My dear wonderful friend Jane is visiting me this week, and we have been laughing ourselves to tears and exclaiming in astonishment over the many ridiculous things that have happened in our lives.
And we are also remembering our shared memories from a long time ago when we worked together on the kibbutz. When we got to see each other every day instead of every few years.
This has brought up so much sadness for seventeen-year-old-me who is the star of these hard, hard memories. And so much love too.
So I am writing her (that is, me at seventeen) a letter, and imagining/asking for it to be delivered to her, in the most non-invasive way possible, with as many translators and negotiators as necessary.
Can I just say how beautiful you are?
And how proud I am of your toughness, your resilience, your passion, your creativity.
I appreciate you tremendously.
And I also have to acknowledge the extreme shittiness of this year you’re going through.
Ohmygod! So much hard. It’s beyond absurd, really.
It saddens me to say this part.
There are not very many trustworthy adults in your life right now. Very few indeed. Fewer than you think.
You are going to need to tread carefully here.
They are making promises they cannot keep.
They are saying things they do not mean.
At times what they say is completely untrue. Most of it, actually.
Not out of malice, at least not always. But not trustworthy and not dependable.
Here is who you can trust:
She won’t take action to help you but she will not lie to you and her advice is solid.
One more thing about Rena. Before she dies she leaves you a message that is very important. Pay attention to this.
If you don’t make it to the hospital in time, forgive yourself. Please.
Guilt sticks up the works. Guilt is an impediment to flow. It slows your ability to be receptive to the information you’re in the process of receiving.
Take care of yourself.
Avoid people you don’t like spending time with.
Avoid people who criticize you for being the way you are.
You are completely right to be wary of all the people you are wary of. This is wise. Stay alert.
Sleep. Sleep is unbelievably important.
99.9% of the painful and regret-filled things that happen this year occur due to extreme sleep-deprivation.
All these people who say things like “you can sleep when you’re dead” and “you’re young” and “deal with it” …. they could not be more wrong.
It might be right for them. It might not. Who knows. It is clearly not a right way for you and obviously you know this all too well because you’re experiencing it.
Worry less about hurting people’s feelings and more about being able to function.
Take a stand. Sooner and louder. Insist on access to your room. And if you don’t get it, make a big deal out of it.
Let friendships fall apart if they need to.
Right now you are agreeing to this situation of no-sleep because you don’t know how to stand your ground without further jeopardizing two friendships you care about.
This is not friendship.
They will fall apart anyway. If these friendships knit themselves back together later, they’ll come together anyway.
You are a sovereign being. You are not defined by these friendships. And my love, you really, really need to get more sleep in order to be able to function.
Here are some very useful phrases.
“This isn’t working for me.”
“I feel very uncomfortable right now.”
“This needs to change. What are our options?”
Also: If you sense you are in danger, do whatever needs to be done to get out. It is okay to make a scene. Later you will learn other ways. For now, use whatever works.
There is a book.
Next to X’s bed there is a copy of Catch-22. Read it now. It will shed some light on the absurdity of the situation you’re in, and give you enough perspective to get through the next part.
It will remind you that you are not alone.
Many, many people have also found themselves in ridiculous, impossible situations and taken solace in the hilarity of how impossibly wrong it is.
This is why you are friends with Jane. This is partly what you do for each other.
Can I give you one more piece of advice?
Your instincts are so right on.
Everything you’re instinctively doing right now to preserve your emotional well-being: dancing, walking, climbing trees, writing, learning …
It’s all good for you.
Being with your body is good for you. Being alone and having time for yourself is good for you.
People will criticize this isolation because they do not understand it, but you are building cocoons of safety and canopies of peace, and it is exactly what is needed.
And I will tell you the truth.
You are not crazy. You are inspired.
You are not wrong.
You are not alone.
I am with you. So many of us are with you.
You are loved and cared for and supported even when you can’t feel it.
The skills from now will serve you forever. In ten months you will be in the States — though not for long — and you will find Braude and that will make everything different and better in subtle and interesting ways.
Other things will happen. You will find out what you know. You will trust yourself more.
One day you will know that you are the queen of your life, without having to be reminded of it.
In the meantime, remember that you are not alone. And remember that you are loved. And remember to sleep.
And … comment zen for today.
I don’t even know what to say. Interacting with the past is hard. Interacting with now can be really hard too.
We all have our stuff. We’re all working on our stuff. We give each other room to have our own experiences. We don’t give advice (unless someone specifically asks for it).
That’s it! You are more than welcome to write letters to past selves or to wish each other love or to remember things or to not remember things, as you like.
Wishing you comfort and sweetness and good things. Internet kisses all around.