:: WHY WE BE ::

Boo to false, self-imposed limits, we say. These champion oracles want to live enthusiastically. Follow our trip through projects that challenge, frustrate, and/or scare us. In the end (which is really the middle) we want to live like big bright free and authentically awesome people.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Letter to Me: Yesteryear-ish Younger Self (Tanya)

This post will be short because I am writing it after I got home from a long day of day and night job, and my brain is half working best case scenario (when tired, I also have a bigger flair for the drama). I will do my best to get something remotely comprehensible posted.....so here-it-goes.

Okay, so I saw this book the other day that completely stopped me in my tracks (shopping for toothpaste or something... yes this was at HyVee Grocery Store but they really do have some cool books). The book I'm referencing is called What I Know Now: Letters to My Younger Self by Ellen Spragins. I thumbed through it quickly to get the basic jest, and I did enough "speed reading" to know I like it. One of the seventeen AMAZING women featured in the book (if I counted correctly) is Olympia Dukakis, and in her featured letter she wrote some great things such as "a fine mess you've gotten yourself into this time" as well as "everyone gets kicked down the stairs." So I thought, hey, I will write myself a letter, sort of along these lines. Sureo, I've been kicked down some serious stairs or more accurately tripped down most of those stairs.......

Dear Tanner May, T-Bop, Tangy, TC,

You are one stubborn lady, and one day you will drive these stubborn bones of yours in ways you never imagined possible. Your Grandma Juanita didn't call you "bullheaded" for nothin'! Although you may find yourself plowing through packs of Marlboro Lights for more years than you should, ruminating on the trials of the mini-world you've been exposed to, be prepared that stuff will keep happening to make you ball up in a chair wanting to go idle until life's muck passes through, but you won't. You will find that if you keep putting one foot in front of the other or at least doing a tiny shuffle-along, you will not be just fine but rather really cool-fine. You will learn over and over that your dear father "Papa Cecil" is right when he says "some people that'd bother, but not us...right?!" You will actually start thinking this naturally and immediately when those victimy things happens and smile inherently at odd moments when any reasonable realist person would be beckoning the troops or pursuing an appeal. The coolest part is that you will learn to want to get over yourself, but, and this is a notable but, you will struggle with this. Oh will there be some sorry feelings and firey moments, and you'll learn hard lessons like Karma really is a bitch. Lucky for you, you have amazing pals. These pals will stick with you for the long haul marathon no matter what your performance, so be good to them, always remember your pallies. And Young Person, my inner pal, you will learn along the way that you are so un-awesomely imperfect and irregular that you can't imagine or ask for life any other way. Your mistakes will be mountains, but you will try harder each time to be better than the last, make fewer intentional mistakes and turn all the mountains into nothing less than groovy hills. Some of your mountains, well, you may always regret; keep moving forward, keep shuffling no matter. Keep moving, always listen to your heart, listen to the pulse of your guts, and life really will quiet the muck.

Rock on, and high five a lot of people along the way. This is what you are born to do.

Much love,


patresa said...

i love this very very much, t. i will high-five both younger mountain mistake T and this veteran wise T who is a great leader and a great model (who has great style).

Steph said...

Amen, sister. I have a room full of students staring at a teacher who is wiping tears right now, so THANKS. Thanks a whole lot! :P This post is about as real as it gets, and I so love the sentiment. Wouldn't it be nice if we actually could speak to our younger selves??? Would we listen? Hmmmmm.....
I second P on this one - high fives all around, dearest. HIGH FIVES! You are wise, and w/Papa Cecil's voice in your head... oh man, will I be listening to what you have to say! Yes'm, I sure will.
Very nice, friend. Very nice...

amy said...

You know what is so fabulous about this letter, T-Bop Tangy T? The honesty and goodness in it. I also really liked that you had a Grandma Juanita who liked to use the word "bullheaded." (My dad frequently used this term, most likely because he actually was pretty bullheaded). I totally forgot about the word "bullheaded" until I read this! I'm going to stick that into more conversations (mostly with students).

