In which Tracy writes an unusually serious letter.

But which letter to choose?  C? R?  Perhaps I should write a number instead....

Dear Future Tracy,

When you were living in California after college, you were really unhappy, remember?  You spent most evenings and weekends at home on Skype with your boyfriend, unmotivated to do anything, scared to go out with people. 
Sometimes you hung out with friends of a friend, but you were so self-conscious and shy and intimidated that it was difficult to enjoy yourself.  You were just tired all the time.  Plus, you had no car.  The car thing proved a huge blow to your sense of self-worth and independence.  So did living at home, feeling like you were back in high school again.  Maybe you were just terrified that what you thought would only be a temporary living situation would stretch on and on indefinitely until you became stuck in it.  Maybe part of you thought that would be easier than pursuing what you really wanted...and Lord knows you were always interested in what was easiest, whatever required the least confrontation and interaction with people.

Work was a challenge, and not in a good way.  You didn't feel like you were good at your job, the parents and other teachers didn't seem to have much faith in you, and there were more days than you'd like to remember when you were nearly reduced to stinging, frustrated tears.  That work was clearly not your thing, so why did you stay at it so long?  You were afraid to quit, I think.  But why be afraid of leaving something that didn't make you happy, even if that meant taking a risk?  So teaching spoiled kindergarteners was not for you--for fuck's sake, be happy about that!  The other side of "Those who can't, teach" is "Those who can, do."  So do, already.  You are a writer.  It is the only way you can express yourself without feeling like an ass, and it's the only thing you've found that makes you feel like you are really, actually good at what you're doing.  Work as a receptionist or take some mindless job, but the rest of the time, write.  While you're at it, start performing and singing more.  You  love it.

Then again, it wasn't just the job that had you down.  You felt bad about yourself almost the whole time you were there.  You started becoming a very negative person--you, who were always the upbeat, optimistic girl, albeit fairly shy.  What's more, though, you partly believed that nothing was ever really going to happen to change your situation.  You were crippled by your self-doubt, your fear of your family's reactions and judgments on you--particularly your mother's.  Eventually it felt like you were disappointing everyone in your life no matter what you did, and you didn't even care if you disappointed yourself because you already felt so damn shitty all the time. 

Oh, you distracted yourself for a while with music and books and the internet.  You let a phone-and-video-chat relationship placate you, instead of just moving to Pennsylvania right away.  And what was stopping you from doing that?  Was it seeing your old friends again?  Why, you would see them at Thanksgiving and Christmas before you moved in the next couple months.  Besides, when they all graduated, they weren't going to settle in California, anyway.  Was it availability of an apartment or job?  The Boy was on the spot to help you with that.  Leaving the school, perhaps?  Well, you started dreading work anyway, and once you quit you never had to see them again.  I know you worried about looking like you weren't capable enough to handle the job; but honey, I really hope your ego has gotten over that by now.  It was a tough job, and you did the best you could.  Everyone knew that.  And even though you probably still miss the kids and the other teachers, they just weren't enough to balance out the way you felt about yourself when you worked there.  So then, was it concern about your family and how they would judge your decisions?  Screw it.  You were twenty-one years old and living a life you hated.  If they knew that, would they really have asked you to stay there?  You hated watching tiny, harmless-looking waves of depression lapping at your toes, but you were just too damn tired to stand up and back away from them.  I'm glad to see you finally found the energy and the motivation.

The only reason I can really think of to stay would have been the beach.  But you can always visit.  Your mother will be pretty dang happy to see you.

I also want to say thanks, Future Tracy.  If you hadn't stood up at last and figured yo' shit out, I would still be working at the school and feelin' sad and lonely and helpless all the time.  And that's annoying just to think about.  Anyway, you're the best.  Thanks again.

Best wishes,
Past Tracy.


Dear Past Tracy:

Turns out, life sucks no matter what your situation is. But you do get to have Lemonheads for breakfast.


Future Tracy.

 Image via Monkey Mind.

No comments:

Post a Comment