A Letter to My 23-Year-Old Self Who Was About to Turn 24

From my 24-year-old self who’s about to turn 25.

You’re okay.

First and foremost I thought you could use that affirmation.

Your hair doesn’t fall out in clumps anymore. On May 19th you’ll chop off layers for a bob. You’ll soon find out once you have short hair, there’s no going back.

You’ll somewhat find your calling in writing. Acknowledge that first and foremost, you are a writer. You will realize your greatest weapons are pen and paper (and your sharp tongue).

You will delete fruitless dating apps after declaring “if I see one more schmuck with a gym selfie i’m gonna quit Tinder”. And quit Tinder you did.

Your best friend will be home and while he may not be your home, he’ll always be your James Corden for Reputation (car)aoke. You’re the happiest riding shotgun in his car with Taylor Swift and your own voice blaring.

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You will find yourself relating to many women you don’t even know in person. Most of them are fictional like Alyssa from ‘The End of The Fucking World’ (which you’ll end up re-watching 5 times in one sitting) and Christine ‘Lady Bird’ McPherson from the film ‘Lady Bird’ (which you’ll watch 3 times in the cinema, the first time by yourself).

The topic of loneliness fascinates you. It will always be something you’ll either struggle with or embrace. It’s a tug of war. A constant one.

You’ll be proud of the things you pull off by yourself. Watching films solo will be your new norm. You’ll manage a professional blog by yourself and it’s like your baby. Going to the mall, running errands, sitting in the waiting room of your therapist shrink or your psychiatrist shrink. All activities by a one-woman team of yourself.

Sometimes you’ll feel like an island. But flying solo is meant for you. The next is to soar. You’ll put travelling alone in your bucket list and you’ll be aiming to go to South Korea by yourself in 2019 for the sole purpose of visiting bookstores and book cafes.

You’ll find yourself making rounds to bookstores where most of your savings would go to. You’re a bibliophile to the very bone, it’s insane how much you’ve grown to love books. You tend to go overboard with your book purchasing so you end up buying a new shelf. You know, during Kemahiran Hidup back in high school you were pretty shit at hammering but you’ll do a great job in assembling it. It’s hella solid.

You will venture out to read other authors aside from Murakami but you still pay him revisits occasionally. By the time the year ends, you’ve read 19 books. The most you’ve ever read in your life annually.

You never leave the house without the following: a book, earphones and sunglasses. All three are essential to your “please don’t talk to me” aesthetic. Also, always double check if you have earphones packed, you’ll need them to survive work.

Though you wouldn’t want to be bothered, you will find the most insightful conversations coming from Uber drivers who often mistaken you for a high school kid.

You know your once major insecurity? Your “suara kartun” as some punk in sekolah agama once called it, it doesn’t bother you anymore. You found your voice, literally and figuratively.

Talking on the phone will be somewhat a piece of cake but you still freak out when the office phone rings, especially when you’re alone and everyone else is at lunch.

Rings are another essential you never leave the house without. There will be some instances where you leave the house in a haste and ringless. You will feel naked. Rings are your own construct of a fidget spinner, screw a symbol of friendship or love or any of that crap, rings are your grounding tool when you’re anxious.

You’re gonna love over-sized shirts, especially RM 15 ones from the men’s section of Cotton On. Your wardrobe hasn’t change in terms of colour scheme and whenever you go out to shop your mum warns you to not come home with anything in the colour black. You’d want more piercings but you’re either too chicken or your mum will get mad and say “what for?!”

Driving still freaks you out and you’re still a license-less commuter, but you’ll slowly warm up to the idea of being behind the wheel. FUN FACT: 2 DAYS BEFORE YOU TURN 25 YOU’RE GONNA DRIVE A STICK! OR AT LEAST LEARN TO DRIVE A STICK AND YOU’LL BE FUCKING PROUD OF YOURSELF.

You’ll either feel too much or feel too little. And you help balance them out with chemicals. Coffee is your poison when your energy is low but you’ll end up regretting it when you feel too wired.

When you feel too much you’ll pop a quarter of a Xanax.

You’ll find out the first two weeks of being on prescription medication are the worst. You’ll journey with different doses and they will make you feel like a rockstar. You’ll set goals to be on a lesser concoction. Please listen to your body (rather your mind) when you set this, sometimes it’ll tell you to set that goal aside, you’re not ready. But you will be, someday. By the time you turn 25, you’ll have tried 2 different antidepressants, increased and decreased your dose of Xanax and get weaned off Ativan. You’ll sleep well, insomnia who?

The pill cutter is an invention you’ll endlessly praise. You used to cut huge ass panadols with a knife and a chopping board and you’ll begin to ask yourself where was this creation all this while in your life?

You should start watching football again. Your favourite players aren’t getting any younger and your Spanish is getting rustier.

There’s many hiccups. But you’re a fucking champ. You got through them and you should feel proud of yourself. Give a pat on your shoulder, Mariah.

You’re loved. I thought you need to hear that. You won’t be loved in the ways a half becomes a whole but in so many other beautiful ways, like how owners of a bookstore greet you so fondly.

You will need to work on reinforcing that. You are loved. You are loved. You are loved.


Author’s note: I wish I had written this when I was about to turn 24 last year. Instead, this was what I was fussed about when I was going to turn a year older. I’m writing this this entry as a bookmark of progress from where I was the year before.

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