The Wisdom of a 26-Year-Old

Me, blacked out at Bonnaroo 2014. I still wear that fur vest and that jewelry, just not together.

Notes to my younger self — because, “Yeah, I think I know what I’m talking about,” — me, all the time, regardless of the situation.

1. Go to the fucking dentist.

Are you fucking kidding me right now? Seriously? You can’t find one afternoon during your unemployment to at least consider going to the dentist? You know bad teeth run in our family — the HUBRIS of thinking you’d get out of that one unscathed. For shame! (That’s what you feel when you have to ask what a root canal is, because you’ve only pretended to know. But when you say it, in the dentist’s chair, half of your mouth will be numb so it’ll come out real goofy on top of you sounding stupid. And I wasn’t paying attention when I got the answer so I STILL don’t know what a root canal is.)

Look, it’s okay, I’m not mad — I’m just disappointed. It’s a rite of passage in our family to get a root canal, so welcome to your Anglo-Saxon/Slovak bat mitzvah, honey.

Oh, and a P.S. — flossing helps. And it turns out blue slushies and Twizzlers are, like, really bad for your enamel? Just erodes that shit away. Who knew, huh? Well, you wouldn’t because you didn’t go to the fucking dentist for four fucking years HOW LONG AM I GOING TO HAVE TO CLEAN UP AFTER YOU

2. Respect your fucking vagina.

You know why? Because it’s not a goddamn saloon door, swinging open, swinging closed. There’s a reason why you’ve deemed your vagina Guinevere — because She is a queen and she can bring down kingdoms. Have you slept exclusively with men who have treated you like a queen? No? Faith! Why?!

Look, even if I were to go back, I’d probably sleep with the some of the same guys — the ones I met and hooked up with sober, I don’t have nearly the same regrets. It was the men I slept with while drunk or high, usually without a condom, that I wish I could take back. There’s nothing like the feeling of not knowing who the dad would be if your period was late, right? Haha, good times!

Going to the gynecologist regularly (see: going to the dentist) is what empowered feminist adults do, partially because you have AN IUD SHOVED UP YOUR COOCHIE THAT NEEDS TO BE CHECKED ON WITH CERTAIN FREQUENCY. (Thank God for Paragard.) It also allows for the chance to get an STI screening. By respecting your vagina now, you don’t have a paranoid week waiting for the HIV test results, worrying the worst. Because you’ve started respecting your vagina, you’re with the Love of your Life. You don’t have the worry thoughts pour in: What if you’ve given something to him? Can you have children with him?

Don’t worry, you’re negative — I just wanted to scare you into using condoms, you little shit.

3. You will become your fucking parents.

Your broad statements are statements of folly. “I’ll never become my parents”, all right, sure — it starts of with little stuff, stuff that you get to pick, like favorite bands. Mom gave you Led Zeppelin; Dad gave you The Talking Heads. Now, when it rains, your foot hurts when Dad’s knee hurts. Then, you’re leaving the house without your keys (Dad), can’t find your glasses on top of your head (Dad), and insist that used cars are better than new cars (Dad). Turns out you don’t get to say which part of your parents you become (though you can fight about it with Dad all you want since you both have to be right). That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though. This revelation doesn’t come easily — it comes after a very rough patch, where there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. Then you wise up and realize these are two of your most favoritest people ever. And how fucking lucky are you to have them as your parents?

Side note: they’re more like you than you think. Mom eats cereal for dinner like, all the time.

4. It only seems like you have a drinking problem because you do.

In 2014, I got to see Kanye West. I love Kanye West. I don’t care about his nonsense (not a fan of his wife, or his weird Tr*mp friendship, even his fashion line — Kanye? It’s one of your fans. Can we get back to My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, bud? We miss you), I love Kanye almost unequivocally. I saw Kanye while he was touring Yeezus at Bonnaroo. At least, I was there in person — I don’t remember much of the concert. I was blackout drunk. Apparently, I tried to start a fight. I was wearing a fur vest and I spent all of my money on Apple Orchard hard cider (that’s me in the picture. I do NOT remember taking such a breathtaking selfie. Truly, I am a vision in gold). I had a loud conversation with relative strangers after the concert about cunninglingus. I was surprised when they were super friendly the next day.

