Whelp… I’ve been tagged… by Rebecca from her “Fictional Reality” blog. The idea is to write a letter to yourself when you were 13. This was her post – “Tag! You’re it!“, and is a good read that leaves one wondering… “what exactly happened at her cousin’s wedding anyway??”. =)…
It is funny that not too long ago, I wound up writing a post called “If I could go back in time… “. In that post, I wound up writing about what I would tell myself if I could go back 6 years ago… when I was pregnant with my 2nd son, had a 5 year old son, and was taking care of my dieing father.
I didn’t plan to write it… it just rolled off… and the really weird thing is that only a couple days later, I wound up face to face with a pregnant woman – pregnant with her 2nd son, and she has a 4 year old son, and she had just lost her mother. I wound up in a deep conversation with her, even though we hardly knew each other… and, saying many of the same things to her that I had just written about.
Anyway – now, I’m faced with writing to my 13 year old self… and I can’t help but wonder if there is some poor 13 year old out there, that is going thru a similar time that I had, and will suddenly appear after this post and engage me in deep conversation… ??? Wouldn’t that be something???
Before I begin my letter, I’d like to say that I remember being 13 very well… and I have my old diary to remind me of just where my mindset was those days. At that time, I was going thru some major rebellion and learning curves of my own. I sort of doubt that I would listen to any adult back then too much… probably not even myself since I’m now “old”. LOL But, also true to my nature then and now, I will tell myself what I think should be said, whether the 13 year old me wants to hear it or not! So, here goes….
Dear Samantha Jane…
(yes, I know that is not your real name… and I do not know WHY your mother always called you that…. and it’s even MORE of a mystery as to why 29 years later you would chose it for your blog name?? What’s a “blog”, you ask? Ohh… never mind!)
I know you don’t think anyone can possibly understand where you are coming from, or how you feel… but, you should know that if anyone can, I can. And, all in all, I don’t think you need too many pointers. You actually did a pretty darn good job of surviving your teen years, and you obviously make it thru alive. Better yet, you make it through with a rather positive outlook on life and a smile on your face. You have a better head on your shoulders than you realize… and all in all, you have a pretty good life. But, now that I’m 41, I can think of a few things that might have been nice to know when I was your age (13). So, maybe, jusssssssssssst maybe – you can take some of these pointers into consideration, ok?
1) You are not alone. You might feel like you are… but, someday, they are going to have this thing called “the Internet”, and you are going to be able to read about all kinds of people whom you can actually relate to and went thru similar situations. That alone, is sort of comforting to me now… so, I thought if might make you feel better.
2) Your parents both love you very much. Yes, they have their issues with each other and in general.. but, never doubt that they both love YOU. Not the “you” that you think you need to pretend to be – but the REAL you. They do. You may have them fooled on some things… but, if/when they find out the truth (and ummm… they will eventually), guess what? They still love you. Believe it.
3) Your brother’s love you too. Even your oldest brother whom you swear hates you and loves to see you get in trouble. Yeah, he might be a little jealous of you sometimes, but he truly cares about you so much that he worries about you more than you know. He would do anything for you… and there winds up being a few times that he actually really helps you out. Don’t be afraid to talk to him, and know that both of your brother’s always have your back.
On the other hand, realize that just because your brothers would never hit a girl… there are other guys out there that will. You might want to think twice before you dump your drink down that jerk’s pants when your 19… even though, he totally deserved it. But, if you DO decide to do it… then, after you pick yourself up off the floor (after the 2nd time you go down), and the whole bar is holding him back?? – Use a fist when you swing over the little bar-tenders head and hit him (instead of an open hand slap to the head). Then still take him to court, press charges, and sick your brother’s on him! The nazi-rat-bastard!
4) OK – this is a hard one. About your Mom…. While, yes, she loves you… you should know that she has some bigger issues than just being a religious fanatic. She has some real mental health issues. Don’t laugh. It’s not funny. I know you joke about it, but don’t really believe this right now. It’s scary… but, it’s true. No, she’s not like her mother… but, it is more than just her religious outlooks, or her relationship with Dad. She’s looses touch with reality sometimes. I think you’re better off knowing this. I think everything will be less confusing and scary if you learn a little about it.
You don’t need to confront her on it… it won’t do any good… and don’t expect Dad to want to talk about it either – because he’s also afraid to believe this. He’s afraid of what people will think about your whole family if they know. His silence on these issues is both his being in denial, and because he’s trying to protect you. But, don’t YOU be afraid anymore. You are NOT like your mother… and you don’t have these same issues that she has. Her problems are completely unrelated to you. However, her problems DO affect you. Try to learn a little about schizophrenia or mental illness in general… and, know that when she does things, it’s NOT YOUR FAULT. It’s also not her fault…. but, mostly realize there’s nothing you can do to make her better.
5) Matter of fact, you should know that a lot of things are NOT your fault. You have a tendency to put way too much pressure on yourself. It’s good to take responsibility for yourself… and your own actions. But, you need to understand that there are many things that you just have to deal with… but can not control. Try not to feel so guilty all the time.
