Interestingly, looking up the idea of 'evil twin' in google, leads me, of course to Wikipedia. We all know that there is a lot of imagery of evil twin within literature, movies, comic books, and television shows (cartoons and sci-fi namely). Interestingly, the evil twin idea comes out of Zoroastrianism. There are twins Ahura Mazda (good) whose roots are related to 'wisdom' and 'femininity'. Then, Angra Mainyu (evil) whose roots align with the concepts of 'destruction' and 'mind/spirit'. Obviously, the idea of creation and destruction are central to most, if not all, of the world's religions. It is seen time and time again in both the old and new testaments of the Bible. However, what fascinates me about the Zoroastrian concept is that good and evil are twins. It opens the possibility that we each have an evil doppelganger in existence. The show 'Fringe' definitely explores this concept.
However, even though it is fascinating, I never want to meet my alternate, evil self. In turn, I also have feared turning into an evil version of myself as this is not a self I ever cared to explore. So, sometimes I also think about the possibility of going back in time and what I'd do/say to prevent this nightmare from happening. Though it didn't happen, it very easily could have. It nearly did. For many years I was in a very dark place, fighting my own demons. In some parallel universe, an evil version of myself exists. However, what if a time machine existed? What would I change? What advice would I give to a younger version of myself to especially make sure I ended up using my powers for good?
I've been thinking a lot lately about what I would do if I could go back in time and meet myself, say 10 years ago or 20 years ago. What would I say to a 21 year old version of myself? An 11 year old version?
Maybe I'd say to ignore all the bullshit. Just tell people how you feel, exactly. Tell the kids that bully you that one day, they'll be unhappy and bald and/or fat. Tell your best teachers how they'll inspire you to become an educator. Tell your worst ones how you'll use them as an example to your students of what's laughable and pathetic. I would spend more time with my sister, getting to know who she really is. I would look around at all my friends and look deep inside of them to hold the real ones close and fake out everyone else. I would explain to my parents what their manipulation and psychological abuse would result in. I would have told myself not to give up or give in. To keep on being true to yourself and not let others define you.
I think I wrote a letter to a future self in middle school but I don't remember what I did with said letter. I probably told myself to keep writing, as my 5th/6th grade English teacher told me to never stop writing. She said that my stories showed promise and I had a great imagination and creativity. I still remember this! However, I probably told myself that I wasn't popular and that I should try to be liked by everyone. I've always had trouble with people not liking me, as I've always found myself to have a magnetic personality. Funny, charming, but a little too real perhaps. I've always vied for acceptance even if it means being friends with people who aren't really a 'friend'. I should have told myself not to sacrifice my principles or who I was just for acceptance. What else would I say?
I know that if I wrote a letter to my past self that I could send back through time, I would tell myself to explore art more. Take more art classes in high school. Get more involved in music and theater. Branch out and listen to music other than angry, angst ridden fuck off music. I would tell my past self to go out for sports, maybe track or soccer. I would talk about being okay with being alone sometimes rather than being surrounded by dozens of people who only hang out with you because you offer something. Or, maybe I would have written an inspirational speech about how I am destined for amazing things and not to listen to naysayers because they are all jealous and insecure.
I think about this a lot. And it makes me think about how I've changed but also what has remained the same. I know my core being has always remained the same. I have always loved literature and words, playing with language. I read at an early age and though my writing came a little late, I have always enjoyed books and being verbal. My verbal skills have always far outweighed my math skills. Though, now I know I'm not bad at math. I was never given the proper encouragement and perhaps with a more progressive teaching method with math, I would have excelled in the subject. Or, if I would have somehow prevented my father from ever tutoring me in math and causing all of the psychological damage that ensued. I cannot change the past, though.
What has happened, has already transpired. I'm not sure I'd actually want to go back in time and change things because everything: the good, the bad, the ugly has happened for a reason. There was a lesson in every tear and giggle, every heartache and moment of joy. The positive and negative in my life has made me who I am now, and I like who I am now. I'm confident and sure of myself. Despite setbacks and pitfalls, I have triumphed. My story could have gone a zillion different ways but I consider myself a fighter, a vanquisher of everything negative in my life.
I still have moments of doubt and insecurity but instead of throwing a pity party, I make myself make a list of changes I should make. I like making lists. They make me feel like I've accomplished something. You know, checking off that little box with an x. Then when the list has x's in every box, I move on to another list. I know what things I need to work on and what I want to achieve. Personal success is very important to me, and I always have set very high goals. Actually, somewhat unrealistic goals. For every project I ever worked on for school, my teacher would always say, "Why did you pick the hardest topic again?" I guess I just like laying out a challenge for myself. Why take the easy way out? Sometimes the triumph is not in the answer but in the path you took to get there.
I know that despite a lot of shit that I've had to deal with, I am a very positive person. I still hold myself to high standards because I believe that I will do something important. I've always had that feeling of not being quite like the other kids. Almost like I was dropped from another decade or planet. In fact, I was always convinced that a whole species exist of beings like myself on a planet that we had not yet discovered. That I had dropped to earth like Superman or was an alien being yet to be found like in episodes of Star Trek. My values never matched up with my peers, exactly. I try to view others as humans, and I judge them by their characteristics. I'm a pretty good judge of character, too. Usually my first impressions are pretty dead on. A huge leap if you ask me, since I used to judge people by what they wore. I would never talk to someone who was 'too preppy' or 'too good looking' when I was younger. I didn't trust people like that. I only trusted the weirdos, misfits, and pariahs. I guess that's why people who are mentally imbalanced feel a kindred relationship with me (I discuss this in another post: Blotter Test).
I'm proud of how far I've come, though. I'm also thinking of what I could say to my future self, however. What would I say to a 45 year old version of myself? 75?
It would go something like this:
Don't give up. You will achieve greatness. But, remember that for some it happens at the most unexpected moment. You cannot force it. You cannot will it to happen tomorrow. You have a path that is enlightened by a greater power, and all you can do is ask to keep on this divine path of yours. You are real, an individual. You are eccentric, artistic, and beautiful. Do not forget it. And don't get frustrated if you fall down a few times. Your goals are lofty, and your head is often in the clouds. Earth can be a cold, dark place. Just remember to shine your light around and keep climbing the path until you've reached the top of the mountain. I love you.
"Mirror in the sky, what is love? Can the child within my heart rise above? Can I sail through the changing ocean tides? Can I handle the seasons of my life? Well, I've been afraid of changing because I've built my life around you. Time makes you bolder, even children get older. And I'm getting older too."
-Smashing Pumpkins (1994)- originally written by Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac (1975)
'Landslide' by Smashing Pumpkins (a fan video)
Stevie Nicks's 'Landslide' (from 1997)