for. Charge your camera’s batteries, take two blank notebooks and please don’t panic the morning after you get the firefly tattoo — you just put the bandage on backward, it’s not ruined.

Also: I love you. A lot of people do.


A leaner, stronger, healthier and happier version of you in the year 2020.

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