Dear Little-Kid Me,
Please appreciate being a child.
Take the time to inhale your grandfather’s scent – he’s the last grandparent you have and you won’t have him much longer.
Embrace the Puppy Love at age eleven with that boy who you will still think you love.
Try to remember every second of dying Easter eggs with your Mum – when you dye them with your own kids, every year, you will question how she made them so beautiful.
Don’t take your big brothers for granted – they have taken care of you since you were born, and not all teenagers would’ve been so willing to let their baby sister tag along as much as you did.
Embrace your whole childhood – when you get older and watch your nieces suffer, you will realize how very lucky you were.
Dear Pre-Teen Me,
Don’t “dump” your boyfriend five-hundred times. At twenty-eight, you will still regret being such a jerk. Also don’t take him for granted – he was a decent, patient, kind boyfriend for an eleven-year old kid. Take the time to look at each of your boyfriends in a different light; one day you will learn they could’ve been more, but you were too blind to realize it.
Realize that just saying you think you will have big boobs doesn’t mean it will happen.
At least not naturally :-).
Dear Teenager Me,
Don’t be such a bitch.
As you get older, you realize that having bitchiness ingrained in you makes it difficult to have friends. People aren’t as accommodating as your teenage friends were.
Don’t let that one man pressure you into something you’re not ready for – sixteen really is too young to make the commitment you made. You will always question that decision.
When you are nineteen and fully disgruntled with life, you will meet a man who will make you realize that life outside of this still exists. He will be there for you, no matter what, for the next ten years (and counting). You did good not pushing him away.
Also, physical abuse is never okay. It gets better – it stops, but you should’ve spoken up when it happened.
Life could’ve been so different for you.
Dear Twenty-Something Me,
DON’T sleep with that man.
Even though neither of you wanted to regret the act, you both will. An affair is never okay – regardless of how “in love” you are, regardless of your reasoning.
It will ruin your friendship for awhile, it will ruin your marriage for awhile (although, not enough to make you strong enough to leave), and it will ruin your soul forever. Even when everyone else has forgiven you, you will not have forgiven yourself.
IT IS NOT WORTH IT.
Please realize that your husband will never change. He will change long enough to keep you around whenever he senses you may be gearing up to leave, but he will not change.
He can’t be someone he’s not, and you can’t either.
Stop trying – just being you is enough for someone, even if it’s not for him.
Your twenties aren’t all bad.
Your two children will be worth it – you will see so much of yourself in your daughter. Know that entire first year of constant crying, up five+ times a night, constant demands to be held does get better. She will not be the angelic infant your son was, but you will see her fighting spirit every second of the way.
Embrace their differences – this will be difficult sometimes, but overall, you are doing a decent job.
Dear Current Me,
GROW SOME BALLS AND LEAVE ALREADY.
That man you met at nineteen still feels like he’s The One.
He’s still your support, your encouragement, your confidante, everything that your husband isn’t – and never will be.
Every ounce of your being (his too) screams that you belong together.
Act on it – make it happen.
Don’t keep letting fear hold you back. Don’t waste another ten years without that love. Your excuses aren’t particularly valid, no matter how you package them.
And quite frankly, an innate desire or moral conviction to only get married one time isn’t worth the unhappiness you’re causing yourself.
You / Me
I wish I could write like our Aunt Becky, but I can’t. My words will be misspelled, my commas will be out of place, and there will definitely be run on sentences, but I swear like a trucker, so somehow I think I will fit right in.
So the back story is this: BAD shit happened to me when I was a kid. You know, the dad was an alcoholic, “show me on the doll where the bad man touched you” (I never told my parents, by the way), sister got preggo at 14, and eventually my Mom could no longer deal with it all, so I had to take the bulk of the bad shit. There were days I didn’t know if I would make it. Some days I wasn’t able to deal. I would burn myself or punch a wall just to feel…something. Still, it’s not as bad as some have dealt with and not the purpose of this post. I made it through, bruised but not broken. I just wish I could tell the young girl who dealt with all of that what I know now.