Younger Faith, I’m still mad at you about this. I — WE — love Kanye, and our combined alcoholism ripped this experience from us. Your boyfriend at the time didn’t deserve this either. I regret this and can’t get this moment back (BECAUSE SOME OF US WON’T FUCKING MAKE NEW MUSIC, KANYE. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean that.)

This is one example of the many regrets that will not be worth getting drunk for. It’ll help to figure out sooner rather than later that the reason why you’re always the drunkest in the room is because you can’t drink like everyone else. The reason why you spent all of your money on Apple Orchard hard cider is because a) it’s delicious, like wine coolers for hipsters, b) you physically couldn’t stop yourself. Now, it’s going to take you a couple of years to accept that this is not normal, because you are not normal, but that there are plenty of not normal people like you in this world. Getting sober seems so, so terrible right now. Why miss out on all of the fun stuff? Might I point out — you missed a Kanye West concert because you weren’t sober. Plus, once you get sober, you get to see Beyoncé on her Lemonade tour and you remember all of that so that’s the tits.

5. You’ll get over it.

Whatever it is, whoever he is, you’ll get over it. It’s going to suck, and it feels like your world is collapsing. I hate that shit like, “Everything happens for a reason”, you’re not a goddamn inspirational saying on Pinterest, you’re a real, live person that’s really, actively suffering. Feel that awful suffering, because it doesn’t get easier. You can treat it like a callous — if you get familiar with “This is what sad feels like” or “This is what angry feels like”, it won’t be so foreign next time when you’re just a mess of upsetedness. Every bad thing that’s been done to me or that I’ve done to myself, I’ve survived — even the root canal. All the breakups, the run-ins with the law (oops), shit at work, money stuff — you can deal with it. This isn’t an inspirational quote from Pinterest because I’ve been you and I’ve done it. I’m in a happy relationship, I’m doing okay at work, I’m drinking a LaCroix Cúrate Apple Cranberry (my favorite flavor), and I’m eating popcorn for dinner. I’m doing just fine, thank you very much.

Reach out to your support network and don’t dull these feelings with drugs. You’ll just have more shit to deal with later. May I also suggest: therapy, medication, puppy videos, 20-piece chicken nuggets.

6. Stop dating fixer-uppers.

Okay, what is with you with these dudes who are like ten years older than you? Did you ever wonder why they’re dating women ten years younger than them? It’s one thing if it’s 30 years old and 40 years old, but 20 and 30? You’re still drinking Sunset Blush Franzia on a regular basis. Spoiler alert: these relationships don’t pan out because, in a lot of ways, you’re still a kid (note having a “refined taste” in boxed wine) and he’s an adult. And why do you actively pursue men with mommy issues? You cannot and should not fix them — they don’t want to be fixed. There’s way more well-adjusted dick out there, I promise.

And I can’t believe how naïve you are, but here we go: IF HE HAS A WEED PLANT IN HIS BASEMENT, HE’S NOT GIVING IT TO HIS COUSIN. HE’S A DRUG DEALER. THAT’S WHY HE DOESN’T HAVE A JOB AND ALWAYS HAS WEED AND ONLY HAS CASH ON HIM.

Lesser, but important notes:

o Stop leaving your glasses in your bed. You’ve broken four pairs of glasses this way. Like, how many more pairs is it going to take?

o Friends come and go. I know these relationships seem so pivotal, like you’re going to die without these people in your life. There’s an ebb and flow — the real ones will stick around.

o Stop bullying your sisters. C’mon. Don’t be a dick.

o Don’t even pick up cigarettes. Good luck quitting that little habit.

Now, here’s what I’d like to hear from my future self:

1. Stop fucking bleaching your hair.

Lol, next.

2. Learn to just be in the moment rather than in the past/future.

Like right now, you mean?

3. Your weight seriously doesn’t matter.

I’m just tryna not buy anymore pants — I’ve curated an excellent pant collection in my exact size now.

In short, pick one:

a. “Live, laugh, love.”

b. “You’ll figure it out.”

c. “I wasted my time reading this.”

d. “Red slushies are better than blue.”*

*The correct answer is anything but D.