Friday, September 14, 2012

Dear Me {a letter to my teenage self}

Dear Me,

Sixteen was an interesting time... 14 years from where you are now. And believe it or not, you're married with KIDS

Yep, you read that correctly. Those little obnoxious beasts whom you hate to babysit? Yea, those. And you love them more than anything in the whole world. Who woulda thought, eh?

But, let's just cut to the chase. 

You are a good girl, with a bit of a rebellious streak.

All of your friends are at the top of their class, and while you take AP and Advanced courses, you always seem to hang right there in the middle.

Perhaps that's where this "rebellious streak" came from. You never feel quite up to par with them. Yes, you're all extremely close, but perhaps you feel below them? Well, stop it! You're awesome and just because  you don't have a  4.0 doesn't make you less of a person. Embrace your uniqueness and the talents that you do have. Don't dwell on the ones that you don't. (And for the record, your best friend Mike IS our class Valedictorian!)

You pave the way for your sisters, and horrify your mother, by proudly wearing a bikini to the beach this summer. It takes Mom quite awhile to get over this. It's not pretty. Be prepared.

But, that cigarette in your mouth? So not cool. You may think you look pretty badass banging that hard-pack of Camel Turkish Golds against your palm, but it's not. Trust me.

Seven years from now you will watch your beloved Papa die a horribly painful death from esophageal cancer. He will beg of you, of anybody that will listen, to just let him die. All he wants is to escape the pain and die. It will rip your soul apart. He will tell you that it was from years of smoking and that no cigarette was worth it.

So, just put down the cigarettes. Chew some gum instead.

Don't hate Mom because she won't let you drive at 16. Yes, it isn't fair that everyone else can drive except for you. And, yes, it is a bit ridiculous because she won't even let you ride in a car with somebody unless they are 18. 

But, one day, you will have two children of your own. And you will want to do everything in your power to keep them safe. And, sometimes, that means being the "uncool" parent and not letting your children do everything that their friends are doing. It's okay. 

 You are not fat. 115 pounds is NOT fat. Eat something for Christ's sake. 

Stop skipping lunch and hiding out in the library. You have a disease. Whether you want to admit this to yourself, or to anybody, is up to you. Yes, you're sneaky.. working late hours and letting people think that you eat during your break. You don't. And people know.

Your friend Laurie will cause a scene at band camp one summer.. yelling at you in front of the entire band because you will not eat. Even after marching outside in the sweltering heat for hours on end. She loves you. She cares about you and she knows you have a problem. Years from now, she is still by your side.

And speaking of band, you LOVE it. And you'll miss it more than you realize. Keep playing. As an adult it is one thing that you will regret- letting the music die.

That guy you're dating? The first real boyfriend... he's not that great. Your family knew all along he wasn't right for you. There will be many nights spent curled up in a ball on your bed crying your eyes out after he breaks up with you. The pain in your heart will seem to last forever... I can promise you that there are sunny days ahead!

But, believe it or not, there is somebody out there waiting for you. He lives a few towns over and you may have even spotted him in Dr. Price's office a few times. He becomes the love of your life, the father of your children and your best friend.

That other guy? He becomes a long-haired hippie who doesn't seem to shower often. I found it out on Facebook. (I know you don't know what that is... so think of AOL Instant Messenger, but 1000 times better!)  Yep. Lesson learned there, my dear.

Keep reading your heart out. Once you grow up and have kids, you find less and less time for one of your greatest pleasures. Spend as much time as you can outside in the sun. When you go on that awesome family vacation out west, you know the one- 7 people, 1 minivan and 21 days- take Mom's advice and write down all of the amazing sights that you see. Memories seem to fade as we get older.  

Talk to your Grandma and Papa often. Learn all you can of their childhoods and lives. Don't take advantage of the fact that they'll always be there. Because they won't be.Grandma passes away 4 weeks after your wedding and you have a very hard time coming to terms with her loss.

Be kind to your siblings, especially Natalie. She'll need you later in life- and she'll also be there the night that you meet Jason... in a bar. Classy, Em... Classy.

 Elizabeth will remain your confidante and best friend for the rest of your life. Be sure to tell her how much she means to you.

Someday, you will live thousands of miles away from your family. Take advantage of the time you have with them now. For in the future, your times together will be few and far between.

One day the braces will be gone and your smile will be straighter, wider and brighter than ever. The 5 1/2 years of brace face is worth it. Trust me.

Keep on loving yourself. But, remember that it's okay to be vulnerable every once and awhile. It doesn't make you weak. 

Oh, and by the way, Sun-In is NEVER a good idea. Your hair is orange. Don't kid yourself by thinking that it's some shade of blonde. It's not.

Love from the future.

P.S. Unfortunately, we don't have a scanner, so you are all spared from seeing pictures of my high school years. ;)

Linking up with Chatting at the Sky for her "Dear Me" letters party. :)


  1. I am intrigued about the hippie, although I can probably take a guess ;)

    I love reading letters like this!

  2. I love this post and I am so with you on the AP and Advanced classes and hanging right there in the middle. And also with the smoking-- except my particular poison was Marlboro Lights for about 3 months freshmen year when I was attempting to rebel and thought it was what the cool kids who hung out at Taco Bell after football games were doing, even though it made me almost throw up every single time.

    You've turned out beautifully with a gorgeous family! All of those experiences-- good, bad, and ugly (I'm pretty sure no one can rock braces, but it is worth it in the end)-- have shaped you. Makes you wonder if things would've been different if you actually could send yourself a letter from the future? :-)

  3. Absolutely love this post. :)

  4. Em- LOVE this also. What a poignant set of words for the young you. I remember her as being a pretty great 16 y/o with a good head on her shoulders. But it's always fun to look back. Oh, and about the AP classes, I feel you. Though it's ironic that many of the people I thought would pursue advanced degrees never did, and then there is middle of the road me, on her way to a Ph.D. Go figure!


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