An Open Letter to My Past Self

Hi Amanda,

How ya doing, buddy? Things are probably normal for you right now, considering you’re going into the fifth grade in a little over a month. You think you’ve found your people and your place, but I’ve got something to tell you: you are wrong. You aren’t going to even talk to most of those people ever again, including your best friend. You will, however, find solace in some people you wouldn’t expect, like that one girl on your Math Olympiad team.

Actually, that girl will become one of your best friends.

But don’t get too excited, because you will eventually lose touch after high school, just like most other people. Don’t use that as an excuse to not get to know her, though, because people are worth your time, even if they won’t be a part of you forever.

Speaking of which, don’t worry so much about Mom and Dad. They will separate, get a divorce, and even date other people. You will learn that they aren’t perfect human beings, and that they aren’t happy together, but they still love you. Your life isn’t a lie, and people will change. Don’t blame their divorce on yourself—it had nothing to do with you.

And don’t use Mom and Dad’s separation as a reason to harden your heart. You may not experience romantic love for the rest of your teenaged years, or even your early 20’s, but you will experience different kinds of love from so many other people. Trust me on this. Give others the love you are capable of giving—you’ve got a lot of it to give.

Also, Mom and Dad will both find people who love them for everything that they are. Mom is going to have a harder time, but don’t worry about it too much. She’ll be just fine.

Realize that you and your siblings may be similar in some ways, but you are very different people. This will not necessarily ruin your relationships with them, but it will cause issues here and there. It will be okay. Your siblings are your best friends, even though you want to drag them by their hair sometimes. And stop letting what they say get to you so easily; they may be your biggest critics, but they don’t always mean it to hurt you. It will make you a stronger person.

You have got to stop comparing yourself to everybody: your siblings, cousins, friends, and strangers alike. No, you don’t have light eyes or straight hair, and that’s okay; not looking like everyone else makes you special. You will continue to get a lot of compliments about your hair for a very, very long time, so take good care of it.

Also, don’t let your weight get the best of you; we’ve wasted a lot of tears on those extra pounds. How much you weigh, or what you look like on the outside, does not define you. Who you are on the inside does.

Please, never fall out of love with music. It will save and heal you on many occasions. And so will dance, so please don’t give up on it. Dance your little heart out until your legs give out.

Write. Draw. Sketch. Design. Do everything that you love to do.

Say something when you’re screaming on the inside, but know that it will be very hard to find people to trust. Choose your words wisely.

In about a year or two, you’re going to read your first novel, and after that, you’re going to start reading the entire teen section in the public library. You are going to fall in love with it, and reading will change you for the better. It will make you smarter and broaden your horizons.

When you’re sixteen, you are going to finally meet a psychic. Years later, you will still question if she was an actual psychic, or just an alcoholic, but she will mention a couple things that you will keep in mind. Like how February 8th is somehow important.

A little before high school ends, Nanny is going to leave. She’s not going to be there when you get married, have kids, or even graduate. But spend as much time with her as you possibly can, and learn from her as much as you possibly can. Don’t forget to tell her that you love her.

Don’t forget that as you get older, so are Mom and Dad. Don’t hold grudges against them when they push you—they only want the best for you. Don’t forget to let them know that you love and appreciate them and everything they do for you.

Ask them questions. Ask Oma questions. Talk to her, and learn from her. Learn and find out everything that you want to know while you can.

Time is precious.

I’m sorry to break it to you, kid, but Princeton isn’t going to happen. (You’re going to give up on the whole prince thing at some point, too.) On the bright side, you will go to a small, private school for your first two years of college, and you will fall in love that place. You will meet some of the best people, and even a couple of soul mates. People you meet there will make you work hard, play harder, and laugh the hardest. You’re not going to graduate with them, but they will leave an imprint on your heart for a very long time.

I’m sorry to also break this to you, but your luck won’t change anytime soon; you won’t find a $100 bill in the middle of the street, or stop falling over your own two feet. You will, however, easily stroll through middle and high school. Everything will come easy to you then; you won’t have to study a day in your life until it’s time to take the SATs. But you will have to study in college, and you will learn this the hard way.

You have to work hard to get the things you want.

Remind yourself that family is important. You will get annoyed and angry at a lot of people, and you will hold grudges. Please work on that, by the way. Family is worth more than those stupid little fights, but also know that there are boundaries. Don’t give out too many chances to those who don’t deserve it. Family may be important, but know that it’s not the only thing you have. You also have integrity and self respect.

Everything will be okay, so please stop stressing the little things. Your perfectionist heart will never be satisfied, so work with what you have, and work for the things you want. Your family will expand, and you will be blessed enough to meet some amazing people soon. Do not do anything that you’ll regret, but please stop living in the shadows. It’s not worth it.

Stay true and stay weird. Don’t change for anybody besides yourself. You know better. And don’t shy away from things you want to do, okay? We both know that you like to question yourself.

I believe in you.

Eternally Yours,

Amanda


Prompt: Write a letter to the 10-year-old child you had been.

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