A Letter to 2005

I found an old diary on a disc in an old box full of other pieces of nostalgia and since it is my birth month, I’ve decided to be a little self-indulgent. I’m going to write a letter to my younger self: you may learn something about your humble author.


Greetings, Amanda!

Who am I kidding, it’s 2005. You’d respond only to Aiko. You barely used your Western given name at all during those years. I am from the future: 13 years into the future, in fact. I found your diary. I wanted to address some of the concerns you had in that little novel. You filled page after page with feeling, with heart and with anxiety. Your diligence is admirable: the best I can do now is update a blog somewhat regularly.

Firstly, thank you for all for all the references you kept in your diary. You were very worried that I’d stop liking anime by the time I was older. I have good news for you: you’re still a huge anime fan. If anything, being older probably only made you a bigger otaku: nothing like a little bit of regular spare time and a bit of disposable income to fuel a raging anime addiction.

I hear you loud and clear. Back then, your family life was…something. I have some news about that. Be prepared to watch your relationships with your aunt completely flip upside down. Not everyone who is your enemy stays that way and your biggest allies may not remain that way. You were in so much pain back then and you felt so alone: things do improve. It isn’t always easy but things do improve. You do the thing you are best at: you build a family wherever you go.

You still cosplay: if anything, you may be better at it than you ever were back then. You still get harassed but things are getting better. You have an excellent set of bodyguards now.

You still write. You didn’t stop and I kept my promise to you that you would write for as long as you are able. It’s a little less fiction nowadays but don’t worry, that part of you hasn’t gone forever.

That boyfriend you kept writing about…well, he’s no good. You do move on and you do find other people who will come to mean the world to you: you get really close to happiness. You aren’t there yet, trust me, I’m doing my best but being secure and healthy is better than being in a string of toxic relationships.

Speaking of toxic relationships, your friends. I am sad to say that many of them didn’t make the cut. But you have built a network of friends that are very important to you and would never betray you. You found a family and you love them: you are not alone. You also are getting more comfortable with silence: I know back then that was scary but now it isn’t so bad.

The future is…well, there’s a lot more to do. But your interests sort have remained the same. You’re still the same Madame President you used to be: you panel now. You’re actually pretty good at it. You are an ally and a proud feminist (you get over some of that misogyny grilled into you).  You find words for the feelings you’ve had about yourself for years: they’re valid and they explain a lot.

I’m happy to say you do achieve your goal of being taller than Edward Elric: I’m 5’2’’ now. I’m quite proud of that, figured it would be good news for you, too.

You don’t get any less wonderful or weird as you get older. If anything, the older you get, the truer you are to yourself. So those worries you had about selling out and being your aunts, no need to worry.

You do join the Bruce Wayne Orphan’s Club. You’re handling it okay.

The current world is a scary place but so was 2005! But we’ve made tons of progress since 2005! We had an African-American president and he was great and almost had a woman president but we’re not going to talk about that. Same-sex marriage was legalized and it’s never been easier to be who you are…most of the time. You are as free and as liberated as you want to be.

And that’s a pretty hopeful vision of the future.

Little one, if I could put your mind at ease, I would. I remember feeling that helpless and scared. But you are so so strong. You are doing the best you can. You did the best you could even back then.

Thank you for this time capsule. Thank you for letting me see who I was back then and seeing who I am now.

Thank you for writing down even the mundane things like having lunch and the weather and what you were listening to.

I promise to take good care of this diary.

Sincerely,

A

Editor of the Past

 

“To regret one’s own experiences is to arrest one’s own development. To deny one’s own experiences is to put a lie into the lips of one’s own life. It is no less than a denial of the soul.” ― Oscar Wilde, De Profundi.png

I’ve been going through old photos. You’ve probably noticed that by now. And old photos bring up a lot of fond memories but also a lot of slightly bitter memories. Time moves on and people fade in and out of your life. But the photos you took of them: what happens when a person who meant the world to you is now a stranger in your life?

Travis and I drifted apart after creative differences over the state of the anime club. Liz and I stopped talking after she started dating that one guy. Davilin and I are still friends on Facebook, aren’t we?

Old photos are so full of people I just don’t talk to anymore. So what do I do with photos that make me uncomfortable? Like the angsty edgelord I am, I delete them. I tend to remove the photos I don’t like. There’s a reason why there aren’t a lot of photos of my life between the ages of 12-16. Those years weren’t great, so why document them?

But it goes beyond just being an aggressive editor of images. I’m also a huge editor of who can see what. Why do you think it took so long to finally make a Youtube channel or why so many friends have failed to do a successful podcast with me? I’m a great podcast guest but I’m not great at running one with friends. I’m image conscious and pain averse.

This method does go perfectly fundamentally how I use Facebook, Twitter and most things digital: I use them as a simulacra of me. I’m part of the “yearbook” camp of Facebook use.  Facebook is meant to be the thing people see that can be pieced together to form one complete Amanda.

But in those photos, I do have a piece of me in each one. I had these people in my life. Their stories matter or at least they did as of the picture taken. And in those old photos are plenty of pictures I want to keep. Pictures of Mandy. Pictures of my mom: some of the last of her life. From my trip to Disney that I enjoyed more than my little cousin. From conventions. Of a thinner me. Of a me in power of an anime club. Of former lovers and former friends. There are traces of me in every single photograph and maybe, just maybe I shouldn’t delete them.

Or I should. No one will know. I don’t talk to these people anymore.