Hey dude,

Sorry for the ominous title. Sounds like I’m about to give you a bible lecture. Don’t worry, I’m not. As you should well know by now our knowledge of religion pretty much extends to Buddhism and our ability to spell the word “religion” and then abruptly stops there. Also I hear Jesus is pretty sick.

I am going to hit you with a tough one though. I promise after this I’ll lighten it up a little bit more, but at the moment I’m in the midst of a little turbulence so I’m going to take advantage of my insight while I feel emotional enough to write it down and make a subpar preacher of myself.

As I’m sure you’ve well observed by now, human beings are a pain in the ass. They are the most wonderful and frustrating species on this tiny little planet. As you get older you will find yourself in a mess of disappointing situations and, while I wish I could shield you from them and the inevitable ache they will bring you, they are, ultimately, experiences that are important to be had. You will have friends who flake, boyfriends who bail, family members who exhaust your stamina, and colleagues who really push the boundaries of what is and is not appropriately smelling food to eat in a tiny communal office. But here’s the thing, that’s okay. You’re guilty of all of that too.

What you have to remember is that the one thing that you and just about everybody else has in common is the natural instinct to keep your head above water. This can come into play in a number of ways. Some people will be overwhelmingly selfless in times of difficulty. They will extend any and every olive branch because their version of staying afloat is making sure others are okay. These people are A. angels and B. few and very very far between. Most people will not do that. Most people will turn selfish because it can be hard to survive otherwise.

I say that last part with all lovingness and kindness because, even now, I have a tendency to drift more toward the majority. When life hands you lemons and you go to make lemonade, but then the lemons are rotten and also you have no sugar so it’s just going to be raw tainted lemon juice with maybe a little mold floating in there, it’s the easiest thing in the world to become frustrated. Circumstance is not always fair and it’s much more simple to box yourself away from the situation and point a finger of blame to justify your actions than face the problem head on. But it’s not the right thing.

The truth is there will many a time in your coming future when you desperately attempt to make lemonade, but life will give you a batch of dirty lemons and your attempts at wiping off the mold and cutting around those shitty little brown parts won't do you much good. The results of your failed attempts will hurt. I'll spare you the specifics because there will be plenty and you'll live them so you'll find out, but they will hurt. A lot. Some of those dirty lemons will be deserved, others not, but they will all feel like a low blow and low blows are like clinging for your life to a cliff’s edge and then having someone come and step on your fingers.

But here’s where we come back to the keeping your head above water. We really all are trying to do it and it’s not always easy. Each individual has a varying level of resilience at their core and it’s important to remember that you can’t blame others for doing what they believe is best for themselves when life feels like it’s squeezing them from all angles. When shit hits the fan you may need to separate yourself from the picture and step aside so you can better understand what the hell is going on. Whether it be a friend breakup, a significant other break up, a professional breakup, we all need our time to work on ourselves. Listen, when you’re trying to find yourself in the middle of a very dark tunnel, it’s hard to want to face the problem that may have facilitated you landing there in the first place. But, and this is the key, if the person on the other end of that issue was undeniably important to you, you need to figure it out.

So what am I getting at here? In simplest terms: forgiveness. You have to learn to forgive and move forward. You have to learn to create dialogues. If someone has hurt you, know their actions were the result of them doing the best they could, even if it totally fucking sucked. Remember that smooth road you once drove down together? The beautiful one with all the lemon trees and no shitty rotten lemons? Sure it had some potholes, but potholes just come with the territory. Well that road is still right there on the other side of that gnarled crack in the pavement where a tree root is coming up. Yes, maybe the root bottomed out your car and now you feel stranded and overwhelmed so you’ve both gotten out and taken some time apart to breathe. But you need to make a choice. You need to decide whether you’re going to walk around the side of the car, take their hand and keeping moving forward together, or whether you’re going to continue sitting there while they stand and move forward on their own. Because let me tell you, the road on the other side of that crack is even more beautiful than the previous road. And as you sit there trying to sort through pieces of yourself that will take a lifetime to figure out, you may soon start to realize that that person far down the road in front of you would have gladly grown through those bumps with you if you had let them. They just needed that gnarled crack to figure it out. And I’m telling you now, because you have broken off a relationship far too many times (Remember that job you literally just never went back to? Yeah that was a disaster), when you finally come to terms with the situation, they will be gone and you will miss them. And I guarantee that you will wish that you stood up, took their hand and carried on that road together.

Coco, little dude, life isn’t easy. It hurts and it’s hard. But you can’t solve problems by living in your own head. If you learn to muster up some courage and face the tough issues, I promise you there will be happiness on the other side. So fight for what matters. Always always always. It will not be painless, but you will be thankful you did.

Love you turd,