Tag Archives: friendship

*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!

*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 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 55: Being A Teenager Is Awesome

20 Jun

Dear me at 15,

I’m writing you this letter to tell you about an epiphany I had a few nights ago:

Being a teenager is awesome.

Now, I know this sounds contradictory to all the Letters I’ve written to you prior to this one. And it kind of is. Most of my Letters have been addressing all of the anxieties, grievances, confusion and general turmoil that tends to accompany one’s adolescence. But I’m here to tell you that there’s actually a whole lot of awesomeness that’s involved in being your age. And I want for you to recognize it and take advantage of it before it’s too late.

You see, the other night, I was downstairs in your future kitchen, having just put your future daughter to bed. It was one of the first hot days of summer, and the sky had that wonderful warm glow that happens just after the sun sets. I myself was settling down for the evening; teeth brushed, jammies on. But looking at that summer sky, I was overcome with a feeling of anticipation. Excitement. Freedom.

Something about that summer night sky sent me right into a full-force teenaged summer flashback. I was right back into your life again.

I was putting on my makeup and my cutest little punk rock outfit with Amy in the upstairs bathroom of my parents’ house. I was taking the Don Mills bus down to Cliffwood Park. I was singing Sublime into the wee small hours with a 40 oz of Cherry Wine Cooler in my hand and not a care in the world. I was relishing in time wasted without responsibilities, surrounded by friends, feeling the warm summer breeze on my skin. Enjoying the first real kisses with my first real love. Laughing and dancing and falling down.

And as much as I tried to remember all of the uncomfortable, awkward and even downright traumatic things that happened during my teenaged years, I just simply couldn’t. All I could think about was that uncontrollable laughter. The time that Amy and I had a food fight with Betty Crocker frosting at the Lake House in the middle of the night. The way that we were literally rolling around on the ground, holding our stomachs, smears of chocolate in our hair, sore from giggling so hard and trying even harder not to wake Mom.

The luxury of time. Planning for hours about what outfit would be worn to which show. Organizing snacks, travel arrangements and must-see-acts to each years’ Warped Tour with the intensity deserving of a year-long journey. Going to a concert and dancing until hot and sweaty, hair ruined, make-up running, and not caring, because I was having the time of my life moving to the music that truly moved me.

The connection with friends. Such a deep, intimate connection. Sharing every detail of your life with someone, good and bad, unafraid of judgement, and knowing that person cares enough to listen and understand. The feeling of connecting intensely with someone who isn’t either related by blood or legally bound to appreciate you.

The hope for the future. Everything is an unknown. The possibilities are endless. There’s so much to experience. So much to see. So much to look forward to.

My dear girl, you will do a lot of wonderful things in your life. Most of your dreams will actually come true. But I’m here to tell you, in many ways, the dreaming can be almost as good as the fruition. Dreaming about the things you want, not knowing, wondering, questioning, imagining all the possibilities- that’s an incredible feeling. And it’s a feeling you’ll experience less often, the more experiences you gain.

I know that being a teenager can be frustrating. You feel like an adult. You just want to get your life started, already. You want to be in control of your own independence and no longer under your parents’ rule. But, in many ways, you have more freedom now than you will as an adult. All your expenses are covered. There is food on your table without you having to prepare it. Your bills are paid. Your laundry is done. The only person that you need to focus on right now is YOU.

I know that you’re itching to be responsible for your own life. But there is something really, really great about being able to be irresponsible.

You have the ability to write your future. To decide who you want to be and be it. Try on some different hats. Don’t be so serious all the time. Stop worrying about the details of the sequence of events that will follow from every single step of your life. Stop worrying. Stop being so darned responsible and just BE for a while.

And the next time you hop on the Don Mills bus and head down to Cliffwood Park for the evening, do me a favour and give an extra big hug to your friends. Dance a little more. Laugh a little harder. Love those moments as intensely as they deserve and I promise you, you won’t regret it.

And as for me, tonight I’ll raise a special glass of Cherry Wine Cooler to you, my friend. The night is ours. Now hop on that bus and go make me proud.

____________________

If you liked that post, you’ll surely like 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!

*GUEST SUBMISSION* Letter 51: The Angels

16 May

Lisa writes:

Dear me at 14:

You will remember all the mistakes of your youth with a cringing sense of horror and embarrassment as time marches relentlessly on. The few things you did right will become  beacons in the dark and the only thing that saves you, in the lurid and unforgiving light of reflection, is the knowledge that mistakes are a part of growing up.

