Wednesday, October 1, 2014

My Ten Year Old Self.

Today in my teenage angst, I write myself a letter.

My favorite stationery shop held an event that encouraged shoppers to stop and write a letter to their ten year old selves. I missed the event itself, but I feel like my heart, mind, and readers could have benefitted from the exercise. So I'm going to do it on my own.

Dear Hannah at ten years old,

Listen to me child. It is absolutely fine that your favorite outfit consists of offbrand tear-away pants and that strange sweatshirt that features Elmo and Grover (or was it Cookie Monster) hanging out above the beloved (?) Tommy Hilfiger flag. Wear it with pride, my friend, for you in it you
are comfortable, and happy. That is the best kind of outfit, and one that truly works. 

Within the next few years, you will feel, with increasing frequency, those uncomfortable feelings of terror that accompany everyday experiences. It's okay. This is called anxiety, and I want you to know that however you ennact that anxiety is entirely acceptable. What's not okay, though, is thinking that it's normal. It's not. It can be fixed. But you're going to have to ask for help. Feeling scared and sick all the time, isn't something that I want you to have to deal with, and while I understand that we would be an entirely different person if I had gotten help sooner, it's not something I want you to have to deal with.

I want you to stop comparing yourself to people. I know you don't even really know you that you do this yet, but you'll eventually become aware and wish you could stop. I want you to start realizing now that everyone is someone. Everyone is wonderful, and everyone is scared. Your feelings are not unique, so stop feeling so alone. Share. Believe me when I say that Karlie really does like you. The harder you try to make that true, the less she will be able to stand you. But don't worry, the two of you are still besties.

Stop planning your wedding. Despite the fact that you go to like twelve every year, stop imagining what yours is going to be like. The best part of a wedding is what comes after: marriage. Start focusing on that. Yes, calla lilies are really nice. You won't want them in fifteen years. 

Get to know yourself, Hannah, in every possible way. Experience all that you can. Listen closely, and read carefully. Read. This is a big one, considering the place we end up. Read widely. Read critically. Read for pleasure and for pain. Read what makes you laugh and that which has the power to elicit tears. Make lists and lists and lists of your favorite books. Own them all. It's worth it. Just read. 

I'll see you soon, Han. I love you. I hope you love us too. 

Love, Hannah at twenty-seven

P.S. Be nicer to mom. She's not doing anything wrong. You're not an easy pre-teen. 

P.P.S. DO NOT change your writing style next year. It will curse you for all future writing experiences.

P.P.P.S You're a giant weirdo. You're going to spend a lot of time in your teen years trying not to be one. Don't expend the energy. It's one of the best things you've got going for you.