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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 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 61: You Will Get Through Everything

25 Jul

Lisa Marie writes:

Dear me at 15,

The Author at 15

Although you may not think so now, you are going to get through the obstacles in your life. As you are, sitting all alone late at night in the children’s ward at Oldham Hospital. Sure, you’re in a lot of pain now. But what do you expect? You’ve had surgery on your hip today.

Just remember who was there for you. Yes, you know who I’m talking about. Your best friend. The best friend who you say now will be your best friend forever. I know you think nothing will ever come between you both. You have all these thoughts in your head. That you will always be as close as you are at this very moment. Like sisters. I wish I could tell you that you will always be this close.

But I can’t. I can’t lie to you. That temper you hate about your Dad? Well I’m sorry to tell you, but you’ve inherited it too. That temper will get you into so much bother as you get older. Not only with friends, but men as well. Please don’t bottle things up. Don’t only see the black and white in life.

I will give you some hope. At 27 years old (as I write this letter to you) you will have a better understanding of the person you want to be. It’s not going to be an easy  ride, let me tell you. But everything that happens in your life after today will shape you into the women you want to be. I hate that I can’t warn you about certain places to avoid. I truly do. You will probably hate me for it.  Just trust me. Trust that I know you will get through everything life throws at you.

Here is my last piece of advice: In the time you are recovering from this operation you will get some great enjoyment out of writing your stories. Trust me when I tell you to keep writing. It will help you so much over the years.

Now, put this letter down and get some sleep. You have physio in the morning. It’s gonna hurt like hell, but you need to do it. Go to sleep.

Lisa Marie has a blog ‘Inside My Head’ (www.insidelisamarieblog.blogspot.com) You can also follow her on twitter (http://twitter.com/#!/lisa_m_miller) She values her close friends like an extension to her family.

___________________

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


Letter 59: Get Off The Elevator

14 Jul

Dear me at 13,

You’re pressing the “close elevator” button as quickly as your little fingers can manage.

“1,2,3,4,5,1,2,3,4,5,1,2,3,4,5…” you count the pushes in your head as you plead with the doors to shut already. People are taking their seats. The ceremony is about to begin. You’re not quite sure where you plan to ride this elevator, but if it doesn’t take you there soon, you’re considering scaling the shaft yourself through the emergency exit. Anything to get you out of here.

Me at 13

As the doors begin to close you can feel the hot sting of tears in your eyes. You’re trying to keep them in there so they don’t smear the makeup that you don’t know how to fix.

You’re standing in the elevator of the Beth Tikvah Synagogue in North York, Ontario. Today is David L.’s Bar Mitzvah, and somewhere between the coat check room in the basement and the main floor you were dumped by your boyfriend of a week and a half.

He said his friends thought you were too controlling and that he needed some time to be single. How you could possibly be controlling through the course of a week and a half in which you only saw each other at school and talked on the phone twice is beyond me (and you). But the ridiculous nature of his logic doesn’t take away from the hurt you’re feeling right now.

Tonight was supposed to be a really big deal. Everyone cool was coming to this Bar Mitzvah. Everyone cool was coming with a date. In fact, coming here with a date was the single largest factor in being considered cool in the first place. For the last week and a half, your life has been consumed with planning for this evening. The dress. The hair. The makeup. Standing in front of the mirror twirling and smiling. Practicing your “Mazel Tov”s so as to sound as authentic as a nerdy suburban shiksa can.

When he first asked you out, you were nearly too shocked to accept. I mean, he was one of the popular boys. One of the boys all the other girls liked. One of the boys who generally didn’t give you the time of day unless they were publicly ridiculing your clothing or your straight A grades. How or why he would come to the conclusion that he wanted to date you was a complete and total mystery. You somehow managed to get your words together and accept.

Instantly, your social standing changed. People who had intentionally avoided you but moments before were now clamouring for your attention. Heads turned as you walked through the hallways. And not in the “Now’s the perfect time to stick the ‘Kick Me’ sign on her back” kind of way you had typically experienced. You could sense your peers re-evaluating your worth.

It was wonderful. You felt as if, for the first time, your classmates were actually understanding who you were. Like they were finally catching onto what you had known about yourself all along. You started to imagine what the remainder of your Junior High career might be like if you could just keep this up. And it felt as though a gigantic weight had been lifted from your shoulders.

And now, travelling in that rickety elevator to goodness-knows-where, that weight is resting firmly once again, although now in the pit of your stomach. You are terrified to face your classmates. To face the popular girls. To face him. You don’t want to leave that elevator, but you know you can’t ride it forever. Your parents might worry. You’ll need to eat eventually.

Here is the thing: This situation is a perfect example of how fickle the popular 13-year-old crowd can be. Kids go from A List to D List and back again in a span of days. And they even do it to themselves! Amanda S. might be popular today, but believe it or not, in a few months, one of her fellow clique members will start a rumour about a naughty dream and her stocks will plummet too.

If I were you, I wouldn’t put so much weight on being accepted by people incapable of acceptance. They are 13. They’re hormonal. They’re insecure. You are an old soul. And deep down inside, you know you’re way beyond this. You will grow up into a successful person who loves her life, who has amazing friends and an incredible family (including a super hot husband, by the way! Yipee!).

The bad news is: You have to exit the elevator. The good news is: This Bar Mitzvah only lasts one night. And you’re already part way through. As your Dad always said, “By this time tomorrow, it will be what it was”. So wipe your eyes, straighten your hair, march on into the sanctuary and watch your classmate become a Man.

And if the popular girls ask any questions, just tell them you’re glad to be single again. After all, he was pretty controlling anyway.

_________________________

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

*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!

*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!