The Author at 14

The eighties will arive with a crash and a bang and you will be catapulted into J.H.S. A milestone which will delight and terrify you as you thought you would never make new friends. You were wrong. There you will learn untold lessons and discover nine girls, one by one, who will become The Angels.

You will never forget The Angels’ obsession with all things adult: boys, sex, drugs and your first, halting steps into womanhood. It will be a time of first kisses, make-out sessions, first loves and shades of heartaches on the road to becoming.

You will preen in the Yard after school, congregate, flirt and gyrate. You will always remember the goofy wonder that you all felt at halting any sports activity, if only momentarily, with whatever crazy antics you psyched each other in to doing.

You will come to understand that it was your first taste of the power that women wield over men. Stop!!! You don’t have to be so blatant and throw caution to the winds. But driven by hormones you will remain blissfully unaware.

You will delight at teetering on the edge of adulthood, sharing Judy Blume and gorging on pizza. You will share clothes and makeup, pass notes in class, giggle in the bathroom and spend untold minutes putting on Starlight Magic makeup. It will be wasted time trying to make yourselves gorgeous, as if you already aren’t. Self-love is a skill that will take you at least another ten years to master.

No other decade will ever be as memorable as the 80’s to you. You will discover Rock and fall in love with AC/DC, Pink Floyd, Rush, The Police, Van Halen (OMG David Lee Roth), Phil Collins, the B-52’s and Rap before it became Hip-Hop. It will forever be tight shirts, ripped jeans, rock t-shirts, Izod Lacoste, Le Tigre, Kangols, Name Belts, Gold Jewelry, Lee Jeans, Nikes, Adidas and the inevitable jean jacket (collar turned up, of course). It will also be the period you recall fondly as “the time before the D cup.”

You will be transfixed with laughter at the recollection of your first experience with alcohol. Drunken headiness all mixed up with snow, idiocy, freedom and cold. You will guzzle Blackberry Brandy, of all things, make angels in the snow and roll down the hill in Central Park. Nothing will douse your sense of glee except the sight of Dawn’s vomit and her parent’s disapproving faces when you bring her home. Hmm, maybe getting completely shit-faced isn’t as good as you thought it would be.

You will meet your second mother, Heather. She will open her heart, her home and her shoulder to you. You will never forget the hours spent in her kitchen eating every kind of cheese known to man, hanging with Liana and Sharon, listening to classical music, ogling her incredible collection of books and devouring Oodles of Noodles. She will hold pride of place in your heart for seeing past your skin color, rejecting socio-economic stereotypes and recognizing your spirit, heart and fledgling intellect. Not until you are much older will you know how unique that is.

All those wasted hours whining and moaning about your dysfunctional families, unified in your hatred of adults. Only years later, as you lose them, one by one, will you be haunted by this lack of understanding. Finally, as grown-ups, you will understand that love for our children is the greatest of all loves and “get” just where your parents were coming from.

It is these girls that will listen to you with utter fascination and stand up for you. These girls, turned women, that you will fight for, and with, through the years against boyfriends, husbands and life. They will teach you loyalty and compassion, laugh with you at the ridiculous, cry with you at the heartbreaking and even run away with you when it is all too much to bear. Most importantly, the Angels will teach you about the enduring nature of friendship, love and connection. They will become the women whose faces you will look into thirty-some years later and recognize that, only this, your friendship, has remained untarnished and true.

Lisa Rivera is an aspiring novelist and avid lover of poetry, erotica and fiction. You may view more of her work on her blog, Thirsty for the Marvelous, at http://cocorivers.wordpress.com/

The Hindsight Notes: Frenemies

25 Mar

The Hindsight Notes is a recurring section created for all you readers wanting to participate in THL, but lacking time to write a full letter. Each Note is composed of a question. All you need to do is answer it, in the form of a comment (below).

This week’s topic is: Frenemies.

They’re your friend to your face. But behind your back, Ooooh, girl. They ain’t so nice. Everybody’s had one. That person that pretends to have your best interests at heart, but does everything in their power to sabotage your happiness.

Maybe you always suspected it. Or maybe it came as a huge surprise. Either way, we want to know all about your teenaged Frenemy. Who were they? Why were they your friend? What made them simultaneously your enemy?

As always, I’ll start us out:

_______________

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

 

Letter 42: Boy/Friends, Unicorns and Loch Ness Monsters

14 Mar

Dear me at 19:

You’ve just come home from a really tasty sushi dinner and a rockin’ concert by a Swedish Girl Band . You’re standing in your bathroom, staring in the mirror as you wipe away your mascara. You’re completely puzzled by the night’s events. You’re rehashing the evening, moment by moment in your mind, trying to figure out what the heck went so terribly wrong.

