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*GUEST SUBMISSION* Letter 65: He’s Not Worth It

6 Sep

Bay writes:

Dear me at 16,

I know you are lonely.

The Author at 16

I know it’s hard that your 16th year, the year you envisioned as being perfect, didn’t turn out anything like you thought it would.

I know it’s not easy that the guy you had crushed on for two years was finally interested in you… but he turned out to be something of a loser.

I know it’s hard that deciding not to date him killed your social life and left you out of the group you had so much fun with.

I know it’s killing you that your best friend, the one who’s more like a sister, is making some terrible decisions that are ruining her life and putting some serious distance between the two of you.

I know.

But please, don’t reply. I know it’s exciting that he just IM’d you, the boy who lives across the country, the one who you haven’t talked to in months and never really knew very well in the first place. I know you secretly thought he was pretty cool last year at competition, and that you may have even had a mini crush on him. I know everyone talked about how much he loved your friend, and you couldn’t help be a teensy bit jealous.
I know.

I know it’s amazing that he’d decide to talk to you out of nowhere, for no real reason, just because he saw your profile online. I know he’s funny, and intelligent, and complimentary right to the edge of being flirty, something you’re completely new to.

I know that no guy has ever really told you that you were pretty before, except the creeper who was way older than you and semi-stalked you a few months ago. I know that everytime you get online the two of you come up with hilarious plans to take over the world and run for president and build a chocolate factory and a million other things.

I know.

I know that he will mention he doesn’t have your number, and you’ll be all to eager to give it to him. I know that in future months you’ll text 24/7 and talk on the phone whenever you get the chance. I know that he will only seem to get better, funnier, smarter, more mature, the whole nine yards. I know that you will meet up again at competition and that the week will be incredible, everything you had wished it was last year. You will talk and laugh and flirt and sit next to each other all the time and be talked about as a ‘couple’.

I know it will be one of the most exciting things you’ve experienced to finally have a ‘boyfriend’, even if nobody knows and it is just over the phone.

But please, stop it now while you can. If he really loved you, he wouldn’t ever ask you to do or talk about things that make you extremely uncomfortable. Ever.

If he really wanted to commit with you, he wouldn’t break it off every few weeks to think about it, then start all over again, jerking your heart around mercilessly.

If he really wanted only the best for you, he wouldn’t be averse to telling your parents. He would have no problem talking to your dad and making it a serious relationship.

And honey, let me tell you from this end, if he really loved you, when the secret came out and everything came crashing down, he would have stuck by you. He wouldn’t have cut it off forever without making any effort to fix things with you and your family.

So here you are, on the eve of your seventeenth birthday, a lonely girl with the exciting prospect of a new friendship and maybe something more. I know how hopeful you are dear, but please. Don’t give him your whole heart. Don’t plan your whole future around him. Don’t cut off ties to friends an family because of him.

He’s not worth it.

Bay is a cynical romantic who spends her time reading, writing, and dazzling the world with her sparkling wit. You can find her rambling’s at Bay285.blogspot.com, where she continues to write even though no-one is reading. She loves comments!

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*GUEST SUBMISSION* Letter 64: Get Ready

22 Aug

Erin writes:

Dear me at 16,

The Author at 16

Ah, the Erin of 1996. I’m writing because this is the last year of life as you know it. I don’t say that to scare you. Most of the changes are for the better, actually. I hate to post spoilers (you’ll figure out what that means later, when the Internet is far more prevalent in your life), but you know how you always wanted a baby brother or sister? Well, get ready. I know that you feel like a mature adult at this age, but while you’re not as silly as a lot of kids in your class, you’ve still got a lot of growing up ahead of you, and it’s going to come at you fast and seemingly from out of nowhere. Never fear, though, because thirty year-old future Erin is here to help.

First of all, stop worrying about your figure. You’re gorgeous. Trust me, in a few years you’d kill to have abs and thighs like you do now. Right now, you hear the term “late bloomer” and want to throw something heavy and breakable across the room, but unfortunately, sweetie, that’s exactly what you are. You will have boobs one day, I promise. They’ll show up around your twenty-eighth birthday, along with hips and a few gray hairs. Until then, suck it up, buy a padded bra and enjoy that jack-rabbit metabolism God gave you.

