By JOSH LANGLEY
I see you’re drawing your first stick figure.
Yeah, it’s kind of bad, I know, but it’s liberating at the same time. I’m just messing around. It feels good.
I hope you don’t mind me interrupting your work?
No, not at all. I kind of sensed you around. Who are you?
I’m you, eight years from now. From where I am, it’s nearly Christmas 2018.
Holy fuck? Really?
I’m scared now. Is this where I get to ask you what happens in the future and you tell me stuff that I don’t want to know? Is this a warning? Oh shit.
You could ask me. You’re allowed to.
Mmm, do I really want to know? I don’t often think about the future. I’m not a big goal setter or anything like that.
How about I give you some clues?
Remember your childhood?
Do I have to go back there?
Just for a moment. I know it hurts and that’s why you don’t often think about it. But just think back and feel what your younger self was feeling.
OK … that was uncomfortable.
Remember the relief you felt when your parents finally divorced?
Do you remember when your …
No, That’s enough … No more. I don’t see any sense to this.
Stay with me. Do you remember your dad’s girlfriend sitting you down and telling you that if your dad died of a heart attack it would be your fault and you were to blame for everything?
Do you remember how you tried to take your own life after that?
Yes. It was a bit of a piss-weak attempt.
It was a cry for help.
Yes. It was.
Remember how you failed high school and felt like you failed everyone else at the same time, especially your mum?
Remember how you went on to think you wouldn’t amount to anything … yet there was something deep down inside that made you keep going?
Yes … OK, you’ve made me cry now. Happy?
Well, remember all those moments, because over the next eight years and beyond, you’ll be drawing on them to create some very important work that’ll go on to help thousands and thousands of people all around the world. And you’ll do it in the only way that you (and I) can do.
Really? What’s that?
This moment right now is the catalyst.
What? Sitting here drawing stick figures on a computer? Hang on. I don’t want to know any more. I don’t want to have any expectations of myself.
I understand. One piece of advice before I go.
You don’t have to do this alone. You are never alone. Be brave and reach out. The good you do will be exponentially bigger when you reach out to like-minded people and work together. Learn to trust. I must go now.
Hang on! Is there anything else I need to know?
What is it?
You are loved. Now share that with the world.
Josh Langley is an award-winning author, illustrator and daydreamer. He grew up in Shenton Park, Perth Western Australia, where as a child he was constantly exploring, daydreaming, drawing, writing stories and creating music. In 2010 Josh started drawing the successful Frog and the Well cartoons which spawned 2 books published by Big Sky Publishing, Frog and the Well: Unconventional Happiness (2011) and Follow Your Heart: Everyday wisdom for an extraordinary life (2012). Then in quick succession Josh published two ground-breaking memoir/self-help books; Dying to Know: is there life after death, and Turning Inside Out: what if everything we’ve been taught about life is wrong?
In 2016 Josh returned to writing and illustrating, creating a new style of children’s book about self-esteem, feelings and resilience, which would appeal to both kids and adults. Being You is Enough and Other Important stuff received outstanding praise from parents and teachers and It’s OK to Feel the Way You Do won the Australia Book Industry Awards Small Publisher Children’s book of the year award. His new self-help/memoir, Find your Creative Mojo: How to overcome fear, procrastination and self-doubt to express your true self was released in September 2018. See Monique’s review here.
Thanks for having me part of your Blog. It was a cathartic experience.
I’m glad it felt that way for you. You expressed your feelings so well, Josh. I think your letter will resonate with many.
This made me cry as well. What an incredible inspiration you really are Josh Langley. I love this idea of the letter to past self.
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