Dear Younger Self,
There are so many things that I wish I could have shown you before you had to live them for yourself, to spare you some of the heart-ache you are going to suffer; either at the hand of other people, or as a result of something stupid you will do. And I don’t want to frighten you, but girl, you are going to make a lot of asinine mistakes in the coming years.
I’m not going to say that I would point you in a different direction to the path you chose to take, because the paths you have taken in life have made you the person you are today; besides, you do have a lot of fun along the way. Anyway, I’d like to think you grew up to be a pretty good woman. A person who has learned some very hard lessons that I wish you could avoid, but as the old cliche goes (the 2nd one I’ve used in this paragraph), there is no going back.
I do however wish I could tell you not to fret about a lot of the stuff that is causing you anxiety, that I could share some of the confidence that you have now as an adult. Actually, I wish that you had been born with this confidence that comes easily now, after putting on such a good act, for so very long. It’s true what they say, if you fake something long enough you can make anyone believe it, even yourself.
I wish I could tell you as a young girl, to stop obsessing about your weight, teeth and skin. You aren’t overweight, stop comparing yourself to the other girls who are all much skinner than you. One day, when you have finished school you will see that you were not that unappealing and that as a 30-something year old, you've aged a lot better than most of the girls in your school. The boys who want those girls now will come to realise that you are someone worth getting to know but for them, it will be too late. You will eventually lose interest in them, and rightly so. And those boobs that you hate so much for bringing you the wrong kind of attention? You will learn to make peace with them and even grow to begrudgingly like them, even though buying clothes will never get easier. However moving to the UK (something I bet you think you will never have the courage to do) will be the best thing that could happen in regard to your boobs (amongst other things); the selection of bras, at very reasonable prices is much better than what you get in Canada. It’s not only the small busted that get matching bra sets in brilliant designs in the UK. It’s understood that big busted girls need la variety of choice too, at affordable prices. Oh, and you grow into your teeth, and although they aren’t perfect you learn to accept them too, and actually start to believe that they add character; You grow to admire people like Barbara Streisand, for not changing what so many others would. Perfection isn’t what you will strive for as an adult. Self-acceptance and a healthy lifestyle is much more important, trust me on this one.
At 13 you are a 140 pound, 5’7” girl with big breasts, not fat by any means; I wish you would stop comparing yourself to your sisters who are much, much thinner. You are built differently; maybe this has something to do with mom feeding you homogenised milk when you were a baby, but maybe not. It’s just what it is. And to this day, I’m still proud of you for standing up to your Aunt, the one who used to poke your belly while commenting on the fact that you should be skinnier (although that doesn’t happen for another five years). I just wish you wouldn’t let moments like those, and a few others, lead you down the road that you are going to take. I wish you were a stronger person (which isn’t fair, you are just a kid) because as a result of your insecurities, combined with more than one devastating event, you have a long hard battle in front of you that still hasn’t been completely resolved. I’m sorry for this. I really am. I feel like I’ve let you down.
If I could encourage you to do anything Young Self, it would be that you spend more time with your sisters, because now that you’ve outgrown playing barbies with them, you don’t have a lot of time for them; most of your time is taken up with your friends and pining after boys. You will be sorry about that when you are an adult, but the adult you knows deep in her heart that you aren’t a lot different to any other teenage girl; there will be time enough for becoming close friends, best friends even, with your sisters when you are fully grown.
Your obsession with boys and all things social isn’t doing you any favours at school either, but you can’t say you haven’t been told about that already. I have a sneaking suspicion that you wouldn’t listen to me anyway, no more than you listen to anyone else (you might be happy to know that some things will never change and younger you isn’t a whole lot different to older you… especially your brilliant sense of humour ;)
I wish you weren’t so interested in sex either… that you would forget about losing your virginity in a few years time, like so many of your friends. It’s much more important to find someone who really cares about you, but then again, that’s something you aren’t going to learn until after the fact. You eventually learn not to settle for less than you deserve. It will take time and you will have to go through a bit of heart-ache, but you do end up with someone worthy of your love, someone who has a bigger heart than any other guy you will ever meet, even though he tries to keep that a secret. Someone who is worth all your crushes combined. And you probably aren’t surprised to learn he lives abroad; but then again, maybe you are… I don’t think you develop your penchant for foreign men until you are at least 15 ;)
Younger self, you will go through a whole series of events in your life, some that will really test you. But you will get tougher as the years go on. You are going to make some hard decisions, some that will trouble you for longer than you expect, but you will be ok. You have always had the capacity to make friends with ease, and that hasn’t changed. I bet you aren’t surprised to learn that some of the friends you have now will still be your friends in 25 years. Amazing eh? Time, distance or life hasn’t gotten in the way of those true friendships.
Right now you probably aren’t thinking past the weekend and what you will be doing, which will likely be spending it at your best friends house, hoping to see Stephen Chaisson, whom you have had a crush on for far too long; hoping that this might be the weekend where you end up in the dark with him for ten minutes. (Although now that I look back, I really can’t understand how that boy held your attention for so long.) Troy Pennell, him I can understand. He was a great guy, and in another few months, you will transfer your attention to him for a short period. I’ll let you in on another secret; in grade 12 you actually make out with him one evening after a party, even though you have long outgrown your junior high crush. I’m telling you, things start looking a lot brighter by high school.
What I guess I'm trying to say, is that all in all you are a typical, albeit naive (although many adults comment on how mature you are) 13 year old girl. Although I know you look forward to growing up, I wish in some ways I could go back there with you, if only to be that dreamy girl again; or maybe just to whisper some answers in your ear.
(I apologise for the length of this post, yet I highly recommend this project to my fellow bloggers - writing it was very therapeutic.)