In a few weeks, you’re going to start taking voice lessons. You had to work really hard to prove to Mom and Dad that this wasn’t just a fleeting whim (like ballet, baton, colorguard, I could go on…), and you’re going to have to maintain a good record of rehearsing to get to keep taking lessons. You don’t know it, but they’re sacrificing a lot for you to have this opportunity. Rest assured, though, that all the effort and dedication are going to be worth it. Singing isn’t just your latest phase; it’s what will come to define you as an adult, and will afford you experiences you can’t even dream of at this point in your life. In other words, stop rolling your eyes at Dad when he asks if you’ve practiced for a whole hour.

Speaking of parents, you don’t realize it now, but you have two of the most amazing people raising you. You take for granted the fact that Mom and Dad will always support you in whatever you choose to do, even if they don’t necessarily approve of it. They treat you like an adult, and the house (and fridge) is always open to your friends. You don’t have the slightest clue how uncommon that is, or how lucky you are. Maybe you could thank them on occasion? Frozen pizzas don’t grow on trees, you know.

Friday night, look around at the friends sitting beside you on the couch. Most of these kids will grow into the adults who will be there for you for the rest of your life. You’ll forget most of your classmates’ names, but that hippie-chick, cynical braniac, and the slightly neurotic fellow that brings his own snacks will stick around. Right now, the most you are concerned about is which movie to make fun of, but together, you’ll help each other through anything life can throw at you. The many miles between you make visits rare, but you’ll always pick up where you left off, and you’ll always have each others’ backs. Treasure these kids. The bond you share as a group is both unusual and completely wonderful. There’s also one girl not on the couch. Her house is a little too far away, but she’s been at every birthday party since you were four. Your parents actually had it down to the minute how long you could play together before a fight broke out. She will not only be your best friend, but your surrogate sister. The Robin to your Lily (you’ll totally get that when you’re older). Don’t take her for granted, either. She’s better than that.

Lastly, and I really hate to throw this in because it’s a downer and you’ll totally freak out: dance with your daddy. He always asks, and you always say no. You’re embarrassed. You’ll dance with him on your wedding day. Well, I hate to break it to you, but no, you won’t, and you’ll really want to. Do it now while you still can. Life is way too damn short for regret.

I do want to congratulate you, sweetheart. You have learned at sixteen what many adults I know haven’t figured out: your self worth. You’ve already noticed that there are a lot of small-minded people who, for whatever reason, won’t like you. You’ve also come to the realization that their dislike is not personal. There’s not a problem with you. There’s a problem with them. This is one of the single-most important lessons you can learn, and I am so proud of you for understanding this at an age where many kids would fall apart at the idea of someone disliking them. Life is full of rejection, especially with the career path you’re going to choose. Of course, the understanding doesn’t make the rejection any less painful, but it will make it easier to overcome. This realization will also make you a stronger, more determined person, because you will have to work doggedly for every accomplishment. Nothing will be handed to you, and you’ll be better for it. Love your family, cherish your friends, but above all, to thine own self be true.

Much love,
Me

P.S. Buffy, the television series. Watch it. The first episode is horrible and nothing like the movie, and you’ll want to turn it off, but it really does get a lot better.

Erin is a singer/actor/filmmaker living in Mobile, AL with her husband, Thomas, and two ill-tempered parakeets. This photo, taken during a friend’s “art photo” phase, was found in the bottom of her closet, beneath a very cute skeleton named Herbie. When she’s not performing, she runs a pop culture-beauty blog, www.adorablenapalm.blogspot.com

*GUEST SUBMISSION* Letter 63: Just Breathe

8 Aug

Hayley writes:

Dear me at 16,

The Author (centre) at 16

First of all chica, breathe. Just breathe. I know how stressful things are right now with school, and at home. But your life is amazing and will only continue to be so. I know right now you want to run away from everything, but you can’t. I promise you, it will get better, it always does.

Second of all, way to go with swimming and your social life! Your grades may be horrible right now, (will touch on that in a second…) but you are in the best shape of your life from swim team, and you’re becoming best friends with the girls who’ll become your soul sisters.

