Letter to My 21 year old Self

colgoo's picture

Letter to My 21 year old Self



Liner Notes: 

So, I decided to write myself a letter: the self who had gone through some trauma, but was at a crossroads in life....I had taken a job at Mt. Rainier National Park and for the first time in my life tasted freedom. But, that September, as I was trying to figure out how to break up with my abusive girlfriend and finally leave her (for good) she arrived on the scene to take me back to the university we attended. The next two and a half years, the abuse escalated to her threatening my life multiple times and me feeling suicidal.

That summer, I would read an inspirational postcard next to my bed, before getting ready for the day: "Be bold and courageous. When you look back on your life, you'll regret the things you didn't do more than the things you did."

I like to think that if I had escaped, leaving no forwarding address, at the end of that summer, I may have also had the courage to finish college earlier, pursue a Master's, possibly a PhD. I may have left my church at that point, too, as I was on the edge of doing so at that time.

I chose to direct her to Boston, because in an alternate universe, I may have met my husband here and we could still have fallen in love, though the time frame may have been a bit different. Still, it could have happened.


Hey you! It's me from the future:
I mean YOU, myself and I.
You're looking to escape this moment.
Please, go ahead and try.
You are brave enough. You are bold enough.
You've got courage in high supply.
Each morning, you read that postcard.
So make a plan. Go ahead and fly.

Your fear is holding us back.
Don't let her come crawling in your bed.
When you get to Seattle,
Buy a plane ticket to Boston instead.

Get a job. Transfer schools.
Don't worry about your vocation.
Get it done! Have some fun.
Live simply. Pursue your passion.

One thing before I close this letter.
Write songs about your pain inside.
Leave the church, if you want to.
You don't need an alibi.

Please keep your comments respectful, honest, and constructive. Please focus on the song and not the demo.


mike skliar's picture

wow- this is a fantastic song, first, and a brave subject and really digs deep in all the important ways. We all should write these 'here i am from the future' songs from time to time, perhaps! this is a really moving and well-done one, and the background you put in the liner notes helps put it in context.

headfirstonly's picture

I really feel this. Fear is this most toxic thing that enters our lives; I had parents who used anxiety as a form of control when I was a kid and even as I approach my sixties, I'm still fighting the remains of the anxieties that they instilled in me. So for anybody in a similar situation, this song is so important: go ahead and fly. You CAN do this.

OdilonGreen's picture

Very touching, absolutely gorgeous; I hope this was as cathartic to write as it was poignant and stirring to hear. The "You are brave enough...Go ahead and fly" refrain is beautiful, and magical, and very, very inspiring.

cindyrella's picture

So real and honest and just beautiful! I love the "you are brave enough...' I am so inspired by this and by you!

kahlo2013's picture

Thanks Colleen for sharing the song and the back story which adds the context to make the song even more compelling. I love the courage in this and wish all of us at 21 had the strength to embrace the wisdom and insight you share. Beautifully written. Gorgeous delivery.

AndyGetch's picture

Congratulations on the deep dive and the change in point of view from the aspect of time. Well done!

Oh this brought tears to my eyes! I also have big regrets from my past and have written similar style songs to younger versions of myself, so this just tugged away at my heartstrings. Your chorus lines 'You are brave enough. You are bold enough.' was really moving'. Fantastic!

JamKar's picture

I agree with the courage and insight that this song portrays in a young woman, who is now looking back. The feeling shines through in your vocals, and the guitar propels ths song along nicely. Thank you indeed for nudging me to look back also!

Technicolor Gramophone's picture

Really thought provoking and beautifully performed. Agree with others that the bold enough/brave enough line is magical!