This is the second in a series of Premeditated Meditations that are drafts of chapters for an upcoming book. These chapters represent sample letters we write to ourselves when we’re feeling emotionally strong, resilient and happy, and they exist to remind ourselves that we will feel those feelings again.
The distance between where we are when we’re reading, and where that version of us wants to be, can be covered be using a form of meditation to get us out of the state of mind.These letters are that meditation, prewritten, when we were feeling much better.
By reading them, future us has no choice but to stop thinking their painful courses of thought because their consciousness will be filled with the words in the letter. Those two different courses mean that we will experience entirely different feelings.
Wisdom takes many forms. In this example, this is a letter written by a very happy, strong young 16 year old, and to herself for when she’s so frustrated by not feeling like she fits in or that people like her that she starts hating herself and her life so much that she’s cuts herself.
Good. You went and got this. Now don’t stop reading it part way through. You were smart enough to pick it up, I was smart enough to write it, it has a purpose SO READ THE FRICKKEN THING!!!!! Duh.
You probably appreciate the all-caps and !!!! because that’s how it feels when we cut. We’re just so mad. Mad at mean girls. Mad at dumb teachers who say hurtful things. Mad at ourselves for caring what some jocks think. Mad that mother never knows what to say.
Okay, first off, put the blades down. Why? I’ll tell you why, BECAUSE IT’S STUPID!!! It’s just going to lead to guilt. Don’t.
Why do you call them stupid when they’re in the gym and they work out and eat right and take care of themselves?
Stop and think about it girl. You’re sitting in your dark basement, like you’ve done a million times before, and you’re thinking so much about how you hate yourself and that your body is like some building you want to deface, like somehow it betrayed you.
Umm, maybe think about the fact that you don’t treat it very well. Because think about it, you’re cutting you’re own skin. Wha?!?!?!?!? This will not make your problems go away. What? You cut your leg and you magically get a new life? A new house, new brothers, new parents, new clothes –a new body?
Look, this is what God gave us to work with. If Stephen Hawking and the actress that plays that weird-looking chick from the new netflix series can have good marriages and cool jobs then it’s obviously possible. But it’s not gonna happen in Mom’s basement.
I dunno. Maybe we are a just a ditch digger. But maybe we argue in front of the Supreme Court. My point is, how will we know if we never get out of the basement and actually live a life??
The stupid jocks win 20% of their races and that keeps them happy. 80% losing. We quit pretty easy you know. Bit weird isn’t it? To have the ‘strength’ to cut ourselves and suffer having no life, but not tough enough to accept some insults?
Is it really that surprising that in a school band with 25 people, 3 might not like us? We don’t like at least 10 of them. Because if perfection is the standard then we’re doomed. But that’s stupid.
Where are the perfect lives if that’s possible? Everyone bitching about their life. So who’s listening to our bitching? Not Mom for sure. Either that or she’s already listened too much and now we’ve infected her with this too.
Get this room cleaned up, put out the joint, and figure out where you want to be in five years. We know we’ve already ruled out a bunch of stuff, but there’s nothing stopping us from not cutting and looking up vet schools instead.
Are we calmer yet? Can we get real?
You and I both know it. When we’re cutting we think like life shouldn’t have anything bad in it, and we take EVERYTHING so personally. Those girls would be beautiful anyway, whether we went to that school or not. The comparison happens in our heads. They didn’t force that on us.
Because as long as we blame them, we can’t fix it, because it’s not them. It’s us thinking we’re supposed to be someone other than who we are. We’re constantly comparing ourselves to them AND WE DON’T EVEN KNOW WHO WE ARE YET!!!!
Come on. Think about it. We learn from every experience. When we were 5 we knew almost nothing, but by 10 we’re in school and can use a computer and we have keys and know where stuff is.
And then by now we’re starting to drive, we buy all our own clothes and we’re thinking about jobs and stuff. Every year we get smarter because we learn more stuff.
Ok, so why wouldn’t that keep happening? At 20 we’ll know a bunch of stuff we don’t know now. And then 25 again. It’s crazy. Look at how dumb most adults are. (How stupid must we be when we start???)