I have been talking to a friend who is quite a bit younger and going through so much in her life right now. She (like me) puts up a strong front, but if you dig just beneath the surface, you can see the hurt and self doubt. She sometimes reminds me so much of my self that it’s scary. When asked, we will both say we are “fine.” Every time she says it to me, my heart cracks just a little. You see, I know when she says “I’m fine,” what she really means is ”This hurts like hell!! My heart is breaking. Somebody please just take away the pain.” But no, it’s always “I’m fine.” I just want to give her a hug and tell her it will all be OK. I won’t, mind you, because that would make me seem weak or soft, or whatever my fucked up mind thinks.
Still, talking to her I got to thinking what would I tell my younger self? So I wrote myself a letter today. Maybe it will help her or some other young girl who needs to know it WILL BE OK.
So, here it is.
I know it’s hard right now, but experience brings knowledge, adversity brings strength.
None of that makes a damn bit of difference when you’re hurting, but faith gives you hope. The hope that there is something greater brings a small amount of peace, even in the darkest times.
When you find love, it calms. Love doesn’t hurt, it heals, it comforts, it expands. Love gives, it should not take away.
If life seems to be spiraling out of control, find solace in the small things. Family, friends, music, words. These are your armor against all that will stand against you.
Remember that the lessons learned from the mistakes we make, and the paths we choose, make us who we are. Never regret them. To do so would mean you doubt yourself. Nothing or no one should make you doubt your worth.
Though it’s sometimes easier to forgive others than yourself, YOU ARE ONLY HUMAN.
Be as kind to yourself as you are to others, and love yourself as much as you do others.
Stand tall without being cocky and be proud of who you will become.
I know I am.
P.S. If none of that shit works, there is always vodka.
Hey The Band!
I’d been meaning to push this out on Fat Tuesday (could there BE an awesomer day?), but life did what it always does – ignores my plans. So here I am, Aunt Becky, rocking you from the suburbs like the Quiet Riot.
It being March already, I hope that you are having a good one, and hey – what’s the weather like where you are? Here, in the suburbs of Chicago, it’s vacillating from low twenties (heat wave!) to subzero temps. Perfect way to breed microbes, as evidenced by 1/2 the schools around here being empty – looks like the Influenza A virus. Damn kids are petri dishes (OF LOVE).
One of the things we’re always (always!) looking for on this site is new content. I know some of the stories you could tell aren’t “as bad” as the others, but that doesn’t change them from being important – we’re not running the pain olympics and as far as we’re concerned, if you have a story, tell it. I know, I know, it’s hard to do, but it’s a task I’m making myself do, because it matters. All of it. It all matters.
You can even do it anonymously, if you so desire.
We do understand that it can be tremendously hard to know WHERE to start on any given story, so we’re giving you some writing prompts (aren’t we kind?). Feel free to add more into the comments.
This month, we’re featuring the always-popular Letter To My Younger Self and we’d love to see what you’d tell your younger self. Bring ’em on!
We’re also doing a Spotlight Series on brain issues – damage, accidents, congenital issues, genetic diseases, viruses that cause encephalitis, stroke, you name it. I’ve had several requests for additional posts on the site regarding coping with or living with brain problems.
And as always, we’re expanding. I know that a lot of the links and other things around here aren’t working like they should, but our very own Matt is helping us to fix this site and start it with a new look and ease of use. So please bear with us!
If you don’t already follow us, you can find us out and about on social media!
We are always looking for new volunteers, so if you’re interested, please fill this out and we’ll holler at you!
Love and Pyrotechnics,
This month on the Band, we’re sending letters to our younger selves – it’s important and it’s freeing. So please, go ahead and submit your own! (you can even do it anonymously)
We are ALSO looking for stories of brain injuries and other problems with the brain, by request, so please, let us know if you’d like to share.
