Monday, August 6, 2012

Advice for My Younger Self

I just finished reading Jane Lynch's autobiographical memoir, Happy Accidents.  It was lovely.  I think that Jane is a wonderful mentor and advocate for young gay men and women, and her strength and courage to share herself in such an intimate way is beautiful.

Although her sexuality is not at the forefront of her book, the fact that she openly addresses her lesbianism and the challenges that she faced as a young Midwesterner and aspiring actress is encouraging. While her journey as a member of the LGBTQ community was fascinating, the part of the story that really resonated with me was her advice to her "younger self."

She states, "If I could give my 20-year-old self some advice, I would say, 'Janie, don't take yourself too seriously and stop drinking Miller Light Tallboys in the morning.  It will all work out.'"

In the book, Jane discusses at length her struggles with perfectionism as well as her alcoholism.  As a result, there were parts of her story that were both heartbreaking as well as incredibly encouraging.

Frankly, though, as I read the book, I realized that the advice I would give my younger self (and still today) isn't too different than Jane's.

The first thing I would tell my younger me would be to stop beating myself up and to find ways to love who I was/am.  There was a time that I was one of the kindest, happiest, and freely loving people I knew.  He's gone now and in his place is a bitter, cynical, prematurely-aged queen.  I wish I had never lost myself and I am working ardently to get him back.

The second thing I would tell myself would be to stop self medicating - specifically over drinking.  When I was at college, the only thing I thought I could control were my "sins."  So, I started "sinning" in the most severe way I could without getting potentially kicked out of BYU:  I started drinking. Heavily. It got to the point that I started drinking every weekend just to stop feeling the pain and loneliness inside.  It wasn't healthy and it isn't healthy now. I still enjoy a drink now and then, and yes it can help dull the pain, but I believe that I have my self under control and out of trouble again.

The last bit of advice I would give myself and that I hope I actually believe today, is that it does get better.  It has to.  Some days are better but LIFE will get better.  It will take time and a lot of patience, but I know that I have the power and the resolve to overcome and enjoy the good times that lie ahead.

I hope that you get the chance to read Jane's book.  It's got some great, entertaining lines in it, but it isn't written as a comedy.  It is purposefully honest and open and I loved it.

Similarly, I love you.  What are some of the things that you wish you could have told your younger self?  What are you telling yourself today?


  1. I would tell myself that it's okay to be myself. The faking who I am will only hurt myself and other people.
    I would also tell myself that most of things I think are my fault actually aren't.
    Be more trusting.
    Learn to love earlier.
    And kiss people I actually care about, not just those available.
    Yes... that might be it.
    Great post MJ. I really want to read that book now.

    1. Thanks, Dupree! I think your pearls of wisdom are wonderful and definitely worth remembering today, too. Especially the bits about kissing people you care about. I love kissing and when it is with someone you really, truly love and care for, it is SO much better! Thanks for commenting!

  2. I want to read the book too! I love Jane Lynch. And you. Especially you.

    I don't know what I would tell my younger self. That's a hard one because I am the person I am now because of the things my younger self did and thought and was. But, I think if I could tell my younger self (and even my current self) something then maybe it would be to have confidence and not be afraid of anything. maybe I would also tell my younger self to learn to be neat/tidy/clean because it's sure hard to learn now! :)

    1. I love you too! It is a great book and, like I said, I obviously recommend it!

      You bring up a totally relevant point (which is actually the reason my post was so late in the day, I was deciding whether or not I wanted to post it!). Our past experiences are what define us but the reason I decided to move forward with this post is because I believe that hindsight is always 20/20 and I learned a lot of lessons I wished I learned easier. Does that make sense?

      Anyway, thanks for reading and commenting and lots of love right back at you!

  3. I'm not sure what I would tell little Jo. Maybe just that she's awesome, and to keep doing what she's doing, because everything always works out.

    1. I love little Jo's example!!! And I agree!