An Ex-Pothead’s Letter to her Younger Self

I’m ripping off this writing prompt.

Dear Twenty-Year-Old Stacey,

Put down the pipe.  Step away from the buds.  You look…like an ass hat.  Some people are capable of smoking a little weed every now and then and still managing the requirements of life.  You are not.

In a few months you’re going to get busted for having a pipe in your car.  You’re going to spend thirty days in jail.  You’re going to fail out of school and have a gigantic loan to pay off.

You are not responsible for anything that’s going on at home.  You moved an hour and a half away so that you wouldn’t have to watch certain people crash and burn.  So stop worrying about them.  It should be the other way around.  Don’t go home every weekend.  Stay at school.  Read.  Study.  Do the work you’re capable of doing.  Don’t major in Psychology.  Take a few classes, if you want.  You like the theory classes.  But you don’t want to practice and you know it.  Start writing.  Keep writing.  You can’t write when you’re stoned and all those fabulous ideas you have when you are stoned?  Yeah.  They suck.

Know what else sucks?  Most of the people that you’re hanging around with.  They’re not bad people, in general, but they’re bad for you and the reason you feel like you don’t fit in with them is because you don’t.  Don’t be so afraid of being a loser.  The losers are actually pretty cool.  You should have learned this already.  I shouldn’t have to sound like an after school special.  You should have watched enough after school specials by now to know that all the cheese and corn that seeps from them is, in fact, essentially true.

You’re going to leave Edinboro with a lot more problems than you arrived with.  But you’re also going to leave with a really, really priceless friend.  So when she starts talking to you at the elevator on your floor and doesn’t shut up about the sorority she’s pledging until you both get to the Psych hall, let her talk.  Smile and nod.  Be polite.  She will convince you that not all women are incarnations of Satan.  She is going to be there for you when your boyfriend cheats on you.  She’s going to be there when your life starts to fall apart.  She’s going to be there when you get out of jail.

Eight years from now, when you get married, she’s going to be your maid of honor.  She’s going to have her son two months before you have your daughters.  And that brings us up to speed, but you can believe that she’s going to be there for every major life event for the rest of your life.  She’s going to be the one person that you don’t wind up on bad terms with.  Hopefully, there will be more of those people, but if there never are you can bet your ass there will be her.

Yeah.  Things do eventually look better.  Enjoy finishing your undergraduate degree.  But do it faster.  Don’t waste so much time.  You’re racking up bills that you and your husband are going to be paying off for what will feel like forever.  You’ll feel guilty over them.  You’ll wish you’d taken some time off between high school and college but, sad to say, if you hadn’t started smoking weed in high school you’d have blown through college on time if not early.

Then again, I can’t tell you where you’d be if things hadn’t happened the way they did.  You’d owe less money, that’s for sure.  But you may not have met your best friend.  You may not have married the first boy you ever dated after all those years wandering far from home.  You may not be having twins.  You certainly wouldn’t be the type of mom who can tell them from personal experience why they shouldn’t do the things you warn them not to do.  I know that right now you don’t think you want kids.  But if you’re really honest with yourself don’t you have to admit that you only think that because you’re afraid you’ll fail at motherhood the way you’re failing at everything else?

I have to say it again:  You’re failing because you’re hiding behind the pipe instead of trying to succeed.  As long as you’re that pothead that lives on the sixth floor you don’t have to be an industrious student.  You don’t have to be a competent adult.  You don’t have to be a whole person.  Quit being such a whiny little bitch.  Put down the pipe.  Fail for real, not just for lack of trying.