Friday, January 8, 2016

Life, As You May Not Know it Yet

8:15 PM

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Nola writes a letter to her 13-year-old self about the life that awaits her.

Dear Nola, 

There are a lot of things to say, but let them wait patiently after I say these words: thank you for existing. Your existence is of value to the many people who love you, and it would be valuable all the more in the years to come. But if you feel unloved and alone in this time of your life, know that there is worth and dignity in just being. 

I won’t give you any warnings in this letter, because I believe that you must go through your life the way I did. What I want to give you are nuggets of advice that aim not so much to instruct you (although it may sound like it, in which case it wouldn’t hurt for you to listen), but to console you for things that happened and things that will happen as you go.

I know that you feel a deep sadness gnawing at you for every time you think you’ve grown ahead of everyone. Living alone in a different region from your family, you have had to raise yourself. Life itself that was your parent, with its own brand of parenting that lets you learn things the hard way. 
I want to tell you that I’m so proud of you for sticking it out, backed by the wisdom that Mom has imparted in you; her words that you so conveniently ignored then, but are slowly learning for their truths now.

I say that more truths will make themselves known. They will hurt you in different degrees, but rest assured that despite the bruises, you will grow to be stronger. Don’t ever mistake a hardened heart for a strong one, for tenderness is what helps the heart reshape itself every time it breaks. 
I won’t tell you to stop crying for that boy who broke your heart because you deserve better. Go on and cry about it. It’s okay. And yes, you deserve better, but always remember that you don’t have to count on other people to give you the best things in life, because you can give that to yourself. 

You will understand this better when you progress through life, but for now, go ahead: love fiercely and get your heart broken. It’s in losing things and people that you know better: how to value those that you have before, during, and after the loss. And I repeat: it’s okay to cry. It’s okay to ask for help as much as it’s okay to want to be alone. 

I also have to let you know of the power of your choices. And I’m not just talking about the big ones, like choosing your course in college or choosing who you fall in love with, but it’s those little choices that constitute your life – spending more time on the Internet rather than with your loved ones, slacking off rather than striving to work harder. My advice is to always choose to be patient and to be loving, when it comes to tasks and people. 

Nola, my words may sound heavy and you may not have the capacity to understand them just yet, but let me tell you this: life teaches you lessons. Not through words, but through circumstance. And it’s best to savor both its pleasure and pain as it goes on. Smile and laugh at its being funny; cry and punch a pillow if it hurts. Please don’t be ashamed of your sadness and don’t be critical of your happiness. 

You’ll go through a lot more, but I’m so proud of what you’ve done so far. Embrace life every chance you get. 

Truly and lovingly yours, 
Your 20-year old self 

Article by Nola
Art by Zoe
Nola spends most of her time writing and drinking beer. All the things in between are for sleeping and eating pork chop.

ZoĆ« is a can-doer of all sorts. On some days, she enjoys illustrating the wonders her imagination can conceive. On others, she is exceedingly musically-inclined. You’ll often see her stopping in her tracks to take pictures, or on the train with earphones on, filling her phone with thoughts and ideas for her next piece of art. You can listen to the songs she's covered here:


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