‘Letter to My Younger Self’ allows artists to imaginatively interact with, advise and encourage their aspiring identity from long ago. But whether you identify as a creative or not, you’re still bound to receive some welcomed and wise words. Here, we feature multimedia artist Chad Wys.
I don’t have time to explain how, but this is a letter from your 34-year-old self — don’t you dare think, “dang, that’s old!” Show some respect. Anyway, you still have all your hair…do you know how lucky that is?
Space is limited, so listen up.
You’re going to fancy yourself a mystery writer for much longer than you should have, but you know damn well you like to construct and solve visual problems. You have an eye for composition, design, form, and eventually you’ll get a handle on subversive beauty and juxtaposition—yes those are real words. Look them up, use them in your next essay. Teachers love those words.
When you’re about 12 years old a psychic will tell you to, “stick with architecture.” Listen to her.
You’re meant to create, and that knack for construction you’ll spend 15 years developing with Legos shouldn’t be ignored. You morph into a visual storyteller late in the game—our mom has dubbed it, “your crazy art.” But at 34 you think an architecture degree might have been really, really useful. Never underestimate a steady income.
Now, for that thing hanging over your head, clouding everything you do: I know you feel different. I know too well you don’t feel as if you fit into this world.
You’re going to spend a long time coming to terms with it, and some people around you won’t make it easy. Too many people will try to hurt you as they see glimpses of how vulnerable you are. Don’t try to please them or to fit in— you’ll never be good at it. Don’t hide yourself, especially not from your family. They’re an awesome family, and they get more awesome with time. Know that your pain is unfair but that it will build you into a kind, empathetic, expressive man who knows how it feels to be hurt. In turn, you’ll do your part to avoid hurting others.
Always avoid hurting others. Protect them. Protect yourself. Trust me, it’s okay to fall in love with a guy. Do it as much as you can. Don’t waste any time…you’ll be 34 before you know it.
“Instead of baseball cards you’ve got a book of Monet’s paintings under your bed. It’s good to be different. Remember that. You can’t think it enough. Let it guide you. Let your differences help you think outside any boxes people put you in.”
You’re going to feel a lot of emotions very deeply. Some will hurt more than they should, some will lead you to dark, moody places. You’ve got a creative brain and living through these heavy feelings helps that creativity flourish. Learn to respect yourself and whatever mistakes you make. You’re going to make a lot of them, so learn from them; but don’t be too regretful.
Instead of baseball cards you’ve got a book of Monet’s paintings under your bed. It’s good to be different. Remember that. You can’t think it enough. Let it guide you. Let your differences help you think outside any boxes people put you in. Don’t work so hard to erase mannerisms or impulses that feel natural to you. Don’t try to conceal excitement and love for unconventional things. You love art, music, films. You love architecture and spaces. You love interior design. You love expression. Any doubts that convince you to censor your expressiveness ought to be disowned. You’ll consume so much energy trying to fit a mold you imagine would please other people, but that doesn’t lead to satisfaction for anyone.
It sounds awfully trite, but you should believe in yourself a whole lot more. You do good work, even though your doubts sometimes blind you. You do good things. You also do some bad things, and there’s some misplaced anger here and there. Don’t ever shout at your mom, and hug her as much as you can without it being weird. It’s okay to hug your dad and sister too. Don’t ever hesitate to admit your grandma is your best friend; and even though she
can’t hear as well these days, she still is.