Allow me to clear something up for you: He likes you.

He doesn’t want to be your friend. He doesn’t want to be your “big brother”, even though that’s his self-proclaimed nickname and how he has positioned himself in your life thus far. He is into you. Big time. And, here’s a really big newsflash: To him, tonight was a capital D-A-T-E.

Looking back on the evening, I’m sure you must be piecing it together. He was wearing a dress shirt. His hair was different. He’d offered to pay the bill at the restaurant (though you declined). He made up a weird excuse for the two of you to go back to his apartment and asked to show you something in his bedroom (which you thought was super weird). And he lingered. Most importantly, he did a big time pout at the concert after you made a joke about your boyfriend (the one whom he knew you were dating). He’d stopped bopping his head. He was practically monosyllabic.

“What the heck is going on?” you might ask. “I thought we were friends.”

Let me fill you in on something here: The concept of the Boy/Friend is equally as fictional as the Unicorn, Loch Ness Monster and Santa. (Straight) Men and women simply cannot be friends. Sure, it might start out with the best of intentions, but sooner or later, someone decides to change the rules.

Whether anyone likes to admit it or not, there is always an unspoken sexual tension between (straight) men and women. Sure, we might try to act like high functioning, important and intelligent beings but ultimately humans are essentially a few chromosomes away from Chimpanzees. We are hardwired to procreate. The survival of our species depends on it. This makes it very difficult to forge meaningful friendships between members of the opposite sex. Because, no matter how hard we try to think of the opposite, we always just wind up thinking about sex.

Countless films, books and pieces of music have been written about exactly this narrative. Boy meets girl. Boy and girl become friends. Boy or girl falls in love. Tension ensues. Now, in the movies, this is almost always an excellent thing. Harry realizes that he loves Sally and they live happily ever after. What could be better than two friends falling in love?

Unfortunately, the real world is a lot messier. A lot of the time, the feeling isn’t mutual. And that’s the situation you are now in. You like your friend. You think he’s a great guy. You think he’d be a great boyfriend. But there just isn’t that indescribable spark on your end. That certain something special that makes you need him. And the fact that he feels that for you unfortunately doesn’t change anything.

Most unfortunately, this is where the road must end for you and your Boy/Friend. He is hurt. You are confused. And things are just going to get even more complicated. The best thing you can do is to tell him how you feel and allow him the space to quietly walk away, should he so choose.

Is it possible for a Man and a Woman to forge a meaningful friendship and keep it at just that? Maybe. Possibly. I mean, I’m sure that in the span of history, at some point, it might have happened. It could also theoretically be possible in the future. But in the meantime, I would suggest switching your hunt for the Boy/Friend to a mystical creature that’s a little less complicated.

At least at Loch Ness you might get a tan.

__________________

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

Letter 31: Y2K or, Learning To Be Surprised

27 Dec

Dear me at 16:

Let me save you some heartache here:

The world is not going to implode when the millennium changes. The ball will drop as it always does, and the year will change from 1999 to 2000 and everything else will remain exactly the same.

Your mother (bless her heart) is stocking up on canned goods and bottled water. If she could, she would also create a bomb shelter and force your brother and you to don gas masks prior to midnight.

You instinctively know that all this hoo-hah will ultimately be for naught. And so, when your mother all but forbids you to leave the house for New Year’s Eve, the New Year’s Eve of your 16th year, you kick up a gigantic stink. You try to reason with her. You try to talk her down. You eventually negotiate the ability to leave the house but only within a certain radius of square kilometres. You are not allowed to go to the big party that you are so excited about.

You will spend this New Year’s Eve eating cheesecake on a double date with your best friend. When the clock strikes midnight and the world remains intact, you will feel really angry for having missed the party. For having celebrated the turn of the millennium with cheesecake, instead of at a splashy party, doing something “memorable”.

Events like New Year’s Eve are funny things. They’re the same as all your adult birthdays and the experience of losing your virginity. Everyone makes a big fuss about them, but ultimately these occasions come and go and are never quite the way you built them up to be in your mind.

As you age, you’ll come to realize that the most important thing about New Year’s Eve is the opportunity to reflect on the year you’ve had, and to plan for the year ahead. One of the things that will keep popping up on your list of resolutions will be your desire to live “in the moment”. To try not to hold on so tightly to your expectations. To try not to plan every second of your life, down to the last detail. Because the plans you make never pan out quite the way you expect them to. There’s always a little bit of this, or a little less of that. And you have the tendency to become very frustrated when things don’t go the way you had expected.