Dear Younger Me,
I can see you so clearly in my memory. Snuggling up with him in a bean bag chair, watching Duck Tales. Making Chewbacca noises at each other, louder and softer, higher and lower, but always laughing about it. Chocolate pudding to get him to take his medicine. Stroking his hair while he seized, and he seized a lot.
I can see it change you. It made you resilient. It made you strong. It made you selfish and afraid. It made you paralyzed damn near thirty years later when your own daughter had a seizure. Even after helping through thousands of them, you panicked. It’s okay, you told yourself, and you meant it. It’s still okay, with hindsight. I would still panic now. You never wanted children because of him. You were afraid of what you would have to do if they were like him. But his wasn’t a genetic condition. It was the result of a brain injury either shortly before or after birth. Maybe it was a stroke before he was even born. Or the high fever after one of his vaccinations. All theories welcome, because we’ll never actually have the answer.
You lived in anticipation of the next Big Bad, and while you had many good things happen, you can’t shake that feeling. Waiting for the next thing to happen. It’s okay. They will, you know, they will happen. And you will meet them all as they do.
Loved you then, love you now, love you always (even when we forget for a minute).
First of all, I need to tell all the editors of bandbacktogether.com how amazing it is that they’ve set up such a platform (slash soapbox) for all of us to yell from. So, thank you. As a new writer just getting the feel for things, it always helps to have a friendly place to scream and shout. (ed note: We’re so glad you’re loving the venue. Keep writing and contributing!)
I know it seems really lonely right now, but it’s only going to get worse.
Sure, your father is getting remarried and you feel especially fearful of your place in the house since he said that she was just as important as you are. But, listen… You’re going to put up with a lot before you feel like yourself again. First, you’re going to find sex and then later alcohol. (Just so you know, this will be backwards from the way most people do it.) Then, you’ll fight with the new woman of the house. Constantly. And everything her kids do wrong will be your fault. Until the day you die. Trust me on this one.
Or, you know, trust yourself…
By the way, your mother is a drug addict. You don’t understand that now, but she’s killing herself slowly. Love her from a distance. She’ll eventually set your apartment on fire at two in the morning while hopped up on the Xanax.
And don’t expect much from your sister. When she comes back in ten years she will not be the person you envisioned. You will not find what you thought you needed.
As for family, remember to call Kimberly every chance you get. Tell her you love her endlessly. You won’t have her much longer. I know. I’m sorry, sweetie.
Once you get out of the house, you will choose not to become a doctor after all and, in fact, you will skip college altogether. But this will ultimately be a major plus as people will have more respect for your position in your career. When you’re twenty-three, you’ll hear the words you’re a smart one for not going bankrupt like the rest of us three times in one day.
But before this, you’ll lose every friend you ever had to the college experience. And you will ultimately lose yourself in the bottom of a bottle. Which bottle you ask? Depends on which night. Usually wine but often tequila or Jack. Pack aspirin in the future. And tampons. Just bring the white wicker bathroom baskets with you. Trust me.
When you hit nineteen and move to Houston to be closer to that boy, he will break your heart but you will move on just fine. When he comes back two months later don’t bother. He hasn’t changed. It’s the only way to avoid the disaster that will occur eight months later when you’re in the shower and he wipes out the entire loft.
Don’t go to that strip club in Culver City. Avoid any bars in San Antonio. Period. And keep close with Jessica. She’s the only friend you’ll ever have. Treat that guy you meet at twenty-two like you’re supposed to, but keep him distant. He will hurt you but in a way that keeps you strong. Also keep your emotions in check.
And when you’re where I am now, you’ll embark on a thirty day journey to find yourself again.
It will be scary but you will spend a lot of time writing. And it will be cathartic and it will make you happy. Enjoy your wine slowly. Enjoy the occasional smoke but don’t become a smoker. And treat your body the way you do in this very moment at your young age. Yes, you are pretty. No, you are not too tall. You will grow into your looks and people will appreciate them so enjoy the freelance modeling. You’ll do few shows but you’ll meet some great people.
