Write out the word, twenties, on a piece of paper. I literally just did this myself. I wrote it down, and then followed it up with a new word that will embody me in the not-so-distant future, thirties.
Twenties. Feel how the pen leads your hand so naturally like cursive bends from one letter to the next.
The "t" stands all on its own, just like you'll have to do at some point. And what follows after is a beautifully painful unfolding of each letter beginning with "w" and waltzing into "e" and "n" and catching pause again with the letter "t" and finally closing off this broken masterpiece is the plural version of "y"-- "ies."
Because there will be more than just one-- there will be twenty-two and twenty-three with new beginnings and freedom. There will be twenty-four and twenty-five, with greater opportunities and stepping into a new future. There will be twenty-six-- where you question your path. There will be twenty-seven, where you've now experienced the extreme pain of heartbreak. And twenty-eight, you will learn to knit the past into the fabric of who you are-- and not allow the pains of yesterday to embellish today. And twenty-nine? I am not sure. I'll let you know when I get there.
I have completed 58,789 words in my memoir of the twenties. When I struggle to process the grief of my brother or the loss of relationships, I think of writing. It brings me home. I think of writing when I fall asleep. I think of writing when I wake up. I think of writing when I'm processing new relationships and how delicate they can be.
The twenties are truly the river of life, flowing through us. We are molded by the shape of our family and put into the river's stream to either stay put or travel along the spine of the earth, vertebrae by vertebrae.
I wear the pain in my center from great loss as a badge of honor. I have loved and I have lost. I have loved so deeply that it gripped me to my core and gave me new dimensions of meaning to life. I have loved so greatly that it didn't matter what the other person did-- I still loved them. I have loved so intensely that I broke for those who may never get to experience such depth of love. Such great care for another human being. I have felt all of these things-- and experienced the loss of them too.
When Tj was struggling with his mental health battles, I would cry when leaving the house and whisper to myself, "I just love you so much."
There are no words when you feel another person is part of your soul. When they get ripped away, it leaves a very raw place. I have no idea how to navigate this next phase of life without having him to call and say, "Yo, like, when did we even graduate from high school? Like, how has life come to this point where all of our friends are married with two kids?"
We talked a lot about this subject.
I never imagined I'd have to enter my thirties without my brother to forge the path before me and alongside me. I've made some really interesting decisions the past few months-- I bought a new iPhone 12 mini. Hated it because he always gave me his old phones, but thought I could commit to liking it - so I kept it past its return date and bought an outrageously expensive engraved leather phone case. Then I bought another (older) iPhone at 4:00 am off some site called "Back Market" (no, there are no missing letters, it's not the black market) that looked like his old phone. Couldn't return my iPhone 12 mini. They convinced me to get the new iPhone 13 Pro. I have that now and was disgusted with myself because I NEVER have the new phone. Tj always had the new phone. If he were here - he would have the 13 Pro and I would have his 11 Pro and we'd all be happy clams.
I don't want the disruption of the flow of our lives together. I loved his hand-me-downs because he was the fancy one and I'm the wilderness sister who doesn't give a sh*t if her phone is new or even released in the past 5 years. I really just don't care. And now I have this damn brand new iPhone and bought another case for it. This struggle of mine cost me over $1,200 btw.
It was a very expensive struggle in my mind - and then I was even angrier at myself because why couldn't I just say I don't want the 12 mini? Why couldn't I ask the right questions?
And then, here comes another decision I've never made before... while on my way to the library I stopped at a tattoo shop just to see if they were open. Tony Powers, if you know him, has a million signs on the front of his tattoo shop that says in bold, red letters DO NOT KNOCK, NO WALK-INS, NO WHINING, IF YOU DO NOT HAVE AN APPOINTMENT DO NOT SHOW UP.
Something possessed me to walk in past all of those warm welcoming signs.
I've actually known Tony for many, many years-- but it has been a MINUTE since we talked so he didn't remember me until I told him he was the person that saved me one day when my tire popped on a bike trail. He has dreads and tattoos and I thought he and his wife, Mara, were the coolest people on the planet. (I still think they're the coolest, and Tony Powers is probs the ONLY person I'd go to for a tattoo)
When I walked in he said, "I actually just had someone cancel, wanna get yours right now?"
So, I got a tattoo. It says Speak Your Truth, with a little feather pen on my forearm.
And then, I was angry at myself again. (Does this cycle happen for anyone else or just me?) Because I had printed off a bunch of different font styles that I wanted to use, but they were all at my house, and this was the moment. I could not play with the Universe's ability to just hand me this moment, so I used my own handwriting. On my arm. Like a note to myself-- instead of some computer-generated lettering that I think is prettier than my own handwriting.
All of the decisions we make, and then question, and just more opportunities to grow in our ability to SPEAK OUR TRUTH. To say what we want. To say what we really mean, without factoring everybody else's opinion into it.
This blog post is really for anyone who wants to speak their truth - who is suffocating themselves with the unspoken pressures of society or family or spouse or dog or pet lizard.... I've noticed most of the pressure we put on ourselves is truly FROM OURSELVES.
My last remarks for those in their twenties - be gentle with yourself. You're going to make mistakes. I still beat myself up for the mistakes I've made and truly have typed into Google - what do you do if you've messed your entire life up?
I found the speech Make Your Bed by Navy Seal, Admiral William McRaven
I watched that video, and now, every day, I make my bed. Then I have accomplished one thing that day- and at the end of that day, I see a beautifully made bed waiting for me.
Watch the vid - make your bed - and be gentle with yourself.