What would you do if you went back x number of years? Someone asked me and I asked the specifics. Did I time travel, or was I in my younger body? Did I have my memories and experiences from current me? Specifically, I considered what it would be like, having my current memories and experiences trapped in me during my freshman year in high school. I hated high school, especially now that I’ve lived ‘real life’. “I would chew my mother out,” I finally answered.
“Yeah. And I would enroll in more extracurricular. I felt like she didn’t let me enroll in extracurricular.” He was surprised, especially with my bitterness towards that chapter in my life. He somehow had drawn the conclusion prior to our conversation that I was popular and social in school. “No, I was the outcast of the outcasts.”
I understand myself now well enough to have been a counselor for young me. I would have been able to point out why I was looking so desperately for validation from my peers, and that I do behave differently from them due to the isolation I went through. I would point out that the reason why I was not drawn to boys my age was because they lacked the ambition and leadership skills that are not commonly found, especially in boys, but that there were people out there that would love me for me. In fact, if I went back in time as my friend suggested, I would spend those years waiting and preparing to come back to where I am now. I would make sure to be at the college cafeteria during the first week of school where Alice and Edward would see me and invite me to sit at their table for the first time.
I even considered the relationship with my ex and how it affected my relationship I’m in now. I wouldn’t date him. I wouldn’t be content to be with anyone knowing my “soul mates” were out there and I would meet them again. What I would do is I would surprise my ex by telling him things that others didn’t know, and tell him that he was important and needed to not give up. I wonder what that would have done to him, to not have wanted anything from him and still validate him as a person. To kill time (I’m waiting years for true love) I would have probably made friends with him still, and taught him what a non-sexual significant other is, and then hang out with him and tell him the future. I think the mistake I made with the first go was that I thought that if I loved him enough he would love me back, and in a weird way it eventually kind of worked, but it wasn’t organic so it was disastrous.
I would have studied the bible more, and burned my Tarot cards sooner. I would have worked on my relationship with my mother and sister. “I know I’m not like the person I was yesterday, but today I want to be my true self, and that’s what I’m going to do, whether you can appreciate it or not,” might be the first conversation I had with them. From then on, I wouldn’t be feeble, and I would try to allow myself to argue back. I would have defended my writing time, making the argument that this could be a sign that I’m a young prodigy and my mother wouldn’t want to get in the way of that. I wouldn’t let myself be afraid anymore. I would have been a completely different person by the time I put that into practice.
I think I was still going to my father’s place every other weekend per court order, and to be honest, I would have allowed myself to go one more time. I’ve struggled now with my memory, and I think by reliving one visit to his place, I would have enough fuel for my novel to flush out my character confidently. And then I’d draw the line and say more bluntly that I was not going to be around my father anymore and that he made me uncomfortable and crossed boundaries. I think I could have prevented him from molesting my sister, and he also would not have gone to jail years later. That makes me feel strange, that the abuse my sister went through has resulted finally in my ability to go anywhere in the city without looking over my shoulder for a few years.
I would have gone up to Bailey when I saw her in the hallways, and I would have kissed her and told her I would marry her someday, before walking nonchalantly to class. She would have appreciated it, too, even before knowing. Hell, she would love me more now if I had.
I asked her this evening what she would do if she could take her current experiences and go back to her first year in high school. I’m glad I asked, though her take would have been almost opposite mine. “I would tell everyone I was bi and polyamorous, and get the shock factor out of the way then so it wouldn’t surprise them with my relationship now. They will see it coming.” And she would have made sure to have fun. Because we went to high school together at the same time, but weren’t close, it was an interesting and enriching conversation. I got to learn more about her now by hearing about the old her and her motivations, and some of my memories returned to me. I also have a greater appreciation for who I’ve grown into.