Dear Self Before Quarantine,
Here are 10 things that you discovered during this time. Hope this helps.
1. Wash your hands (moisturize with lavender hand crème because that’s the good
shit), and do not touch your face.
2. You will only find peace in your life if you turn inward for the answers. Stop looking outside yourself to clothes, money, status, a partner, drugs, alcohol, and notoriety to find the self-love and joy that only you can give yourself. Writing is an excellent way to get new perspective on your thoughts.
3. If you need space from a person, relationship, environment etc. YOU NEED TO BE THE ONE TO ASK FOR IT IN A KIND WAY. It doesn’t need to be an argument, it’s as simple as “Hey, I need some alone time for myself.” People are not mind readers, and it is not fair to punish someone for “not knowing” if you haven’t told them. DON’T BE AFRAID TO TAKE UP SPACE.
4. You can air fry **ANYTHING**, and it will be delicious.
5. Create art from a place in you that lights you up with excitement and fear. Not what you believe other people “might enjoy”.
6. You will always find an excuse not to exercise, but it can be done right in your living room, you just need to show up for yourself. It is so important to move fresh blood around your body and stretch.
7. Cannabis at night in a very small apartment during a global health crisis is a one-way ticket to ANXIETYTOWN, with local, and funny, stops at WHAT KIND OF CEREAL DO I HAVE?, MY NEIGHBORS HATE ME, and THIS IS ALL CRAZZYYY.
8. You need to try everything in life at least one time. You may find something that LIGHTS YOU UP with a feeling. This is how you find hobbies. Aren’t you glad you started painting?
9. Not every day can be a great and happy day. Sometimes you’re in the dumps, and that just is what it is. Give yourself permission to feel all of your emotions. Otherwise, you will just be running from yourself. Once again, writing is an excellent way to get perspective on your thoughts.
10. We are all in this thing called life together. Some have privileged circumstances, and need to utilize that privilege to help make this world a safer, cleaner, and more understanding place.
p.s. Don’t forget to feed your fish!!!!
What I will bring back, a list:
…to be still
…to marvel at nature
Knowing who I want to love and how to love them
How to be loved
Technology for good
Turning everything off for your own good
Hand sanitizer for the subway.
To My Future Self,
There’s no potential for profundity right now. I don’t bring you peace with this letter.
Civilization is undergoing some large-scale renovations. I hope and work for the success of them in whatever way I can. It’s not enough, and I know that. To be honest, I wish you were writing to me, because I don’t know what I can give you from this time that hasn’t been said by someone more intelligent and qualified than I. Ultimately, I just keep thinking about the story Dad tells about Cicero and Verres.
I know you won’t have forgotten it, but here’s how I remember it right now: there was a guy named Verres. Verres was a governor of Sicily, and he was terrible. He abused his power and was eventually put on trial in Rome where he was prosecuted by a relatively unknown lawyer named Cicero. This is bad news for Verres, because Cicero is . . . well, he’s Cicero. He just tears him apart. And the climax of Cicero’s decimation of Verres is the former telling a story of a man’s unjust treatment on Verres’s orders. The victim, while being physically and publicly abused by Verres’s lackeys, cried out, “Civus romanus sum; Civus romanus sum!” “I am a Roman citizen; I am a Roman citizen!” Cicero makes the argument that those words, regardless of whatever the man allegedly did, should act as a bulwark against mistreatment and cruelty. It was a dereliction of duty and, indeed, an act of gross inhumanity on Verres’s part to hear those words, ignore them, and let the atrocities against this poor man continue.
So many in the world are crying out right now: for justice, for empathy, for action, for understanding, but above all, for change. Real, concrete, substantive change. Sometimes the cry is a literal cry. Sometimes it’s people in the streets. Sometimes it’s violent and messy and ugly and chaotic. But just like “Civus romanus sum” it is a plea and a demand by those who are suffering under the despicable and unfeeling hand of oppression for their humanity to be acknowledged, protected, and prized. A few weeks ago, a profound shift occurred in me. Now, whenever I read or hear “Justice for Breonna,” or for “George,” or for “Dominique,” I hear echoes of the man pleading with Verres: Civus romanus sum.
More than ever, the tenuous nature of our existence is apparent. The pandemic terrifies me. I write to you now to steel you against any desire or inclination you may have to cover your ears and hide in the face of fear. Therefore, wherever you are when you read this: don’t be Verres. Hear, listen, and act. It is your duty to the world.
With all the love in my heart,