Letter to Self: SEU Student Katya Melchor reflects on past year


Courtesy of Unsplash

SEU student Katya Melchor reflects on the many changes this past year brought her and offers other SEU students both something to relate to and some inspiration as well.

Dear 2020 Katya, 

As cliche as it sounds, 2020 is going to be a year full of changes, both internal and external. What I’m writing to you might seem odd and crazy, but trust me when I say that what will happen will indeed shape you into a completely different person. 

You felt it, the odd feeling that something was going to happen to you, but you weren’t sure when it would. There are a lot of things that I want to talk about with you, so I think it’s best to start internally. You’ll come to realize that the internal changes greatly intertwine with the external changes. 

One of the first things that you did during 2020 was  sort through a lot of things going on in your head that you didn’t want to think about. The start of a worldwide pandemic forced a lot of people to stay inside, and there’s so much entertainment you did before you started to look inside your own head. It will be an interesting time for you to go through things that you pushed down and away. 

We had to deal with the inner turmoil that we held from the winter of 2019 to the present time. We had to learn to be more empathetic while letting go of negative emotions, actions and terrible obsessions. It takes a long time to acknowledge these, and at first, it’s quite scary and hard to do. The thing is: it’s what makes us human. 

We are not perfect, and we still aren’t a year later, but we are more aware and are willing to look at the not-so-good side and say, “that is still part of me, and that’s what makes me, me.” This whole process is scary and lonely, even when you have family with you. It takes a bit of time to try to talk about what goes on in your head with mom, but it will feel better to let it out. It will feel like a weight is being lifted off your chest. 

Now, this part is a little hard to write. Even after almost a year, it doesn’t feel like this is a new reality. Unfortunately, a close family member never got to see 2021. It seems unreal to write, but it’s true. When mom said it, through tears and wailing, it was numbing, and felt as if the world stopped. Nothing can prepare you for the idea of them being gone, and even now it feels unreal. 

What hurts the most was that they were getting better, talking and communicating with everyone. It looked as if you were going to see them soon and give them a hug, and thank God that they were okay. But the day never came. For a long time, you were mad at how life could be so cruel as to dangle their life in front of your family and rip them away so quickly. 

You come to realize that life is like that and how our short lives can end in an instant. Looking back, their death taught us the idea of enjoying life and the people in it. This seems like an obvious concept to understand, but we think about it a lot more. Every opportunity to see family or to have a close relationship with someone needs to be seen as a blessing. Create memories with them so that when death happens, you’re glad that you made memories to remember them. 

To end on a lighter note, matters of the heart have been a touchy subject for us for a very long time. The old saying that it comes to you when you least expect it seemed cliche, but it does have merit. Now, you’re probably wondering who it is and what led to the relationship, so brace yourself. It’s with the person who asked you the question, “is this seat taken?” 

In all honesty, you and I both know that subconsciously we had feelings for them at the start of 2020, but we didn’t think that they felt the same. After what happened the first time, we didn’t think that they would even think of us in that way still. However, in the summer, you and them started weekly movie nights just to talk to another person that wasn’t family. After the movie ended, both of you talked late into the night about anything and everything. It quickly became one of the highlights of our week.

Many times, we thought maybe there was a chance they had feelings towards us, we dismissed that idea and wrote off hints as over-analyzing. Mom had other ideas though, and told us many times that they have feelings for us. She even commented on how they let you borrow one of their Nintendo switches for half the year and had express delivery on it. 

Eventually, you and them begin to message each other often. Mostly memes and the occasional long conversation. It felt great, then they mentioned how their friend got a girlfriend and how we should do double dates with them. That’s when you mentioned that by that logic, we would have to be a couple as well, and that’s when they said they wanted to talk about that in person. 

We were very excited, to say the least, and were anxious. The negative thoughts and scenarios of repeating history came into mind, but at that point, we had come very far emotionally. Even when they asked you in person, we still had to take a moment to be very sure, because it wouldn’t have been fair for them. We said yes, that we wanted to do this. We haven’t looked back since. 

In any new relationship, there needs to be an understanding that both of you are learning about one another. You need to understand that they aren’t perfect, but we still want to know more about them, no matter how long it takes.

The year places a lot of things in our path, and each experience pushes us further from who we were in the past in a good way. 

Stay strong, 

2021 Katya Melchor