Dear Future Meg,
LOOK AT YOU! I see you out there, looking great, feeling awesome. I’m so proud of you. You’re working again, making money and contributing to society like an adult. I’m sure that’s an amazing feeling, and I can’t wait to see what the upcoming days and months bring as I work my way closer and closer to you. Have you FINALLY had a real honeymoon yet with the husband? No wait, don’t tell me! Let that part come as a surprise. I already know that you finally wrestled our meatsuit into submission, and my heart soars to know you’re so strong and so comfortable in your skin again. I can already feel that starting, the feeling growing a bit day by day.
I want to apologize for what Past Meg did to us, you and I, Future Meg and the Meg of now. She was doing the best she could at the time. In hindsight, I’m sure you scorn her for being so lazy, so unmotivated, so unwilling to make the thousand tiny decisions needed to be strong and happy. I know you’re ashamed of her for getting so fat and weak, for giving up so easily on herself in some ways. And I understand. There are days when I, too, look back with scorn. I’m a little bit pissed at her every morning when I get on the scale and confront the result of the decisions she made, knowing how far she left me to go until I could meet up with you and be the Meg that fits me best. But the distance between her and me is not so great as the distance between the two of you, and I still remember.
I remember Past Meg, and how difficult everything was for her. I remember that her challenges, which you now view as so insignificant, filled her whole world, sometimes to the point of overflowing. I remember how she felt when just browsing in a hardware store could lead to a then-justified crying jag in her car afterward. I remember how often she felt so alone, so cast adrift, so without purpose. And I remember how she couldn’t even begin to see you, when the distance was too great, and she couldn’t use your easy strength and your victories to inspire herself. I remember that, to her, you didn’t seem to exist outside of her dreams.
But don’t you dare look back at her, across the months and years that separate you, with nothing but pity. You don’t see it now, but she wasn’t just weak. Too often, she was weak, and at times, she was even defeated. But she was so much stronger than you choose to see from your vantage point where life seems so much easier. You speak with ease now, naturally, and with no fear or embarrassment. She had few words and barely any sentences. Instead of energetically bouncing into whatever chore faced her, she would sometimes sit alone in her car, rehearsing what she needed to say, trying to prepare for the often unintelligible response she would likely receive from the person from whom she sought help.
She was brave in her many small ways, and without those thousand small but terrifying acts of bravery, YOU WOULD NOT BE WHAT YOU ARE TODAY. It was Past Meg who worked up her nerve to meet the eyes of strangers and offer a smile, knowing that her smile invited the communication that scared her and marked her as an outsider. It was she who worked so hard to build a base for the French skills upon which you now rely without thought or difficulty. It was she who got me to this point, here in the present, where I can see you clearly and can focus on making the thousand tiny choices that help ensure that you are real.
You won’t always be strong. You may have risen to meet all of the challenges that life has thrown at you to this point, but there are always more in store. When life makes you weak again, remember her, Past Meg. She was often weak, and yet she kept on getting up and putting one foot in front of the other. Remember that she kept trying to find her toehold and make you real, even when she didn’t really believe in you. Remember how she battled herself when she hated the meatsuit that carried her through her days. Remember that she bravely lied about being capable until it became the truth. Remember that she never gave up on the greatest love of our life, even when she didn’t know how to make a life in the place where that love landed her. Remember that, as strong as you are, you are weak, too, and that’s okay.