Finally, be wary of people. They will use you and lie and inflict their own life problems onto your plate. The only way around this is to always be in control. If you feel a little larger than life, it’s okay. That’s who you really are. It’ll take a little bit of time to understand why you feel so cold and empty, but it will carry you at times.
Oh, and one more thing, you’ll start a website.
Keep it cool kid.
A much older Rabbit.
Just did some spring cleaning and deleted all of my Facebook messages.
The oldest messages I had were from Michael, who was a good friend to me.
Sadly, he passed away a few years ago and I regret not making the time to get together again, and I’m sorry that I didn’t know he had passed until over a month after it happened.
Here’s the trouble — We always think we have time.
Time for that catch-up coffee get together, time for that dinner/ drinks night with that person we bump into at whatever store in town, and we’d really like to take the time to properly nurture that friendship, but we’re busy, so busy! — we’re working, we’re getting married, we’re catching up on our favourite TV shows at home, we’re doing household chores, we could be raising families, and we’re tired, we’re worn out, we’re run down, and we’ll get around to it, we truly will, just —– later.
We might have that family member or friend present on the periphery of our lives, somebody with whom we haven’t always had an easy relationship, and they’ve got stuff going on that complicates things further, and one day, in the future, we’ll patch things up with them properly, we really will, we truly mean to do so. Except we’re busy, we’re so busy, and we’re tired, and we might have our own messy stuff to deal with, and it’s not easy or convenient right now, but we’ll do it, we will, we mean to, at least. Just… not at this moment.
And then suddenly, it’s gone, that window of opportunity to make amends, to say hey, let’s grab that coffee, let’s catch up, let’s grab some emotional spackle and mend the cracks in our strained relationship. Either too much time passes, and the opportunity is lost, or the person passes, and, well… y’know. We’ve missed our chance indefinitely, and we’re left behind with complicated feelings and some weighty emotional baggage that we’ll get around to sorting through — one day.
—- Virtual high fives to anybody who has read this far. You can’t feel ’em, but they’re there.
My mother passed away in February of this year, and I never made a post on here expressly stating so, because condolences are so, so hard. And I’m not looking for them now, either.
Timing-wise, it was inconvenient, as I was 7 days away from starting a shiny new job for which I had really high hopes, and working full time at a “training wheels job” that was getting me re-acclimated with being an active part of the workforce after 8 long months of job-seeking. So I never properly dealt with the unfortunate occurrence, that emotional luggage that I’m sure is still sitting on my shoulders and weighing on me in subtle, almost imperceptible ways. I’m not sure how to go about addressing the feelings that I have. Most days, I’m unable to even completely sort out what those feelings are, and how they might be impacting my daily interactions now without me even knowing.
I know my mom loved me, and even though I didn’t say it often enough, or make enough of an effort to show it, I loved her, too, and I should have made it more apparent, and loved more freely and openly, and made more time to display it properly — not just on days that are societally-designated “love fests” like Christmas and birthdays and Mother’s Day and whatnot.
If any of this resonates with any of you, please, pick up the phone and call whomever you’re thinking about right now, if you can… while you have time.
Didn’t know that your phone can make phone calls, too, and not just send text messages and e-mails? Didn’t know that it’s not just a business tool, and not just it now. It might not be easy, or convenient, but it could be the only opportunity you will ever have. Make it count.
Didn’t know that your phone can make phone calls, too, and not just send text messages and e-mails? Didn’t know that it’s not just a business tool, and not just for emergency purposes, y’know, like calling your loved ones only if you get a flat tire on the highway, etc. etc. etc.? Phone calls can be made without occasion and sometimes the unsolicited ones (not from telemarketers, though… blech) are the most meaningful and memorable.
Do it now. It might not be easy, or convenient, but it could be the only opportunity you will ever have. Make it count.