A Graduation Speech To My Younger Self

I’ve been interacting with high school and college seniors for the larger portion of my makeup career. Senior pictures, proms, professional headshots, private lessons and actual graduation day makeup bookings have provided me a front row seat to their behind-the-scenes emotions.

Conventional graduations can invite us to consider all of our vulnerable yet significant convocations. The older we get, the more of our own “Hero’s Journey” we can contribute to the story of our lives. We never really stop graduating. Our ultimate initiations come when we accept and embrace all of our past selves, all of our flaws and mistakes, everything that has made us who we are, and look at our past reflections with a kind rather than critical eye. As a result, we set ourselves free and hopefully, save the world.

If you could send a letter back through time to your younger self, what would the letter say?

 In the collection “Letters To My Younger Self” and song by MUNA titled “It’s Gonna Be Okay, Baby”, individuals write letters/songs to the people they once were, filled with insights they wish they had when they were younger. Also included is the reassurance that all, ultimately, will be okay.

If you need to graduate from something, I highly recommend writing a letter to your younger self. Mine is below in a song stanza form:

High School Graduation | 2006

Erin-

You’re going to graduate from a uniformed high school

And attend a tiny private college that will be more of the same

You’ll play soccer on a partial scholarship

And use it as a bragging tool to convince yourself you’re so important

And you’ll randomly select a major in Elementary Education

Because “You have to pick something” even when you’re directionless

You’re going to come home on weekends and get back with the ex

Because you’ll both pine for a sense of familiarity

You’re going to call your mom

It’s going to be okay

———————–

You’re going to go to a new college

And your credits and athleticism won’t transfer

You’ll pursue Fashion Design

Putting you in the “I’m behind according to society” 5 year plan

You’re going to learn how to sew

The ‘C’ grades will mirror your averageness you don’t want to accept

So, you’ll switch to Fashion Merchandising

And you’ll realize you’re experiencing more of the same

You’re going to call your mom

It’s going to be okay

—————-

You’re going to join a sorority

Knowing it’s not your personal definition of community

You’ll play the part and wear the letters

And get engaged to a tall, dark and handsome guy in a fraternity

He will call you once on summer break

You’ll normalize silence and realize

You too, don’t know how to communicate

And you’re going to act out your pain in destructive ways

You’re going to run {away} 10 miles a day

You’re going to call your mom

It’s going to be okay

—————–

You’re going to go to Makeup School

Then follow your fiancé by moving to New York City

You’ll both call the relationship quits after a year of living there

And you’ll move to Brooklyn with your cat named Katie

Then you’ll hit your career stride

Just in time to be honest with yourself

Big cities aren’t an escape from experiencing more of the same

You’re going to call your mom

It’s going to be okay

—————-

You’re going to move home

And live in the basement

You’ll go back to school for a credential

And you’ll start your own business

Your dreams will begin to come true

You’re going to walk upstairs to talk to mom

It’s going to be okay

——————-

You’re going to celebrate a decade of being a Makeup Artist

And earn your own brick-and-mortar building

You’re going to have a cozy home and find the beauty in ordinary life

You’ll travel for self-discovery

Things won’t feel like more of the same

You’ll be alone for a while, and then you’ll find someone

Who has a healthy reciprocal relationship with you

He’s going to meet your mom

It’s going to be okay

-Erin

College Graduation | 2011