Dear 16 year old me,
I’m pretty sure you’re going to have a hard time believing it’s me. For one thing? It’s going to seem really stupid that if I had the ability to send a letter back in time, I wouldn’t actually go back in time my whole self, but science is very confusing for us and we don’t actually understand all of the technology involved, just that it worked. If you’re still in doubt then I’ll tell you that I know on the weekend of your 16th birthday, you cried bitterly and you said something selfish and stupid to Daddy that we can’t forget and even though you didn’t mean it? You wish you could take it back. Also? I know exactly where you got that Def Leppard T-Shirt, and it wasn’t from a concert. Yeah, that’s right. You believe me now, don’t you?
Listen, if I had my way, we’d never need to have this letter. You’ve spent a lot of time wondering how your life would be different “if” and you’ll spend a lot more time wondering. Hell, we probably won’t ever stop wondering. But the truth is you’re going to be okay. I know it doesn’t seem like it, and there’s going to be lots of days where it doesn’t seem like it, but you will be okay. One day? Someone will understand and you’ll spend many happy moments on the road to “okay”. Hang in there.
School sucks for us and it doesn’t ever really get better. Teachers are going to say a lot of crappy things to you because they don’t understand you. Please stop listening to those awful things they say. They are wrong. They are so, so wrong. Forget about trying to make them happy and do more things that you enjoy.
Not that every teacher is going to suck. Take time to thank Mrs. Simmonds. She’s going to love the things you write and she’s going to spend so much time helping you build your confidence. And your vocabulary. What she will give you will shape who you become later in life, and trust me – she didn’t have to spend all that extra time encouraging you. She’s the first person who looks past the fear you have and sees the amazing person inside. She’s helping the awesome that is inside you. She’s making sure you’ll be ready to shine. Thank her.
Stop trying to fit in. In a few years, everyone will be fighting to stand out from the crowd. You’re already ahead of the game. Fitting in usually ends badly, anyway. All the times that you say no to things even though saying yes would make you fit in, will be something that you’ll be proud of your entire life. Remember, you’re going to be okay.
Hug Daddy more often. Hug him harder and listen to him more. Enjoy being with him. He’s the first man who loved you unconditionally. Do better showing him how much you love him too. The next time you hug him, do me a favor, would you? Take a minute to just breathe in the smell of Dad’s cologne and relax in the safety of his hugs. Then remind us to never, ever forget that moment.
Skip the typing class with the big clunky typewriters and the business class with the actual ledgers. Just trust me. It’s a total waste. I know you’ll want to take the class that most kids take, but go on and take that computer programming class instead. Just trustme on this one.
I know you told that guy Johnny “no” right before school started. And you did the right thing. He wasn’t the one, and it wasn’t right. (Uh, seriously, he ended up on something called Baywatch and no one ever heard his name again. Plus? That acne is not going to clear up on him for years. Which also means you probably just realized we’re still somewhat superficial.) My point is, you were right to say no to Johnny and you really should say no to Brad. You’re going to fall for him. And for a couple of years you’ll make him your world. But it will end, you’ll get your heart broken, and you’ll end up doing a lot of stupid things for a lot of stupid years because you won’t understand that it’s okay to just walk away when you have that first nagging feeling of it not being right. Which reminds me: Start listening to that feeling. Trust yourself. Stop pushing that feeling and that reaction down and moving forward in spite of it. Move in a different direction because of it.
This high school thing is not the best time of your life. It’s not even close. You’ve got a great deal ahead of you and you won’t even believe how you turn out. You have friends. You have great kids. You write all the time. It’s fantastic over here and you’ll be glad you made it to this place. You laugh. You go months without nightmares. You never really get over the whole birthday thing, but those friends I mentioned? They understand it. And they love you anyway.
You’re going to be okay.
We’re going to be okay.
I am okay.
Hang in there.
P.S. Let’s just try to love ourselves a little more, okay?
P.P.S. Oh, and that dress that your Aunt talks you into getting? That blue number with the lace collar? Just, no. No, no, no.
P.P.P.S. Hammer-Time is *not* going to last forever, so don’t get any of those pants, George Michael is gay, and save your money and buy all the stock you can in something called Google as soon as you can.
P.P.P.P.S. I KNOW! The George Michael thing seems so obvious after you look back at the old Wham! videos, right?