Monday 23 January 2017
Okay, so technically speaking, this isn’t really a message in a bottle. It’s more of a message in a blog sort of post. It may, or may not, be particularly interesting to you . . . but then again, that describes all of the posts that I write, and therefore, I suspect that I’ve made an irrelevant comment right there. So, on to the post.
It was my birthday yesterday, as my family and friends know. I won’t mention what age I’ve hit this year; that’s irrelevant. I considered what I could write for a post. I’m not going to write about birthdays, because frankly, what does one write about them? We have them. We move on. Then the following year we have another one. Nothing much to cover there. Then I thought: hey, why don’t I write something like a letter to myself? It’s not entirely an original idea . . . fine, it’s not an original idea at all. But what if I wrote a letter from me now to me say, twenty or twenty-five years ago? A sort of advice letter to myself. Things that might be important for me to have known back then. Hey, what could go wrong? We’re about to find out. Here we go . . .
Dear Danni Dani Dan Danielle,
Yes, I know you want people to refer to you as Danni, your chosen nickname, but I’m not just any “people”. I’m you, in the future, older, perhaps a bit wiser, definitely greyer, and I get to call you what I want, and that is the name you were given at birth. Danielle. Y’know, there’s absolutely nothing at all wrong with that name, and eventually, when you grow up, you’ll come to appreciate that Danielle’s actually a pretty cool name. In fact, there are a sh!tload of women around the world who happen to have been christened “Danielle Monique”. Google the name and you’ll see. Hundreds, thousands, hundreds of thousands of women all christened “Danielle Monique”. You used to be a rarity, and now, BAM! it’s quite a common combination of names. And that’s cool. While I’m at it, you’ll come to love the name “Monique” as well. I know you don’t like it now, but in a few years, it will be a name that sits well with you when you decide to make a change to your birth name. You could call yourself anything, but you don’t. You choose to drop your surname (for reasons that I’ll let you come to on your own), and you’ll legally be known by your two Christian names. It works. Just stop getting so irritated by people who give you that look when they ask for your surname, and you say “Monique”, and that damned conversation begins: Yes, I know it’s a Christian name. Yes, I know it’s an unusual surname. Yes, I’m sure that it is my surname. Yes, it is unusual. Yes, my name really is Danielle Monique. Yes, thank you, I like it too. Ad nauseam.
Anyway, why I am writing to you? Well, I thought it was a good idea at the time, but now that I’m here, I’m wondering what I can tell you. There’s bound to be a lot of things that I can cover, but in all honesty, I’ve probably forgotten more stuff than I wanted to tell you. And perhaps a lot of this will be generalised rambling to fill space or make it seem like I had something important to say. Yes, I can be sarcastic as you well know. Thanks for noticing . . . oh, and stop getting so p!ssed off by people when they keep mentioning how sarcastic you are. People will also tell you how hilariously funny you are as well, and that will also p!ss you off for quite a long time because you want people to see that you have quite a serious side. Here’s the secret: the people who really do know you, know that you have a serious side; you don’t need to tell them. It’s something you have to learn to live with. You don’t have to like it, but it will be a common theme throughout your life. And occasionally, it will work wonderfully to your advantage, because people won’t actually know whether you’re being serious or not. Sarcasm and humour are your tools, so use them well.
Here are a few of things that will follow you around for – well, they’ll follow you around forever.
- You don’t want to get married, and a lot of other people in the world will think this is odd behaviour of a female. That’s their problem, not yours. Don’t let them make you feel weird because marriage isn’t something that you’re into. It’s perfectly fine not to want to be married.
- You don’t want to have kids, and a lot of other people in the world will think this is odd behaviour of a female. That’s their problem, not yours. You are not any less of a woman because you don’t want kids. They’re not your thing. Dogs are your thing. And when people do that face that they’ll do when you say you prefer dogs to kids, tell them to get f*!ked. Not everybody likes or wants kids. Side note: there are actually a few kids you’ll think are pretty special; you’ll know them when you meet them. 😉
- Everybody has a thing. You’re lucky, you have two. Music and writing are your things. Eventually, you decided that learning to play the keyboard/piano was a good idea, and you did pretty bloody well at it if I do say so myself. You gave up lessons when you went to university, and in the future, you’ll regret not continuing to play. So, keep playing. Don’t give it up. Even if you don’t have the time to continue lessons, just keep playing. You love it. Writing is a big thing for you too. Get into it sooner. Don’t mess around. Take it seriously. Don’t wait until you’re older to take the risk, write, and put it out in the world for everyone to see. Do it now. And just like the piano thing, keep doing it. Music and writing stop you from going batty. Ever noticed how when you’re playing the piano or the guitar (albeit badly on the guitar), or when you’re writing, you stop overthinking? How doing those things quietens your mind? Yeah, go with that.
- There’s a certain . . . perception of you that will circulate everywhere you go. I won’t go into what that perception is, but it’ll annoy the sh!t out of you. It’s not so much the insinuation or what people actually think that holds the irk-factor; it’s the fact that people keep asking and assuming it of you. D’you know what? Screw them. Again, it’s their issue, not yours. In fact, I might even go so far as to suggest when it’s put to you, don’t actually give them an answer. Just smile. Let them think what they want to think. It’s no skin off your nose. You know who you are – you have done since you were little, as in about five. You’re bigger than having to defend yourself against other people’s ideas.
Travel far and wide before the world gets really f*!ked up. Don’t use that “I’ll get around to it next year” excuse. Do it when you think about it. See all of the places that you always wanted to see. Go to foreign cities just to see a theatrical performance or a concert. Do the things that you’ve always wanted to do, and do them sooner rather than later. Enjoy your life. Despite the sh!t times, despite what goes on in your head, despite all the sh!t things you’ll learn and experience, you’re going to have a pretty good life. So, live it properly. Yes, fair enough, there are some activities that aren’t really you. The simple solution is don’t do them. But go and do all the things that interest you. And do them as soon as you possibly can. I can’t stress that enough. The sooner you do things, the more time you’ll have to cross stuff off your list of “things I want to do before I die”.
I know there are things I’ve forgotten to include in this letter. That’s how it works, isn’t it? When you have something important to say, you always forget a huge part of it until about four in the morning, when it thumps you on the forehead and wakes you up. Maybe I’ll have to write another letter. Part two of the things I think you need to know before you get to my age. Yes, that’s highly likely.
But for now, get the hell out of here and do something amazing.
L & F Always,