An Open Letter to Myself

Yes, Lauren, this is very narcissistic. Steer into the skid, you’re 27 and you need this right now. Maybe someone else does too. Maybe it’s okay to just build things for yourself without making everything a grand gesture of humanitarianism.

It’s looking more and more that this existential crisis you’re in is just the journey. Try to smile a bit along the way. It could be worse. You could be 23 again.

You have no idea what you want to do. You want to write. You want to do other things. You want to get paid so you can buy circus classes and pay off student loans. You want to get your cat the nice pet food so your Bay Area vet will stop suggesting that you are a bad person. You want to maybe someday buy your apartment. You don’t know how to do all these things. You hope you’ll figure it out.

Stop using Nathan as your only emotional support. He’s exhausted already and you constantly yelling isn’t as charming as you think it is.

Jetta believes in you. She thinks you can get paid for your work and live an unconventional life. You’re scared. It’s okay.

A lot of people believe in you. A lot of people love you. Even though you’re pushy. Even though you’re smug. Even though you’re bad at meeting deadlines and are a little high maintenance. Even though you talk all the time. Even though you say things you shouldn’t and you’re stubborn. They might even like you because of those things. Poor things. Take good care of them because you believe in them too.

Every person who didn’t fall in love with you was an idiot. However, that doesn’t mean that every person who has ever been in love with you wasn’t also an idiot. You love hard. You look at relationships as something you earn. You don’t know how you feel about that. You don’t know if that’s right. You’ll stick with it for now because you still think it might pan out.

Don’t get into fights you can’t get paid for. Get in lots of fights because it turns out you can totally get paid for them.

Misogynist Carl for all his numerous and exhausting faults needs you right now. You don’t know why but he does. He’s worth investing in. At the very least you can kill him in a book later and making millions. You’re good at making returns. Don’t go easy on him, though.

You always wanted to write a novel but you have earned that memoir. Even though you weren’t captured by Nazis. Maybe the book you’re trying to write is ultimately the book you’re avoiding writing.

Stop drinking coke. It will rot your teeth. Also “bourbon and coke” is not an identity. Don’t be like those people who are defined by their vices. You swipe left on every person who thinks marijuana is a philosophy or a lifestyle. Don’t be the booze equivalent.

You have a lot of sexual capital. Stop poking your back fat. Abandon pants and just commit to dresses full time. You inherited that square ass and it reminds you of your mother. You miss her a lot. That’s okay. Someday the New Hampshire winter will crack her resolve and she’ll spend part of the year in San Francisco and part of the year in Paris.

Go to Paris with her.

Floss more. Case closed.

It’s okay that your last job didn’t work out. The money was great but you felt terrible and exhausted all the time. It wasn’t worth it and you need to double down on what it is you want in a day job. You have a lot of skills. You just need to figure out what they are.

Just because your ex-boyfriend’s family hated you doesn’t mean that you’re inherently the problem. I realize being a swashbuckling fighter pilot is a big part of your brand but you don’t have to be that moody kid with a motorcycle who knocks the ingenue up at prom by default.

Don’t regret too much. You fall in love; you don’t fall in line. That’s a tad admirable. You’ve never been interested in taming or being tamed. You are a romantic, after all. Loving bad ideas comes with the territory. Don’t be a punisher and that includes towards yourself.

You’re probably going to go to graduate school. You already told your mother you aren’t having kids so let her just have this one.

Learn to cook more. I know you’re secretly hoping to marry at least one domestic man who will come over and make you vegan tacos but you need to eat in the meantime and constantly buying orzo salad is not a real life.

People are disappointing; you don’t have the right to give up on them.

You’re not a bad person because you don’t talk to your dad anymore. It’s the right thing. Just because he let you down constantly doesn’t mean you get to hold that against every other person. People will blow you off sometimes and you have to take it graciously.

Complain less.

Practice your faith more. Reading tarot cards at parties is good fun and everything but it’s time to rebuild your altar. To worship instead of constantly seeking worship. Surrender yourself to some rituals and practice. You miss it.

This whole hair thing you have going on is great. Ditto your leggings game. How you dress is a big part of yourself and that doesn’t make you shallow. You’re performing your best self.

Date more purposefully this year. You dated a lot last year and you had a good run. Lots of hilarious stories for parties. But you’re looking for someone you can have actual intimacy with and you don’t do that on the fly. Hold out for it. Shiny, beautiful things are great but you’ve never been with someone who could emotionally nourish you. Someone who could go deep with you. Try to find that person and in the meantime make everyone chuckle when you declare you’re looking for your Jackie O.

You’re going to be fine. You doubt this constantly. Adulthood feels like something you’re faking and you worry that this is just a dream you’re having and you’re still 11 and sorting out boobs. I suspect most people are faking it. Keep up the charade if it helps.

Maybe don’t do a fisting demonstration in bars anymore.

Stop having rum on an empty stomach.

You are not just your work. Your work is a part of you.

You’re going to get a straddle up in the air but you won’t if you keep forgoing working on it because cute people are in your circus class. They watch you sweat constantly and already do not want to sleep with you. Work on your fears and your abs.

I’m glad watching Auntie Mame hundreds of times and reading all that Dorothy Parker has paid off. You can seduce with your wit. You proved everyone who said that men aren’t attracted to intelligence or humor wrong and you LOVE proving people wrong.

Giving yourself space to feel your feelings can be okay. You probably won’t fall apart to the point that you can’t function.

You’re really fucking lucky, kid. I know it’s hard. I know you’re felling unmoored. Suck it up.

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