Dear, darling idiot,
It’s me. The big bad wolf. I’m here to knock your house about. Frighten you. Well, spook you. I’m not really a terror, but I have some truths that may feel like sharp bites sinking in.
You are very young. You are inexplicably predisposed to feeling young now, a childlike boredom and bewilderment fill you with no discretion. But I’m from your future, where you have since explored paths that made you hungrier, savvier, and more adventurous and knowledgeable at the same time.
There is a lot you have given up. At one point you gave up a den to go west into a golden sun. It was promising, after a healthy and independent adolescence, and perhaps you were too focused on indulgences. You became so indulgent that you were exploited, wounded, and you spent years walking around with injuries you never tended to because you never had to heal like that before. A crutch here, a spot of blood there. You crawled.
Something strange happened. You didn’t want to hunt. You weren’t hungry. You were sick. You were sent for after an opportunity to go even further away from home vanished like some kind of sign. You went home and learned to dress your wounds, to forget starvation. Remembered you had a pack that knew that defending and caring were not mutually exclusive, and not internalized mechanisms that could be faked.
You remembered that your pack had bonds bigger, thicker than blood, and felt as indestructible. It was enough to share strength and assure survival. Some of your pack disappeared, and some shone brightly in ways that caused you to realize you’d been deprived of types of love. This was where you learned to trust yourself again. Where your instinct was regained.
Here, in this new deliverance of your heart, you remembered you were a wolf.
Now, the mistakes didn’t hurt anymore. The pain of calling your family to lift you out of a confessional pit in 2010 felt like learning more than suffering. The retreat to your room immediately after was understood and not resented by friends you had to lie to, in a vain attempt to veil the pain of an unreported assault. Academic failures became opportunities to salvage the foundations of what you wanted education to become, and you learned honestly elsewhere. This earnestness in itself was a strange and wild journey. You had to swallow your pride and abandon the glamour of rarefied air for a safe and all-too familiar den. Except instead of feeling the weight of not “making it”, you can shrug and say you tried.
What a cruel irony. The predator, the monster, the shadow that lives in the quiet – it’s a negative print consciousness that reflects more fright and rage than it actually conjures. So, too, are you. All the failures, the criticisms, the inconsistency – nothing more than the recollection that yes, you can scare yourself and no, you don’t even have to try very hard.
But the fear is fine. The fear is a thing you can live with, as you recognize your world is full of clues, changes, the occasional validation of feeling, and the increased awareness that comes with denying the fear’s ownership of your life. The fear is fluid and becomes excitement, passion, anger, and righteousness.
And so we’re here. Big bad wolf reaching out to herself. Maybe you’re afraid to know all of this forecasting. Maybe you’re not fazed at all and are prancing like a fool. But whether you still feel like a hero or are becoming your own hell-sent villain, know that this call is directly from me to you, and your side of the future is still reveling in springtime.
Winona Youngblood wrote this piece for Flux, a forum for those of us encountering adulthood. She is asking and answering questions in Austin, Tx. After starting her degree at Pomona College, Winona returned to Texas and finished her degree at Texas State University. She is thrilled to contribute (again!) to Flux and is especially grateful for the candor Flux brings to thoughts about being grown. Also, send croissants (or croissant emojis 🥐🥐🥐).