I was inspired to write this letter to my 15 year old self after reading fellow Buzznet blogger, Kate Cordova‘s, letter to herself. I wrote one a while back, but I wasn’t too honest in it, afraid of the same reaction I used to receive at 15. Some things never change. Sometimes, especially at 15, we need someone on our side to tell us that what we are feeling is not the wrong way to feel. Even to this day, I feel like I’m wrong for every thought or feeling that consumes my mind and I’d be lying if I said it didn’t stifle my creativity. I’m slowly learning how to break free of that fear of always being wrong. If I’ve learned anything within these past 10 years, it’s been that the people who criticize us for expressing our emotions are the ones who are afraid of feeling anything slightly uncomfortable. I hope this letter inspires you to write one to your former self at any age you desire. I hope you can relate. If not, please be kind. We’re all battling something but it would be nice if we could all battle it together.
Dear 15 year old Tina,
Hey! It’s me! Or you, rather, 10 years into the future! Crazy right?! This is like some futuristic Jetsons shit or something! Let’s get started here, because we all know how much you are dreading going back to that hell hole they call a school tomorrow. Here’s some inspiration to keep you from turning back and going home….or maybe it’ll just make you want to stay under the covers even more than you already do. Either way, you need to go through it all to end up on the other side. Someday this pain will be useful to you.
It gets better. I know everyone says that and I’d be lying if I told you it’s all sunshine and rainbows 10 years into the future but the truth is that you’ll have good days and bad days but you’ll know how to deal with them in a better way. Bad days are a constant for you right now. You’re in a terribly dark place and that’s okay. You need it to become the person you will be. The only advice I want you to grasp is that you need God in your life. I know you may feel like He is punishing you for something you aren’t aware of but trust me, that is far from the truth. In 7 years, your life will change drastically. You’ll start to question things that only He could have put into motion and then you will see what grace is.
Your friends don’t understand you, so they’ll mock you. Let them. It reflects badly on their character, not yours. Also, don’t worry about that guy you’ll fall for next year. He’ll only put you through hell and make you feel like a fool for ever loving him. When he’s 40 and still alone, he’ll wonder why he ever wanted to hurt someone for caring about him. After him, you’ll be with someone else for 4 years. It may be painful, but it will be a learning experience. Just don’t let him throw pity parties because he isn’t getting everything he wants. I would tell you to walk away the second he starts with the drugs, but you won’t because you might love this guy. You’ll wish you didn’t, though. You’ll wish you had more faith in yourself; that you deserve better, but you won’t. Despite all of the shitty things he says to you, know that you are not the reason why he does drugs. He’s the problem, not you. I wish I could shelter you from all of the negative words that will float through your head even to this day because of him, but I can’t. Go through the motions and let both of those experiences unfold. You need them to decide what you really want. Oh and that dream you’re gonna have in 2010? Follow it! I know it sounds far-fetched but do not give up! Oh wait…I’m getting ahead of myself. Sorry. Back to 2003…
Here’s what’s gonna happen, and I’ll put it bluntly since there is no way to change what’s already happened though I wish I could. Deciding to go to that high school was the dumbest decision you ever made. You were on the right track before this. You had excellent grades and a bright future ahead of you. This school is going to ruin you. You won’t learn much. You’ll start to lose your spark. You’ll start skipping school and going home to sleep and cry into your pillow because everyone just flat out sucks! But it’s not like you’re skipping to go do drugs so you’re not a total delinquent. Basically, when you do show up for class, there will be a ruckus brewing. Your teacher will have no balls to enforce any disciplinary action, so you’ll just sit there with a stomach full of knots while being called “white girl” while spit balls are being thrown at you. Then once the bell rings, you’ll storm out of the building and be free for another 24 hours. There are a handful of people who are wonderful and luckily, you’ve befriended them. Keep them around. Those other people, well, some of them will go right behind your back and hate every ounce of your being. Why? I don’t know but it’s going to suck. Especially since you’ve always been there for them. They never understood you, anyway. It’s no loss. Also, cut ties with the one you call your “best friend.” Your whole relationship is based off of lies. But I want you to cut her some slack in the future. She needs love the most. You’ll make 2 wonderful friendships out of that experience. Eventually, you’ll wind up doing everything on your own. You’ll prefer it, but you’ll wish to find people who share your values. Needless to say, it won’t be easy.
Keep listening to music. Never be afraid to express your excitement over a song because one day, people are going to listen. Want to know the best part? You’ll get to see Garbage in 2012! You’ll sob uncontrollably during the one song that is keeping you alive right now. Hold on, or you’ll miss that moment when things come around full circle. I know you want to deal with everything by yourself, but you need to let your mother in. She’s worried you’ve crossed over to the dark side. Stop blasting Linkin Park’s “Crawling” in your room and remind her that that devil hasn’t captured you. 😉 You’re scaring her and deep down, I know you know it’ll be okay. Also, there will be this thing called Twitter. Carson Daly will follow you on Twitter. Shirley Manson will reply to you, re-tweet you AND follow you as well! Do you really want to jump in front of a bus now? Didn’t think so. 😉
Life only gets harder, but once you fully grasp who you are without giving in to who your peers are telling you to be, you’ll be able to navigate your way just fine. