Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Dear 16 Year Old Self
Dear 16 Year Old Dawn,
What can I tell you that you don’t think you already know?
Because you’re certain you already know everything–don’t you?
You sometimes give yourself a lot of credit. You sometimes think you know it all. You a lot of the time are not self assured and always second guess yourself.
But there is so much you have to learn.
And there is so much I wish I could tell you,
to give you some perspective on what is about to happen in your life,
to help prepare you. But, that's life after all. You learn as you go.
I remember you at this age all too well.
You live your life through the songs you hear on the radio,
taping them on your 'boom box' and replaying them until every lyric of every verse
is running through your veins.
Duran Duran's Rio,
Adam Ant's Goody Two Shoes
The Eurythmics Sweet Dreams.
You’re a hopeless romantic,
but you don’t hesitate to break someones heart.
And I wish I could go back in time and change that about you,
help teach you about the delicate nature of the human heart.
But you won’t understand that until
your own heart gets broken.
You're called fickle. And you always want the wrong boy.
In so many ways you are a “typical” teenage girl,
music, make up, big hair. You love the mall and talking like
a valley girl. You plaster magazine pictures of models all
over your walls. You take every love quiz in every magazine you
can get your hands on.
But there is also something about you that is different,
some part of you that doesn’t fit with what people see on the outside.
On the inside you are a mess. You're lost and unsure.
You try hard, Dawn–and for that I am proud.
Try harder to break out of your shell. Try harder to stand on your
own instead of trying to stay in that mold. Try harder to respect
yourself more. Try harder to be a role model instead of a mess.
Don't try to be a bad ass.
Don't try to destroy yourself so much.
Pay attention in Spanish.
Say thank you to your teachers daily.
Don’t be afraid to speak up.
You worry too much,
especially about things you have no control over.
I wish I could tell you that this would change as you get older,
but it doesn’t.
So, just try your best to enjoy the moment,
instead of focusing on the future.
Because in your future, you’ll spend a lot of time looking back
On that day you realized just how small your little world was
and the bubble you had been living inside of burst.
When you’re older, you’ll still remember the feeling
and the sound of the applause at the football game you danced
with your drill team while on crutches. I was proud of you that day.
You’ll remember the late night talks,
and slumber parties,
and pep rallies
and the boy who stole your heart while you were unaware.
Sometimes I wonder how different things would have been for you,
if you had known then what you know now.
Like if only you had known how strong you really are.
If only you had known how far you could have gone.
If only you had known that you would find the most happiness in the simple things like baby giggles, summer BBQ’s and cuddling on the couch.
If only you had known that you don't have to make such sacrifices to be a grown up.
I wish I could tell you to be a better example,
to do certain things differently,
to change some parts of who you were.
But that would be asking you to re-write your history.
A history that has resulted in the life you have today,
the life that makes you happy.
And all I want is for you to be happy.
I want to tell you to make yourself happy. Make yourself proud. Find that spine that I know you have.
So I guess the best advice I can give you is:
the best version of YOU
and stay true to YOU
even in the face of criticism,
because not everyone will support you,
and that’s just fine.
42 year old Dawn
p.s. Just wait until you see yourself in your beautiful daughters.