We all make mistakes, but yours are so fresh that you can fix them, and you should. Your boyfriend (#1) right now, he is fun. I’ll admit that, and he is hilarious, and creative, and you wont regret letting him into your life. You guys wont last much longer though, which is okay. You get to be friends with boy #1 later on in life. So I’m going to tell you to stop it while it’s still early.

I know you hear this all the time from Dad, Mom, Richard, and Kate. You don’t work to your potential.

Girlfriend, you are so smart, so fun, and so creative. You don’t do your homework, (for numerous reasons) but your test scores are high. You have awesome friends, and your teachers and parents are willing to help you. Let them help you. I know you wont believe this, but next year, you’ll get a 4.25 on your report card.  You’re thinking about Graphic Design and Advertising. I would tell you to pursue it, but it’s okay if you don’t. You can’t even image where I am right now writing this letter…better than any Ad agency.

Please be nice to Dad. If you take anything away from this, let that be it. You’re starting to not get along, and it’s only going to get worse, and your relationship is going to be different. You’re going to go through so much in the next 5 years and some of the things you do, anyone else would regret. But the only thing you regret, is hurting your relationship with Dad. Guess what, I know you wont believe this, but your parents…they’re always right. And they love you, even though you sometimes think they don’t. They love you so much, and you need to make sure that they know how much you love them. The guilt you feel when you guys fight doesn’t go away, ever.

You’re in a really dark place right now.  But just remember, you have Laycee, you have Courtney, and you have this one boy, who you are in love with. He’s Boy #2, but you don’t know it yet. Soon, your friendship will turn into flirting in art class, and your flirting in art class will turn into a relationship, and he is so good for you.  Just go for it already! I promise it will be worth it.

You’re probably reading this right now in your bedroom, while coloring, and listening to The Killers (which is still your favorite band, and yes, they still rock). You’re rolling your eyes at all of this, and I’m sorry I’m telling you what to do. We always have been a little bossy. So, stop crying, go eat some string cheese, finish up all of your late homework, and watch Mean Girls for the 58th time with Courtney. While you’re doing all of this,  text your Dad, and say sorry.

Hayley is a typical young twenty-something studying International Studies in California. She just returned from a year abroad in Germany and is figuring out  where her next move in life will take her. You can check out her blog at: www.seehayfly.blogspot.com

*GUEST SUBMISSION* Letter 58: It’s Not Always Awful

11 Jul

The Author at 17

Katie writes:

Dear me at 17,

I know how miserable you are right now. You’ve just dropped out of high school. All of your friends deserted you after a slew of rumors were passed around the school. Your heart was broken by so many boys you’ve lost count.

You’re feeling useless, unwanted and forgotten.

I remember that feeling. Not understanding why you’re feeling so depressed. Confused about how people could treat you so cruelly. Trying to find some reason why these injustices were done to you. Wondering what you did wrong.

But I’m here to tell you that you did nothing wrong. The boys are just immature jerks who don’t know the extent of the harm they have done. Your friends don’t realize yet how much you need them or how much they in turn need you.

And most of all, you are not a failure for dropping out. I know it feels that way. And it will for a very long time. But I don’t think it was a mistake.

You are a very smart young woman. Never doubt that. You have enough imagination and creativity to accomplish anything you set your mind to. You are talented in so many ways and you can use those gifts to the benefit of so many people, including yourself.

I don’t want to ruin the future for you. But I will give you a few helpful and hopeful tips.

Don’t be afraid to work. It is the most rewarding thing you can do for yourself. Be dedicated to the things you try, work hard and you will be astonished at the things you will accomplish.

Not all men are jerks. There are so many that are, so be wary. Remember your experiences so far and they will serve you well. However, do not lock your heart away or be afraid to love. There are quite a few good men as well, and you’ll want to be able to give them your heart when the opportunity presents itself.

Take chances. Don’t be afraid to do something because you are afraid you will fail. Setbacks are a part of life. But if you hide yourself away you will never experience anything.

