24 April 2012
A letter to thirteen-year-old me
My dearest thirteen-year-old self,
I am writing you to give you a bit of advice about your life. I am not here to try to alter your life. My goal is to let you know that it will all be okay. Thirteen year old you has very little confidence, an attitude (which you don’t realize yet, but it does stick around for a while), and no idea who you are. I remember who I was when I was you, and it scares me to realize how low you would get. I just thought you should know that IT ALL WORKS OUT. That being said, it doesn’t work out how you planned (you didn’t get married at twenty-three, you are single and have no kids, and there’s no white picket fence around an adorable house with a porch swing. But you are amazing, and I am proud of the girl you get to become). I am not going to tell you how to change your future. You will go through some hard times – some really, really hard times – but they make you (well, me, I suppose) who you are (or am?), and for that you will be grateful. Instead, I will leave you with a few words to live by:
You are beautiful. You won't think so every day, and you won't think so all that often. But one day, you will finally look at yourself and realize that there is something beautiful about you. Don't spend your time hiding who you are, wearing baggy clothes, not doing your hair or makeup because you think that you aren't worth it. You ARE worth it. Somewhere, someone else thinks so, too.
Before you are through with high school, your mother is going to pass away. I am not telling you this to terrify you, or to try to make you change the outcome. I am telling you this because the one thing that twenty-eight year old you regrets is that she didn’t spend more time with her mother before it was too late. Learn about her; ask her questions; find out how to make turkey tetrazzini (you were craving it a few months back and were saddened to realize that you had no idea how to make it, and you missed her so bad it hurt). Your views will not always be the same, but you will miss her more than you can possibly realize right now.
You are going to have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince. And when I say a lot, I really do mean a lot. Let it happen, learn from it, and have fun with it. Don't focus so much on your whole "be married by twenty-three and have your first baby at twenty-five..." idea. It isn't going to happen. Let your love life take you where it will, and learn that eventually life will put you where it needs you to be.
Believe in taking chances. Nothing is perfect, and it would probably be boring if it was. Go out with the girls; flirt with the guy you think is out of your league. Quit worrying about what other people think so much.
Learn to study. You are incredibly smart, and people will actually appreciate that when you get to be older. But things won't always come so easily. One day, school will get hard, and you'll wish you had the skills to study. You think now that it will be easy, but it won't. They aren't kidding - studying really is a skill that you need to lean, and you're going to realize when you finally make it back to college that you never acquired that skill, and no matter how smart you are, it just isn't going to come that easy.
There will be a day in about ten years when something bad happens to you. Something really, really bad. I am not going to tell you what it is, or when exactly it happens, because I don’t want you to live in fear every day of your life. The thing is, it is inevitable. And this thing will be instrumental in making you who you are. As you can see, I am writing this to you fifteen years from now, so you obviously survive this thing – don’t worry. I have a feeling that this thing that happened to you will help you to change the lives of other people one day. Let the feelings come, let yourself cry, be afraid, be depressed, be heartbroken. Just know that you WILL get through it. And it will make you so much stronger for having survived.
Don't listen to the people who tell you that f you don't go to college right out of high school that you will never go back. You are nearing thirty and are working on finishing up your associates degree. College isn't for everyone, and it isn't for you until you are ready for it. I can tell you, when you finally go back, you give it your all, get good grades, and are really happy that you did it. Just do it when you are ready. The rest will fall into place.
Don't give in to peer pressure. It takes you a while, but you eventually find friends who love you for who you are, and don't try to push you to do things that you don't want to do. You've never smoked a cigarette, never tried any sort of drug, and rarely drink. You've only been good and tipsy a couple of times, but you've never been full-on drunk. You'll find that you are proud of this, and are glad you never gave into any of that nonsense.
The dog you always dreamed of having? You get her! Don't rush into it - you'll know she's meant to be yours when you see her photograph. She is adorable and snuggly and perhaps a little bit crazy - but she is indeed your perfect dog. She will make the wait worth it. Keep on wishing on those stars for her - it probably helped.
Basically, thirteen-year-old self, don't worry about things so much. Life works out the way it is supposed to, even if it isn't the way you dreamed it would. You'll fall in love, your heart will be broken, you'll lose people you love, you'll love people you never dreamed that you would. Life will be amazing, it will be hard, it will break you down and lift you up. Just take it for what it is. And take lots of pictures. And write lots of thoughts down.