6) Your Dad is not going to Hell. And either is your brother, or you, or anyone else that you love and worry about. It is not up to you to save them. And yes, it is wrong for your mother and other church people to put that kind of expectations and pressure on you. Don’t let them anymore. Stop worrying – and go with your gut. When you have questions, ask them. It’s okay to wonder, doubt, ask, and learn. The more you learn, the better you’ll feel – and the sooner you’ll feel better.
7) The world is not black and white. Everything isn’t either good or bad. There is plenty of gray area. Don’t be so quick to think you know the answers.. or that someone else does. You know? You are very good at putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. You are easily able to sympathize and empathize with folks. You seem to naturally want to help people (and animals). Keep doing that. The more you do that.. the more gray you see… and that’s a good thing.
8 ) Also, don’t think you have to have this charade of a split personality. Both “sides” are ALL YOU – and, the “whole you” is actually pretty special. Those that really care about you, will appreciate your being honest with them and the “whole” you, way more than only getting the parts of you that you THINK they want to see.
9) And, don’t worry about what other people think about you too much… Ironically, the more you are yourself… the more confident you are… and the less you try to please everyone else… the more people like you… and the better you’ll feel.
10) You’re Dad always tells you that “boys always want what they can’t have, and then once they get it, they don’t want it anymore”. He’s right. 99% of the time this seems to be the case.. especially for teenage boys. But, this goes both ways… and if there’s ever a boy that you reeeeeeeeelly think you like soooooo much… and you’re feeling sooo hurt over, think about how this might be applying to you.
11) Speaking of boys… You are right to not have any big desire to get a serious boyfriend any time soon. Keep learning from your friends mistakes… and being there for them (your friends) when they need you. Even years later, don’t ever feel pressured into doing something just because you THINK everyone else is doing it… or that you SHOULD want to. If you don’t want to do something, and/or think you’ll regret it.. then, don’t.
Here’s 2 more things about boys… 1) While it might not seem believable right now… some day, you’ll have more chasing after you than you ever imagined. Don’t be so afraid of this when it happens. Have fun. You don’t have to be serious with any of them if you don’t want to. Give a few more of them a chance then you do. because.. 2) Someday, when you least expect it, and aren’t looking for it… you WILL meet someone who really loves you and wants to be with you forever. (and, wait til you see your kids… but, we’ll let that be a surprise. =)
12) Your friends mean the world to you right now.. and that doesn’t change. Don’t ever lose sight of how much you need your friends… but, do question if someone really IS a friend. Friendship is a two way street. You don’t have to follow along with any “friends” that aren’t really looking out for your best interest. Don’t be so quick to follow… you can be a great leader when you want to.
13) Why don’t you try out for a few more activities? I know you don’t want to do cheerleading (like your father wants), but, you might like to be on a girls sports team… or maybe even in the Drama club? You know you love to sing. Don’t NOT do things just to spite anyone… and don’t be so nervous… you can do it!
14) Think twice about giving up on your piano lessons. I know it’s hard to learn from mom… but, she really is an excellent pianist… and you COULD play like that someday if you stick with it. If you don’t… you’ll always regret it.
15) About Gram and Pa – Visit them, and talk to them, and listen to their stories about your Dad (even though you’ve heard them a million times) every chance you get. Take in every wrinkle and twinkle in their eyes…
16) Have fun at concerts.. but, do yourself a favor and don’t chug Jack Daniel’s from a wine sac…
17) You, are NOT fat. Some day, you are going to look back at how you look now… and think, “wow! I was actually pretty good lookin!”. I know that isn’t going to resonate with you… so maybe at least this advice will. Please try to understand that there is NOT miracle pill… or miracle diet… Save yourself years of yo-yo dieting. The only way you will ever be thin and healthy is if you eat right… and exercise. Surprise Surprise.
18) When you write in your diary…??? Try to write a little bit more about Mom and Dad and Gram and Pa and family events and stuff… I know it’s easier to write pages and pages about boys and parties and girlfriends… but, trust me on this…
19) Speaking of your Diary…. do you REALLY think Mom isn’t going to read it?? You might want to hide it a little better.. or, leave out a few parts… then again, never mind. That all plays out for a reason…
and last but not least:
20) and this is very important… it could save you YEARS of frustration. So listen up.
You, my dear, have naturally wavy hair that has a mind of it’s own. All the blow-drying, curling irons, and hot rollers in the world will NEVER tame it or enable you to have that feathered back “Farah Faucet hair” that all your friends seem to have. What you need to do is just brush it once when it’s wet, then put gel in it, scrunch it, and then do NOTHING. Maybe pick it out a little when it dries and spray it. That’s it. Women will tell you for many many years that they would kill for your hair. It’s one of your only re-deeming features in later years. Try to quit hating it so much and work with it. =)
Ok – that’s it… Sorry it was so long and I babbled on and on. SOME things NEVER change….
Now…. if anyone’s interested… here’s a Brad Paisley’s song along these lines – called, “If I could write a letter to me”.
– oh – and if anyone is still reading this…. consider you yourself tagged! =)