Dear Sixteen-year-old me,
I'm still going! Well past 30! You would never have guessed that, would you? As psychic as you are, a lot of things are going to happen that you haven't ever imagined. In some ways, they are just the details, and your insight about the "big stuff" is right on. But in some ways, when it comes right down to it, the details are really all we have. The place we call home (for me now it's a place you couldn't even conceive of), the relationships we have--the people with whom we surround us, how we choose to spend our time and energy. The big, important, cosmic spiritual stuff really is dependent on that.
Right now, you are pouring so much energy into your music and oboe playing, and getting to be really good. Would you believe me if I told you that you will perform the Strauss Oboe Concerto with an orchestra at Oxford University? I know you'd love to be able to perform that work some day: you will! You'll also become extremely good on the english horn. You're a fantastic player, and you'll never know how good you are. But how would you feel if I told you that ten years from now you'll stop playing altogether? Can you imagine not spending up to four hours a day practicing, more time making reeds, rehearsing with ensembles almost daily? Would you believe it if I told you that it can all just fall away when you let go of your body? And that when you find your way back to your body, you might never pick it back up?
I feel that I should apologize to you for the fact that I still haven't figured out a way to be at ease with having a body, or found a comfortable space that navigates food allergies, desired body shape, etc, without damaging health--but perhaps I should blame you for that instead, as you built that bridge and set that course.
What I will tell you is that it's not so bad to get help--people mean well, by and large. Accepting love from other people is one of the surest tethers to life, and one of the surest ways to find meaning in life. It's not at all demeaning to you that your struggles with food and body have a name, and that your tendencies to be either exultant or raging or deathly depressed also have a name. These "names" simply mean that there are other people who go through similar things. We're all unique, but we can support each other when we see ourselves in one another. On the other hand, never let go of the fact that you know best about yourself, your body, your spirit. It's inevitable that you'll make some choices you regret in life, but looking back, I have to tell you that all the most regretful things you'll do will be based on changing yourself to try to please or fit in with other people--to the point of temporarily destroying your own integrity. Please, know you are worth more than that.
One more thing, to make up for the loss of the music: What you never will let go of is your writing! Those little notebooks hidden in the mattress, those pencil-scrawled poems, eight or ten to a tiny page, let their light shine, write them big! They are your great work in embryo.
With much love,