Don’t be afraid to be yourself. Don’t strive to be anyone else. The sooner you learn this, the quicker you realize how wonderful you are when you are just being you; the easier life will be. Don’t live for anyone else. Don’t strive to be what others want you to be. Just be you. You’re wonderful.

And most of all, remember that you are loved. You are so lucky to have people in your life that will never leave you. Your family is your greatest support, and they will always be there for you.

Life won’t always be easy and there is a lot that I don’t know yet. But I’ll tell you that it’s not all hard. It’s not all mean. It’s not all scary. There are so many good times ahead of you.

Don’t let yourself get lost in this hard time.

But then, I already know that you are stronger than you think you are. Trust me.

And one peek at the future: You’re very happy.

The Author Today

Katie is the writer of Simply Kate. She is exploring her life in Las Vegas, is currently editing her first novel, has a wonderful boyfriend and is very happy.

________________

If you liked this post, you’ll surely love this one and this one!

The Cafeteria: Hindsight Letters Pilot Podcast

26 Jun

Hi Everyone!

Earlier this week I announced some very exciting news regarding The Hindsight Letters producing a Pilot for The CBC. Today, a portion of the pilot will be featured on a wonderful show called Tapestry that airs on CBC Radio 1. Follow the link to be brought to Tapestry’s website, where you can find air times as well as download a podcast of the show. Or you can visit the CBC website to access the online streaming. Thanks again so much to The CBC and particularly to Nicola Luksic for including The Hindsight Letters in the broadcast.

The full Pilot can be found below. Big Thank You’s to former HL team member Brianna Goldberg for hosting and co-producing, as well as to Ari Weinberg for sharing his story with us in such an engaging and dynamic way. I would love to hear any feedback you might have. Press “play” and enjoy!

-Kyra

*GUEST SUBMISSION* Letter 54: Be The One Who Got Away

13 Jun

Emily writes:

Dear me at 15,

The Author at 15

Your tan skin amplifies your slim, petite build and the darkness of long brown locks. Wisps of hair falling over your face highlight the green flecks of your hazel eyes. You don’t realize the boys think you’re cute. You think you will never have a serious boyfriend. And yet, you’ve set your sights on the coveted one, the one as brass and obnoxious as the trumpet he carries across the marching field. Your competitive drive and overwhelming desire to be liked, clouds your judgment, hinders your ability to listen to your intuition, and confuses obsession with love. When He finally asks you out, you are elated, but I beg of you, say no.

Do not go out with him, not once. He is unstable, aggressive and overly dramatic. He is driven by power and control. He will embarrass and belittle you in public, and then cry apologies privately, promising that he will never act that way again. Until the next time. He confides in you that his father beats his mother, and you will pity him, even justify his behavior. You foolishly think you can heal and protect him some how. But, you will soon start to believe that you are ugly and fat and ask permission to wear certain clothes, spend time with friends or participate in school events for fear of any repercussions of going against his will. He will isolate you. He will openly flirt with other girls in front of you, and then accuse you of being unfaithful.

Your spirit will be so broken, that you will put yourself in dangerous situations just to prove your love. He will push you to do things that are humiliating and against your will, and yet you will not tell anyone. You will stay silent because you believe him when he says, “This is your fault. You made me do this”. But you do not have to live that way. There are people that care about you, and they are not fooled by the sudden weight loss and dark circles under your eyes. They suspect that you did not trip on the stairs or are not too sick to meet them at the movies. They just don’t know how to confront you, plus they are scared of him too. After all, he is popular.

As hard as it will be, you need to find your voice. Don’t give him the opportunity to determine how you see yourself or what kind of value you place on your life. Don’t let him steal almost a year and manipulate years more by planting the notion that “you aren’t good enough”. Let him be in awe of your strength and character at 15. Be the one that got away, not the one He got away with.

I want you to know that you are smart, beautiful, well-liked and incredibly talented. Your heart is kind and unassuming. People find your humor delightful, your outlook on life inspiring and your ability to love refreshing. Years will be full of healthy relationships, when you take back your life. Just remember to love yourself.

The Author Today

Emily is a wife and mother who spends most of her time raising two daughters to be powerful, amazing women both physically and emotionally. Her blog is a place to document her life, and hopefully inspire others to be the best wife, mother and woman that they can possibly be. Her blog can be found at: http://mypajamadays.com/

_____________________

If you liked this post, you’ll surely love this one and this one!