But that’s just it: Nothing ever goes the way you expect it to. The world keeps turning after Y2K, but you spend New Year’s Eve eating cheesecake in suburbia. You meet the man of your dreams, but you have to move across the country to be with him. You become pregnant with a healthy baby girl but your father passes away before he can meet her.

These are the events that make up your life. They might not be perfect. They might not be the way you’d envisioned them to be. But that’s life. It surprises us. The best and worst events will be equally unexpected. And if there’s one thing for certain, it’s that the more firmly you grasp onto your expectations, the less pleased you’ll be with the outcome.

Your millennium story might not turn out the way you had expected it to. It might wind up having a little less action and a little more cheesecake. In hindsight, you will look back at Y2K and think how lucky you were to have an incredible best friend to share that New Year’s Eve with. She was allowed to go wherever she chose that night. She could have gone to a super cool party. But instead, she chose to keep you company, eating dessert in an empty suburban restaurant.

So, my dear 16-year-old friend, try not to be too mad at your Mother. Enjoy your cheesecake. Hang out with your best friend. Cherish that friendship. There will be many more parties, and many more New Year’s Eves. They might not all go the way you had expected. But in the end you’ll find that life’s little surprises always make the story so much better than if it had all happened according to your plan.

Letter 14: How To Break Up With Your First Friend

30 Aug

Dear me at 14:

She has been your friend since you were four years old. You shared a street. Your mothers became friends. Your geographical proximity and identical age bonded you quickly. You spent countless summer evenings playing in the yard, listening to the crickets, the warm summer breeze slowly drifting into night. The smell of sprinkler water on the pavement and freshly cut grass.

You thought that your friendship would take you through to adulthood; the two of you often posturing what you might be like when you became all grown up and very important.

My first friend and I, Pre-breakup

Then came hormones.

Then came boys.

Then you began attending the same school.

Then everything changed.

Slowly and insidiously, your childhood friend became someone completely different. Someone solely focused on securing her status with the cool kids, even if at your expense. Somehow, everything had become a competition between the two of you- except you didn’t even want to compete at all. You just wanted to be friends.

You wanted to be the first girl in your class to get a second hole pierced in your ear (how rebellious!). Excited, you immediately told your childhood friend, forgetting for the moment that she had recently morphed into a shameless social climber. The next day, she showed up at school with (guess what?) a second hole pierced in her ear. Now if you pierced yours it would look like you were copying the person to whom you gave the idea in the first place.

David M. was looking cuter by the minute. Excited, you immediately told your childhood friend, forgetting for the moment that she had recently morphed into a shameless social climber. You returned to school the next day to find them kissing in the hallway.

You decided to try being a badass and take your first puff of a cigarette (naughty girl!). Excited, you told your childhood friend, forgetting for the moment that she had recently morphed into a shameless social climber. Upon arriving home your mother grounded you for the remainder of your adolescence. Apparently word travels quickly on Skyview Crescent.

Are you seeing a pattern here?

I hate to break it to you, but the friend you once knew no longer exists. The person you trusted with your secrets can no longer be trusted. You keep trying to bring her back to life; to win her friendship once more. But sadly, the best thing you can do is quickly mourn this loss and move on. In the land of Junior High School, the name of the game is survival.

This will not be the only time in your life that a girlfriendship ends in this manner. You will have a few more major breakups involving equally major breaches of trust.

You are passionate. You are easy to know and quick to open up. You trust easily. You fall madly in love with your friends and form very strong bonds very quickly. These are all wonderful qualities. Don’t abandon them because of fear. But be prepared that these traits will lead you to a few bad apples along the way.

“So what am I supposed to do? Just keep making friends and then waiting around to see if they suck?” you might ask.

Ever heard of the saying, “What’s down in the well comes up in the bucket”? People can only pretend for so long; eventually, everyone’s true colors shine through. For some, this will belie someone completely different from the person you thought you knew. For others, it will only intensify your respect and admiration.

And that’s the good news: you will meet and make genuine friends. Your bonds will be completely unique and bring so much meaning to your life. Having experienced a couple bad apples, believe me, the good ones will be so much sweeter.

So try not to be heartbroken for too long. Value your memories, accept the changes that your friend has chosen to make, and move on. She is allowed to live her life however she pleases.

But the next time you have a rockin’ secret that you need kept, maybe try keeping it to yourself for a while. After all, if you want something done right, it’s probably best to just do it yourself.