I recently attended a writer's workshop, with the theme on "memory." One of the exercises was to assume you're about to lose all your memories, and write a letter to yourself things you want to remember.
I found this fascinating, and took it way too seriously. But I think I got some good writing out of it, and more importantly, it helped me see what's important to me, and how memories are basically all we are. Hence I didn't see much need to tell myself any actual memories, since that person wouldn't be me.
Just our luck. You felt good about yourself and after 34 years of self-loathing and 17 years of chronic pain you star making progress and the damn brain we live in needs fixing.
I am not you. I hope you will never be me. I've hated myself most of my life. I think it goes back to comparing myself to my brother. But I only have 20 minutes, so I better make it count. Here is what I want you to know.
Mormonism is not true, and there is no God. Please don't take my word for it. Find out for yourself. I think I'm supposed to give you my most cherished memories, but I'd rather give you advice and counsel I've figured out in my life.
1) Study. Learn. Find out things for yourself. I don't believe in God for the same reason anyone who doesn't believe something doesn't believe in it, I haven't seen sufficient evidence to remove my doubt. Doubt is healthy, doubt is good. Doubt lets you question and discover the truth for yourself.
2) Believe in yourself. You're amazing. Your greatest enemy is me, who always doubts and second guesses.
3) Don't think you can read another's mind. Tell others how you feel and how they make you feel. So damn simple but it's taken me 34 years. COMMUNICATE. DISCUSS. Everyone perceives everything differently.
Now onto relationships: I love Tracie. I hope you do too. She's loving and wise and brilliant and hilarious and gorgeous and dynamite in bed when she wants to be. She's an amazing mother and friend. You have 2 children, they're my everything. Morgan is 7 and he's not neurotypical, possibly high functioning autistic, loving, funny, energetic, passionately curious, and has the most infectious laugh I've ever heard. Lyra is 1 1/2 and I'm probably most upset about dying because I won't get to see who she is. For now she's sweet and shy and loves kisses, her mom's boobs, toy cars, and her brother's company. Please take care of them for me.
I had lots of unique and interesting and common and boring things happen in my life that made me who I am. Ask your parents, and brothers. If they try to tell you you're Mormon, please read the Essays on LDS.org and the CES Letter and the FAIR Response to the CES letter first. Remember point #1 above.
Instead of telling you all about me, I want you to be you without the baggage, and learn for yourself who that is. But to better understand me, and to know what's up with the big scar on your leg and the pain you're currently experiencing is when I was 15 I had bone cancer. I've had numerous surgeries trying to alleviate the pain with varying levels of failure. On the plus side, you can tell when it's going to rain and you get to park in handicapped. It also may eventually make you more like me than either of us would prefer. Chronic pain shaped who I am, for better or worse. But please take this advice: anything you can do to reduce or remove the pain- do it. I've been taking gabapentin and antidepressants and they seem to help for now.
I believe if you get to know Tracie you'll fall in love with her. Take good care of her. She needs someone to see and show and tell her how incredible she is.
A bit about me: I love games, both video and roleplaying like Dungeons and Dragons. Don't knock it til you try it, it's interactive storytelling, but better. I love Art History and poetry and doodling. I love sex but who doesn't? I love to eat and cook and perhaps most of all, I love to make people laugh. In my youth I wanted to be a stand up comedian. Good luck with my body. In some ways I envy you, in some ways I'm sorry.
The last thing I want to say is please tell Tracie how much I love her, which is more than I ever imagined possible