Letter 53: You’re Not Knocked Up

6 Jun

Dear me at 15:

Believe me. You’re not pregnant.

No, really. I can tell you with 100% certainty that you are not with child.

You see, the funny thing about getting pregnant is that you need to have sex for it to happen. And, given the fact that you’re still a virgin, I’d say you’re in the clear.

Now, if only we could convince your Mom.

You’ve been with your first love for a couple of months now. Things have started to get kind of hot and heavy. Hot and heavy in a 15-year-old, no-time-alone, grinding-on-the-couch-in-the-moments-when-your-parents-leave-the-room kind of way. And apparently, love must be in the air because your Mother (bless her heart) has picked up on the scent and is hot on your trail. She is convinced that you are pregnant and has even staged an intervention in the hopes of convincing you to confess your sins.

The trouble being, of course, that you really don’t have any.

Sure, there’s been some making out. You’ve been inching towards second base. But your plan was to stay there for a while. Hang out. Get comfortable. Practice a little. Wait for a while until maybe you might feel confident enough to slide into third. We’re a long way from a home run here.

But something funny has happened. Amidst all this pregnancy speculation, your period- normally arriving like clockwork- is nowhere to be found. You noticed at 3 days late. You got a little spooked by 5. Right now, you’re sitting at about a week and a half and you are officially convinced that your uterus is the vehicle for the world’s second only immaculate conception. You have images in your mind of teensy little spermies jumping through layers of clothing, crawling around folds of skin and creating an unwanted teen mom type baby situation inside your womb. You are Freaking Out.

You are freaking out so much that you have convinced your friend (who will go on to become a contributor to this blog!) to accompany you to the teen crisis centre to do a pregnancy test. You cry your way there. You cry your way through a very awkward appointment (right out of “Mermaids”) in which you confess to the counsellor that, although you are not sexually active, you are nearly certain that you are pregnant. God bless her for humouring you. You pee on the stick and wait.

Your life is flashing before your eyes right now. You’re trying to picture yourself pushing a stroller into biology class and nursing in the middle of the library. You’re telling yourself how stupid you are for having done anything sexual with your boyfriend. You’re telling yourself how wrong that was. What a terrible person you are for letting that happen. And for (sin of all sins!) wanting it to happen.

Honey! Let me take a moment to say here: There is nothing wrong with wanting to experiment. It’s totally and completely natural. It’s not wrong or gross. Wanting that doesn’t make you a bad girl, a sinner, a slut, and it doesn’t mean that you’ve got a one-way ticket to hell like you think.

I know, I know. It’s a (very) controversial thing to say. But really. You love your boyfriend. You both are monogamous. He’s a great guy. Sweet, considerate, gentle, respectful. You’ll be with him for the next three years (which might as well be eternity in teen time). It’s totally natural to want to fool around. And as long as you’re safe, cautious, and with someone you care deeply about, go for it at your own pace and don’t beat yourself up about it.

Now, I can’t stress here how important it is to be safe. STD’s and pregnancies are very real things that happen all the time. It’s not just stuff that happens to “that girl” or “in this type of situation”. You will eventually learn (though thankfully as an adult) that having a baby is an ENORMOUS responsibility that changes EVERYTHING in your life. Seriously. EVERYTHING. It’s not for the faint of heart. It’s not something you want to do any time soon. Believe me.

Having said that, I can now reassure you that everything is going to be totally fine. The lady will come back into the little room and tell you that the test came back negative. You will experience a rush of relief followed by an even larger rush of embarrassment and a strong desire to run out of said lady’s office screaming.

The good news is you’re not knocked up. The even better news is that you’re not a bad person. You’re just a normal person.

And so, the next time you find yourself grinding on the couch while your Mom is making cole slaw upstairs, just remember to be safe. Be cautious. Take everything at your own pace. Be thankful that you had this experience, because it taught you a very valuable lesson: Immaculate conceptions can really make a mess of things.

____________________

If you liked this Letter, you’ll surely love this one and this one!