You like to believe that your "formative years" were the four years you spent in high school. But you aren't really sure, actually, you don't even know what the term "formative years" means because you don't even know what it feels like to feel "fully formed". This is all a very confusing for you but you spend countless nights thinking about this, alone and in your bed.
Often times, you feel like you are still in high school. There are certain smells that you encounter everyday on your walk to work that remind you of the hallways you tried your best to sneak through. The way you'd slump your shoulders down and look at your feet while you walked to each classroom, hoping and praying no one would notice you. You think of the lockers that you'd claw your way out of, trying to hide the fact that you were crying.
You remember what it's like to be alone. But it is a very special, a very different version of loneliness than the one you feel now, in your mid-20s. I don't mean to alarm you but the version of isolation or loneliness you feel right now, right this second, is one that is devoid of hope, of change, of maybe one day you won't be so alone.
But back when you were in high school, you honestly and earnestly believed that you would one day feel less lonely (this wasn't true, unfortunately).
Before you walk into the office every morning, you walk into the closest Starbucks, latch on to their free Wi-Fi, and watch YouTube videos and movie trailers until you feel like you have wasted an adequate amount of time. One of the trailers you watch, Ashby, makes you feel a range of emotions.
While the smells and sights of your morning commute only sort of remind you of what high school was like for you, this trailer makes those memories vivid. What I'm trying to say is that, earlier, you were only thinking about your past in black and white, silent, with subtitles and this trailer makes you think of your past in Technicolor, in HD, Dolby Surround Sound.
And even though the movie revolves around a nerdy, dorky kid becoming a confident jock through a neighbor that used to be a CIA assassin -- something that is entirely ridiculous but still worth watching on the screen -- you remember the friendship you had with someone older than you that you had in high school.
You start to remember all the conversations that you had with this person and how he did not treat you like a child. Instead, he spoke to you and he listened. He really talked to you about your thoughts -- not so much about your feelings and even now, you don't really talking about feelings -- and he was one of the first people to tell you that you were an intelligent person.
And right now, you need to remember those things. You tend to forget about yourself and who you are and what you are really like. You get lost in the way you want people to perceive you: dumb, drunk, and funny. You forget that you are actually very smart and thoughtful.
That isn't to say that you aren't those things, you can be very dumb and drunk and funny but that is not all of you. You need to remember that you are more than what you want people to think of you. And now, you hear a voice in your head -- maybe this voice -- and it changes. The tone shifts and transforms into the same one your 11th year English teacher had.
Accept where you are in life. You can always prepare for the future but you can never predict what will happen. You have always been a talented individual and people other than me are starting to see it. I know you haven't believed in yourself and after -- what is it now? 15? 20 years? -- all this time it's hard to find the right way to start believing in yourself but you must learn how to love yourself. Trust those around you. Be honest, in the way that I know you have been when I knew you in a place other than your mind. I don't know where you will end up, or if you will pursue your dreams but I know you will grow. I know you will one day be happy with your life.
And when his voice fades away and mine -- your internal voice -- comes back, you get up from the bench you've been sitting and shaking on and head towards your office. You think about what your teacher, your mentor, thought of you. You think about the way he would speak about your "potential".
You say hello to the doorman, head up the elevator, and take a seat in your cubicle. You think about how you might have failed him, or probably, maybe how you failed yourself. As your computer loads up, you thumb through your e-mail contacts, and find the contact information you've had saved. You send him an e-mail.
You will spend the rest of the day hoping he will respond.
Ashby will be in theaters on September 25th, 2015