I crafted you in my head decades ago.
You’ve evolved; your name has changed, your career oscillates between a few things, your family changes, your appearance changes, your fashion and hair altered when new styles come in.
But lately I haven’t been thinking about you. And when I say lately I mean in the past five years. I’m not sure if it was more so a childhood endeavour to aspire for this different, amazing life, to wonder what it would have been like to be on top the world, be successful, and reach a peak where there seemed to be nothing else to strive for. But I think I need so start thinking about you again because I’m at the cusp of trying to fulfil that vision, and frankly, there are some things I’ve realized that I need to say to you.
I’m building you little by little. You’re supposed to be intelligent, well-read, highly educated; people both admire and fear you. I’ve been trying to read everything that’s been on your to-do list: I’m reading War & Peace right now, and desperately trying to finish it. I think you’re smart, but I don’t know how people perceive you. I don’t think they fear you… is that something I should still vie for? You’re also supposed to be trilingual in English, French, and Italian. I’ve got two down (ish) and I had completely forgotten about the remaining language so I’ll add that to my to-do list. You always wore the latest clothes and had great style, and this is largely due to my childhood admiration for the witty, wealthy, and well-dressed Massie Block. Fulfilling this part of you has been difficult but not without investing lots of effort: I buy all these things but nothing seems quite right. I’m slowly learning about getting things tailored, what to splurge on and what to skimp on, how to spend my money. It’s been a wild ride let me tell you.
I’ve failed you in certain ways. I didn’t end up being Ivy League-educated, but I must admit that I didn’t try as hard as I should have. I think if I were to do more school, it would be Ivy League or bust. I will work harder next time. I’ll do it for you. You’re no longer friends with C and most likely never will be, and I’m really sorry that I screwed that up so badly for you. You were supposed to be very skinny and beautiful, and I’ve reversed everything that That Eating Disorder gave us. But I haven’t stopped thinking about it… about all the things that I can do to redeem myself, so please forgive me as I try to fix everything. And as a side note, I still see what L, MT, MN, B, and C are up to. They’re healthy and leading lives so starkly different from what they thought they’d be doing ten years ago, and I hope you’ll begin to understand that not all stories have happy endings but that doesn’t mean that the story’s no longer good.
You were supposed to be the CEO of a luxury goods empire. You were an actress slash fashion designer slash CEO of fashion houses, hotels, and schools. You could really do it all. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve certainly realized how unrealistic that is. You were also supposed to live in Paris or the outskirts of it, and I’ve now realized that I don’t want to permanently live there. Ever.
You fall in love so easily, like you don’t have to work for it. Like you just end up with this family of five kids… and I want to ask you, “How?”. And you’re not very in love with your husband, at least that’s what I recall in my 11-year-old rendering of The Woman I will Someday Become. I want to fall in love; I want to fall in love like AB.
There are many things from which I’ve deviated in terms of hobbies, academic interests, and personality. I guess time has helped me figure things out and tweak my aspirations, and I guess there are also qualities and values that I hold that have never wavered. I’m not sure where the next decade will bring me; not to scare you or anything, but that’s the period of my life when I become You. I hope I get closer to my goal.
I wanted to say hello, that I haven’t forgotten about you. That I’m building you up in my own way, and I hope that The Woman I will Someday Become will make both of us proud. I think I’ve let other things distract me… but no more! I’m glad I wrote to you. And I hope you’ll smile when you read this someday.