Dear 100 Hour Board,
If you could call yourself from 10 years ago, what would you tell yourself?
Dear Baby Anathema,
Turns out your mysterious sickness of unending horrific stomach aches that are causing you to lose unhealthy amounts of weight (you will be underweight for the next six years thanks to this, btw), spend all your days curled up on the couch in misery and unable to do things like school (I think you miss around three months total this year) and dance (I can't remember if you end up having to drop out of the dance classes or not), and kind of makes your overly-dramatic side wonder if you're dying, that ailment IS psychological. And that is why all the tests the doctors are performing on you are turning up negative and saying you are perfectly healthy despite your inability to stomach more than about 5 small spoonfuls of food at a time.
You feel scared. You don't know why this is happening, and you don't believe that it could by psychological because you think that's just a synonym for "not real". You think that you should be in complete control of your mind, and don't accept the possibility that minds can get sick just like bodies can. But they can. Just because something is psychological doesn't make that something shameful, or any less "real" or "valid" than physical things.
Here's the thing: you do manage to make yourself physically healthy again and stop the stomachaches through sheer force of will (and carrying around a plastic bag of food to nibble on throughout the day until your stomach returns to a size where you can eat full meals again). However, the root of your problem remains. Instead of stomachaches, you're going to become OCD, and an extreme germaphobe. You're going to get to the point where you feel constantly unclean, and compulsively take sometimes multiple showers in the same day (but even with that, you never feel like it's enough). Any deviation you see from the strict standards in your head will result in intense mental pain.
I know you hate that one experience with the psychologist, because she treated you condescendingly, and you feel a negative stigma about needing therapy in the first place, but you still need counseling/therapy. Find someone besides that woman, and actually address the issues that are plaguing you.
In the meantime, here's a list of things that help to calm you down, and serve to at least partially stave off the anxiety:
- Sketching; I mean, you love art, and this is a time where you're pretty much constantly drawing anyways, so I guess to just stick with it.
- Physical activity like dance or yoga; again, you're currently taking modern dance lessons at a studio in Salt Lake, but keep up with dance. Also, something you haven't tried before but will love is yoga. Particularly the deep breathing will prove a useful tactic to draw upon whenever you're feeling upset.
- Writing poetry; this allows you to express your emotions and feelings in a positive way.
- Music; eventually you're going to pick up piano again (though, alas, you never do become particularly good), and even farther in the future, discover a passion for singing. Try and get into voice lessons right now. It will give you a sense of confidence that you've never had before.
- Really anything in the arts; basically that's been this entire list, but it's where you find solace. Acting and other things not yet mentioned are quite fun.
Good luck, little me. Things are going to be tough, but you will come through all of it. You will learn how to love the people around you, and how to forgive. Instead of vehemently repeating the mantra inside your mind that you don't feel the pain coming from your stomach, focus on letting the bad emotions go. Don't just bottle everything up; it doesn't work well, trust me, I tried that for years.
Dear Past Ardilla,
Social dance, while fun, is not a terribly good way to meet women. Ballet, on the other hand... despite not knowing basically anything, the number of guys who do ballet at BYU is so slim you could really get involved quite easily with the program with minimal skill or experience. Sure, you'll figure this out your senior year—in fact, you'll even weasel your way onto the stage—but if you do it now, it would be excellent, and you wouldn't be several years older than basically everyone else involved.
Maybe actually try drawing more often at the open figure drawing sessions in the HFAC. You'd also progress more artistically if you didn't wait to start until your senior year as well.
Same goes for breaking, popping, house and hip-hop dance, though to be fair to you they won't offer that Street Dance Fundamentals class for years and years anyways.
Don't be in such a rush to "complete your generals" because your schooling is going to take a long, long time. Including your mission, it will be over eight years. Uh, good luck with that.
Maybe you should take more risks with dating, you know, like calling people back or calling the numbers you get at all. It's not as if it could end up much worse than it will otherwise. #rekt
Just freakin' apply for the media arts program already. There's no need to wait like, four years to do that. It will be one of your favorite parts about BYU, enough so that you'll try to graduate with them, even if it's just your minor program.
You'll enjoy your prolonged time in school, but you might end up wishing you had more time in your late twenties to go live and work in faraway places (Alaska, New Zealand, etc.) without worrying so much about aging out of the age groups you were most interested in dating.
Photobombing that random apartment's group picture with a rotisserie chicken is going to have way, way more impact on your life than you might expect. The girl you meet as a result will be the kind of person you would be thrilled to date and marry, but I'll just let how that ends up be a surprise.
On a positive note, you're going to end up joining that weird Q & A website you like to read so much. Even though you'll end up waiting three needless years between your first rejected application and your second successful attempt at joining, you'll still find it satisfying and fun... if admittedly a strange use of time. You'll really enjoy meeting the other writers.
Oh, and one more thing—
--Ardilla Feroz, circa 2017
Dear Van Goff circa 2007,
DO NOT READ DEATHLY HALLOWS BEFORE YOU READ HALF-BLOOD PRINCE JUST BECAUSE ALL YOUR FRIENDS ARE READING IT.
BOOKS ARE WRITTEN IN AN ORDER FOR A REASON. THIS IS JUST LIKE WHEN YOU SKIPPED THE LAST CHAPTERS OF ORDER OF THE PHOENIX BECAUSE "NOTHING WAS HAPPENING" AND THEN YOU FOUND OUT THAT APPARENTLY THINGS DID HAPPEN, ESPECIALLY TO SIRIUS BLACK. JUST. READ THE BOOKS IN ORDER.
I would probably focus my comments on financial advice. I would talk about saving, investing, budgeting, deciding where to work, etc. I think it would have been very valuable to know those things back when I was a teenager. Luckily, I have acquired some of that knowledge and it is helping tremendously.
-Sunday Night Banter
Dear the-more-lonely Lone Musketeer,
Things get better. Things get so much better.
The Lone Musketeer
P.S. There will be a slip-in-slide in your future. At a multi-stake activity. I would strongly, strongly recommend avoiding it. Because you will moon everyone.
Dear Van Goff,
Hey wait what do you mean about Sirius Black? He's my favorite character and I sure hope nothing bad happens to him...
-Frère Rubik of fifteen years ago