I think growing up and into ourselves is a never-ending, on-going, human condition. Like, Amy 2010 is totally different than Amy 2007, who was drastically changed from Amy 2005, who was nothing like Amy 2000. Nobody really wants to pal around with Amy 1995. She was a total basketcase and always barking up the wrong tree (and very, VERY bullheaded).

And most of all, pals are so important. You're a good pal (no matter what mistakes pre-2010 Tanya may have made), and good pals always attract other good pals. High five, Tanya 2010! And BIG hugs.

Wendy said...

Tangy, Your letter is incredible. Seriously, it gave me chills. I really don't know how to say it, but if I had your wit and way with words, I certainly would... suffice to say that this is pretty beautiful and hopeful and humble and reaching.

May all our mountains turn into groovy hills! (Love that!)

Katie said...

T. I wish I was clever enough to turn T into something referencing a tart taste, or a pop song, but I'm really not. I'd probably come up with T-Bottom Turkey Tush and then.... the cringe factor, you see.

Anyway. This is one of my favorite posts from you. I love this idea, and if only I knew then what I know now I wouldn't have spent so much money on face cream and flannel shirts. Only my letter to myself would probably have really bad advice in it like, forget the good girl image! It's totally overrated! Screw the whole football team! Learn tennis! Drink alcohol earlier! So, I like that your older, wiser self is counseling your younger self. That seems much more productive than "eat more carbs while you still can."

I also like groovy hills, very much. And, you've charted your course and left room for day trips. Very smart Teeter-T.

Very nice.

blj said...

I love that you set your priorities and own your regrets. Also love "groovy hills." And love "inner pal." I'm going to try harder to get and stay in touch with my inner pal. Thanks, T, awesome post!

Holly said...

I love your nicknames! As I've mentioned, I've always wanted a bunch of nicknames!
I know it's obvious, but I must state it anyway...this letter is very powerful. It must've been so meaningful to write it.
Pals-both inner and outer, one foot in front of the other or at least shuffling along, and GROOVY HILLS! LOVE LOVE the groovy hills. So much better than moles. I HATE moles!!
This letter and the emotion and honesty behind it verifies the ties that bind...the humanity in all the COFFEE chics. I've smoked more Marlboro and Camels than I'd like to admit, and curled up in the chair more than I'd like to admit. all we can do is what you've stated. Lean on our pals and keep on keepin' on.
T-bop COFFEE, I heart this post!

Tanner May (Tanya) said...

Hey thanks you very groovy gal pals! Your comments made me smile and giggle! I'm sure my letter to Tanya 1993 would have been much more harsh scolding, and I don't know that I would (could) talk to Tanya 1996-97ish. She was really a tough one (working in a bar era I made up for A LOT of partying.... I quite fancied multiple martinis, many brain cells never returned).

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday with lots of younger and not as younger moments to talk to and high five those inner pallies. And eat lots of pie, which, really, everyone should do (unless you fancy cake more.... or both). :)

I think I too will use the term "bullheaded" somewhere fitting. It really is a great word.

Thanks to you all for being so groovy and INSPIRING, and I LOVE room for more day trips and hopefully rolls of grooviness. :) :)

T-Free said...

T-Bop! I think that one is my favorite nickname of them all.

I believe in the power of stubborn and bullheaded. Your Grandma Juanita knew what she was talking about. We call that "determined" and "strong-willed" around these here parts, if only to make this fellow stubborn lady feel better about being the same way. :) Stubborn and bullheaded will get you through some tough times, and are very positive traits to have tucked under your survival belt, in my opinion.

My favorite part: "...you will learn along the way that you are so un-awesomely imperfect and irregular that you can't imagine or ask for life any other way." Ain't that the truth. Preach it, sister-friend! :)

I loved reading this letter to your younger self. What a cool idea, and great blog.