An open letter to the 15 year old me:

Hello little one.
Here we are at 1:30 am, as is only proper with us. You haven’t figured this out yet, but our brain kicks in at around 10pm sometimes, and when you are left feeling as though you are flying apart, there are only a few things which are going to calm you down enough to sleep. Writing it out is one of those things, but you won’t always be able to find the words, or be willing to commit them to paper, for fear of how stupid they’ll look in black on white. That’s ok.

You wondered, not long ago, if in the future you would still be dancing at 27. You will be, though not nearly as consistently as you do now – and you will not realize until much later how much you frequently short changed yourself in the last few years of dance while in high school. But it’s ok. You’re going to one day walk back into a dance studio, weighing an amount that you wouldn’t believe if I told you now, you will fight your body for two years, and you will make some dramatic changes in your life that will set you on a new path that you never thought possible. As a result of those changes, you will walk back into a RAD studio one Sept, and by May you will have earned another Pass with Distinction, sixteen years after your last unsuccessful attempt.

No, your spelling has not really improved. But this wonderful tool has been added to your life on a permanent basis: it’s called spellcheck. You’ll have just been introduced to it this year. Learn how to switch to the English: Canada dictionary. Otherwise you’re going to have to add every third damn word. And just wait until you meet autocorrect. Your lazy spelling self is going to alternatively rejoice and curse the fact that it cannot ever seem to learn to write the word “Fuck” the first time around.

You will always procrastinate with your school work. But it does get easier when you stop having to take “required” courses, and can take things that actually interest you. You won’t stay in performance arts, you’re going to learn you enjoy being able to eat more than being on stage, but you find a way to continue to “preform” for the crowd, through Community Management. Don’t know what that is? Don’t worry, you will eventually, and it will finally feel right, in contrast to your current musings of Actor, Computer Teacher or Lawyer.

You will get organized, and neat in almost every area of your life. Trust me, it’s still shocking to me too. You will live and die by work deadlines, and learn to plan as effectively as you can around other people. It’s an ongoing challenge and learning process, so maybe 45 year old Chloe can weigh in and let us know how it goes for her. All those group projects you didn’t do your fair share of in HS though? Yeah, that one is going to rightly come back to bite you in the karmatic ass in College. You will loose track of the number of nights you will be up, editing, rewriting, or just flat out covering someone else’s ass. I’m going to say we deserved this one, though you will partially fail your first Eng class in college because you (rightly) refused to peer-edit papers that weren’t even written at a gr 8 level, never mind collegiate. (You’ll mostly fail for refusing to NOT bastardize the Queen’s English. It’ll ok, the next time you take the class, you’ll get an A. It’s worth it.)

You wondered if you would ever feel like you fit in, 100%.
Going to have to put the final decision off to 45-year old Chloe again, or if we manage to survive longer, 60 year old us. Because I don’t have that answer.
You are going to live in the States for at least 7 years. I know. I know. Again, you will not believe me. It’s ok. You’ll move back to Canada again (though not to Toronto). You’re going to end up in BC for a while. You haven’t gotten there yet, but you’ll make a trip when you’re 18 and fall in love with the mountains and the feelings of peace they bring you, of being tiny and minuscule against the awe inspiring power of nature – but you won’t be brave enough to make the leap yet. It’ll take another couple of years, and then a 7-year stop in WA, but you’ll make the move. And it will be terrifying for so many reasons.
But it will still be the right thing to do.
You will feel too Canadian to ever be American. Then you will feel too American to be Canadian. Maybe 45-year old Chloe will be European or Australian by her time, because we’re running out of options on this continent.

You are going to get married.
I know.
Yup.
Yup, I know.
You are also going to get divorced. That one won’t initially scare you as much, but I promise you, you’ll be thinking about it for a lot longer after you make the decision to go through with then you did when you decided to go through with your “hypothetically….” conversation. You won’t regret either decision, but it’s going to rip your heart out both times, for similar and different reasons all rolled into one.

You will come to very different decisions about Mom and Dad.
You are never going to have the relationship you want with him, but that us going to take a lot of heartbreak for you to find out. He will always choose Sharon. You will learn to be alright with it, because the alternative is you no longer have 1/2 of your story. But it will likely never get better, and you will get to the point where you accept it for what it is. He’s not healthy, and that will make it bearable, but just barely.
Mom will surprise you. No, you still cannot live with her. More than 10 days in close proximity and you will want to strangle her, yourself or both. But she will support you through out the divorce year, and it will surprise you. She’ll never say I told you so. It will take you eight months to stop expecting to hear it. She will never stop being your mother, but she will stop treating you like a child. It’s nice. Hold on to that for the next 14 years, it’s going to get waaaaay worse before it gets better. You and she are also going to switch between the messy/neat one. It still weirds me out.

I wish I could tell you it gets easier. It doesn’t. It doesn’t necessarily get harder either, but it will never be the same, it will never be easy and it will never be boring. You will feel fragmented, you will feel as though you are flying apart, and collapsing in on yourself at the same time. You will go from knowing who you are with 100% certainty! to feeling as though you know nothing about yourself, and worse, that what you are feeling is stupid and that you should be able to handle it. You feel that way now, and it will happen a few times between 15 and 29. And it sucks every time. But I think eventually it gets better, or you at least get better about handling it. You’ve done it at least once already, I’m currently working on it this time around, maybe by 45 we’ll have figured it out, but I don’t think we should hold our breath on it, I think it’s just one of those “life” things.

You asked if you ever figured out the “plan”.
No, you really don’t. You have general ideas, hopes and even dreams, but as you’ve finally started to learn, you can only control you thoughts, words and actions – no one else’s.
(Until you discover the ban hammer. You’re going to enjoy that one!)
You’ll learn you can adapt, that you can survive without a plan, and that you can (and need) to ask for help. People are going to look at you occasionally and wonder how you haven’t gone completely insane.
Just remember, it gallops through your blood. Embrace that idea. It makes having full conversations in your head much less scary. You aren’t nuts by the way, she was wrong. Teenage mood swings. You’re going to laugh about that one.

You will continue to write your life story in your brain, without it ever being said aloud, or committed to a journal or blog. Write more of it down. It’s worth it, if for nothing else then as a great laugh 14 years later. Sorry, but you knew how stupid it was to “crush” on Jack. You’ll quickly drop the going for younger guys thing. It’ll swing in the opposite direction pretty dramatically. And in the end, it won’t be you, or him or you & him that breaks down, but some weird jumble of all three. And a year is not going to be enough time to heal, or rebuild, or even restart. But it was and is worth it. So keep trying, you’re going to miss companionship most of all.

You are going to meet amazing people. Every one has a story. Ask them for it, convince them you actually want to hear it. And when they push back, because they aren’t ready to face their story yet, support them. You might get lucky one day, and they’ll share it with you. Those are the threads which weave your never ending soul together.

Relax. Breath. Think. Smile. Dance. Learn. Love. Do.

You’re going to come to understand that you crave people, action, adventure and experiences. Let it go. Close your eyes and leap. Reflect, but never regret. If you regret, you have not learned yet. It will be ok. And it might be terrible. And it might be amazing.
But it, unfailingly, be.

Relax. Breath. Sleep.