A letter to my younger self

By Martin Mendoza

I ran across a YouTube video of LGBT elders writing to their “younger selves” for National Coming Out Day, so I thought I would write one to myself.

Dear Martin,

Was that the last of the pills? Good, now sit down while I tell you why they won’t work. 

I know you’re hurting. I know you’re disappointed. I know that you’re embarrassed and angry. I know everything you planned for yourself has suddenly been revoked. What you thought your life would be has been rejected. Sure, it’s frightening not knowing what the future holds. You had no backup plan. You didn’t think you needed one. And now you feel like the rug has been jerked out from under you and you’re free-falling.

Since you saw no other possible future, you mistakenly figured there was none. I can tell you that you’re wrong. Majorly and thankfully wrong. You think that this disappointment is the worst thing in your life and that God doesn’t love you or want you. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The truth of the matter is that you’re going to be faced with far more difficulties than this. Great news, right? No, the great news is that you’ll get through every conceivable difficulty as a survivor. And while you won’t understand those difficulties at the time, you will, in time.

Stubbornness is a great survival skill, but I can tell you that years later you’ll discover all of your difficulties were from your failures to accept situations as they were.

Fear is a great survival skill as well, but again, the worst of your fears were nothing more than shadows stretched out beyond reality.

Sure, there will be difficult days ahead, but there will be very happy ones, too. Just remember to give each equal attention.

You wanted to hide. Believe me when I tell you that was not God’s plan for you. God’s plan is for you to live in this world, meet new people, fall in love, lose love and find it again, and again. When you lose it, you’ll wish that you would die. If it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all, you’ll ask: better for who? I’m here to tell you that it will be better for you.

You’ll meet new people, travel to places you never dreamed and make friends everywhere you go. You planned for a life in the shadows of the church. You’ll live a life in front of people and speak your truth.

You wanted to live a life of humility, but that is virtue that often escapes you. Rather, you will live a life of great passion. You will live a life doing things that you thought you never could do.

There is so much more I could tell you, but that would spoil the surprise, the mystery of what is to come. Don’t cut your life short, embarrass your family and never know what wonders lie before you. Live! And live each day with healthy curiosity about what tomorrow will bring.

If you accept this challenge, go and vomit those pills out. Promise to never try this again. With all my love,

Your Older, Wiser Self

Mendoza is a member of the memoir writing class at Shepherd’s Center of West Wichita. He can be reached at
Mendozamdm@aol.com.

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