Dear 16-year-old me

Dear 16 year old me,

Hello there.  It’s me, fourteen years later.  I know you have it in you to believe it.  After all, once upon a time, I was you.  You believe in so much magic but you don’t believe that any of it can ever happen to you.  Why is that?  I know why.  It’s because you are afraid.  I remember the fear of those long ago days, the stink of it is never far from my memory, though I would like to give a big heave and push it off a big cliff.  I wouldn’t look away before it crashed to the ground – oh, no – I’d take major satisfaction of watching and hearing the crash.  Goodbye, fear.  Wasn’t nice knowing you.

Would you do me a favor?  Once a week, would you write a letter to Mersie?  She loves you so much and you’re not going to have as much time with her as you would like.  She’s starting to get sick.  And you know how every time you see her, she asks you to write to her.  So do it.  Don’t be afraid of having nothing to tell her.  Just telling her you love and miss her if nothing else comes to mind.  It’s what’s important, and someday, when you can’t tell her those things, you will know you did all you could for her, to make her happy in this life.

And as for school, well, there’s really no reason to be afraid of it.  It’s just school, after all.  Soon, this thing called high school will be nothing but a memory.  I know you already cherish your friends, but also, don’t take them for granted.  And don’t be afraid.  They’ll still be here for you when you are thirty.  I know how awful it feels when a teacher tells you class to break up into groups, and in a blink of an eye, you’re the only one whose desk hasn’t moved.  It’s totally embarrassing when that same teacher has to ask a group to include you too, I know.  You just want to earth to open up and swallow you whole.  But it’s not everything.  I know it may seem like it is, but it’s not.  Look around you.  Someday, these people are going to grow up, and you will grow up too.  High school will be a memory, and you’re all be, more or less, friends.

You will go to college, first at the local community college and then away at university to get your Bachelor of Arts.  Can you do me a favor here?  Can you major in Philosophy instead of English, and minor in Creative Writing?  The English major required classes are mostly boring.  Who needs to read Old English in this day and age?  Most of the required reading is really hard to read, hard to get into.  I know you will have a bad philosophy 101 experience at the community college, but stick with it.  Research accommodations the disability center has to offer, and know to ask for a transcriber right off the bat.  This will change your whole education.  Trust me.

The year after you graduate from college will be spent in pain.  The rod the doctors fused to your spine two years ago will be breaking down, and you need to get it fixed sooner rather than later.  In fact, just tell them to fuse the whole dang thing while you’re at it.  It will save you some time, back pain,  and it will save you from the pain of falling down the stairs a couple times.  This surgery will prompt your parents to build an extension to the house so you can have a room on the main floor.  By the time you get your dog in 2008, you will already have a back door and stoop, so you can go out with her.  It will save you frustration, believe me.

And my last piece of advice is to WRITE!  Start a blog when you’re recovering from the surgery, to help get you through the antagonizing summer and fall that follows.  You will be bored otherwise.  Write short stories.  Write screenplays.  Write a novel.  Just write.  Enter contests.  Send stuff to publishers and literary agents.  Don’t worry about what comes after.  I tell you this because I am still afraid of it.  Just go with the flow.  Trust God.  Above all else, TRUST GOD.  You’ll get to where you need to be when the time comes.

Love, Me

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