We obviously keep adding experiences up. It’s why old people know all that stuff. They’ve been kids and teenagers and adults, then middle aged, then they’re old and super old. They know how to be all those things.
You’re 16 for frick’s sake. How much could you know? No wonder that dork boyfriend of yours gets away with so much. He’s on hiatus right now, you might recall. Because he was not treating me well enough.
That’s okay for you, you cut yourself. But me? I need someone who treats me with respect. I want to be someone. I’m not even sure who yet, but I know I better start getting ready.
I know bawling in Mom’s basement is only getting us ready to be like Mom, who hasn’t been happy since Grade 9. Which is maybe not coincidentally when we started cutting.
Look, bottom line, obviously cutting our own skin serves no useful purpose and then it ends up being some dumb scars we have to explain when w’ere on the beach, or naked with some hot guy.
But at least we’re better to have an explanation for old scars than never meet the guy because we’re still in the basement cutting. A guy who takes you scarred is a guy who can handle when we’re not at our best.
Girl, get out of the basement. Stop thinking that circle of thoughts. You’re not just avoiding your life, you’re avoiding any life. Think about out it. You’re cutting your own skin!!
How bad can these girls hurt us? They’re going to blade us going down the hall? Uh, no.
It’s crazy. We are attacking ourself. We. Are. Attacking. Us. Trust me, you’re gonna feel stupid about this later. Because from here it’s obvious the whole thing is by choice. You could be practicing, or watching a movie, or talking to mom. But no, cut. So smart.
You remember the day: mom asked me/us to go for a walk and we told her to f-off. What did she do? She invited us out. And what did we do? We let her go herself when she’s sad too. And then we stayed here and cut. Brilliant. So please. Stop cutting. Just like every other time you’re going to regret it.
Let’s stop yo-yoing back and forth. No more cutting, then feeling guilty. Without the cutting, less guilt. With less guilt, less cutting. Even if it’s the wrong thing, just pick something and make yourself do it. Just for the change.
Be willing to lose 80% of the races. Because here’s what I can tell you from the perspective of being happy –and you know this is true because you’ll remember thinking it:
When we feel happy we can always see that almost every successful person’s lives were filled with failures. The difference was, they responded by getting stronger. We bailed out. That’s on us.
Come on. How long are you going to do this? It has to stop. If this letter worked then the cutting already feels dumb. Good. Throw the blades away. Yes, it’s gonna suck. We’re gonna lose 80% of the time. But I remember Dad saying something. (And duh, of course you do too.)
Remember: he told us that he only sells a car to 1 in 10 people. That’s 9 failures for every success, and he goes there every day for like, 100 years or whatever. But remember what he said?
He said when someone doesn’t buy, he thinks that one of his 9 are gone, so he’s closer to winning. He sees losing, as getting closer to the where he’s going. And you remember thinking about that? It’s fricken smart. That’s actually true! (Who knew Dad could be smart?)
And BTW, the jocks obviously aren’t dumb either. They don’t live off doritos, they see the sun, they’re healthy and they have awesome lives (I think). And they lose 80% of the time!
Look whatever. It’s been shitty. But why keep going? Do that breathing exercise you learned, calm down, and figure out what to do with the day.
If we’re just going to fill our own heads with our whining, maybe we can ask Mom to go for a walk instead. It probably feels pretty crappy to give birth to a kid and then watch it cut itself all up.
If we can’t feel good, maybe at least sympathetic, or compassionate or something might work. Just find one better feeling than the one you have now and just keep doing that.
Look I love you okay. I know it sounds dumb and embarrassing but for fricks sake we’re cutting ourselves. Why is that okay and loving ourselves isn’t? Because it isn’t. #metoo is about stopping abuse. That includes you abusing yourself.
Let’s treat ourselves better, okay? Otherwise we’re just learning to be the perfect girl for some mean guy that needs some weak bitch he can control.
If we want guys with their shit together to pay attention to us then we should try to look like we’re worth their attention. It’s weird to ask them to care about us when we don’t.
I really do love you. And you should too. Listen to our song. Look in the mirror and do the breathing exercise. And then go do something. Because then this letter worked. Because it better. I cramped my hand writing it.
Go ask Mom for a hug. She loves that.
P.S. Stop ignoring the dog.
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.