When I was writing this, it sounded very familiar to me and I realized why. The advice I’m giving myself as a 12-year old is essentially the same that I gave to my boys in the post, A Letter to my Sons. It makes sense. I have often said that children sometimes act as mirrors and reflect back to you those things you like about yourself, and what you don’t like so much as well.
I see so much of myself in my boys, for better and for worse. I want them to “GET” things earlier than I did, I want them to not beat themselves up for being flawed, I want them to learn from their mistakes, but mostly I want them to know that they can do so much more than they think they can because they are amazing. I let the fear of failure, and on many levels, the fear of success, color my choices. I hope the boys realize the only thing standing in their way is themselves.
None of us can go back and do things differently, and by and large, I don’t want to. I do wish I had more time with my dad, and Brett, and I lament some of my choices, but even if I had the chance to go back and change things, I don’t know if I would because I feel like every broken heart, every rejection, every seemingly wrong turn, led me here, parent to the two most incredible boys on the planet. BUT, if I could go back, this is what I would want to tell myself.
Dear 12-year old me,
You’re kind of mess right now, aren’t you? You feel like school sucks, your parents are dorks, your siblings are jerks, your hair is a nightmare, your braces will never come off, and you will always live in a tiny town and feel something like a fish out of water. Well, never fear, 43-year old you (me) from the future is here to soothe your troubled soul. Granted, your hair will always be kind of a nightmare, but the rest totally works out. I have some guidance for you to help you on your journey.
When you start high school, you will meet some fantastic people. Brett will be one of your closest friends. He will be there for you when few others are. Cherish him. He will be gone far too soon.
Dawn is someone who is very special and she will teach you about strength and love. Don’t lose sight of her.
Mom and dad love you but yes, things will get weird. Dad’s a complicated man and slowly you will start to realize that he is a human being, not a super hero. That’s okay. He can still be your super hero. He gave you his sense of humor and he loves the hell out of you and would do anything for you.
Emulate mom if you can. She’s incredible and totally comfortable in her skin. Also, give her a break about crying over Little House on the Prairie episodes and long distance carrier commercials. You will be exactly the same way. Also, you will do other things like she does too, so…keep that in mind the next time you laugh at one of her eardrum shattering sneezes.
Missy and Clay will always have your back. Clay will become one of the best guys and fathers you’ve ever seen (and probably won’t fart on either of his children’s heads even once like he used to yours) and Missy will grow more than you thought possible and will teach you about introspection. Listen to her. They will be your friends forever. Don’t fight with either of them about stupid shit. It’s not worth it.
Your family will grow to include a sister-in-law and two nieces. Enjoy time with them when they’re little because soon enough they will be grown up and you will be in awe of the women they become.
In the coming years you will feel immortal and you will drive after having had a lot of alcohol to drink. You will do this more than once. Don’t do this ever, you freaking idiot.
Stay in journalism class. Continue in college. Writing is the one thing that you have always done and it is what you will always do and it would be fantastic to be paid for it.
Rethink that crush on Ashley Wilkes. Weakness is not a quality to be desired. Trust me on this. Ashley could never have handled Scarlett anyway.
I know it seems like a self-destructive streak in boys is fun and desirable, but realize, that streak is inside you. Don’t seek it in them, deal with your own.
You feel like the chubby funny girl who boys don’t like. Boys DO like you, exactly how you are, and if one boy doesn’t, another one will.
Don’t even think about changing yourself for anybody. Ever.
It feels like you’re the girl who will never be kissed. Not only will you be kissed, you will fall in love, several times, and boys will fall in love with you. You fall hard and you always will. Things inevitably end and it will hurt. It will not hurt forever though. I promise.
There are other things you could change and do, but it is imperative that you go to the On the Border restaurant with Missy and one of the guys she works with and one of his friends. The guy she works with will be more into Missy, but just hang in there. Meeting him will lead to two of the most amazing creatures ever.
Life is short. It’s really short. You will make choices in the coming years that you will not believe sound like a good idea to you at the time, and they probably aren’t, but I think you have to make them to get to where you end up. Remember this, nobody can beat you up the way you can. Give yourself a break after you make amends for your mistakes..and you will make so many mistakes, but everything will be fine. It really will.
Trust yourself, know your boundaries, love with everything you can, learn from and clean up your messes. You will be just fine.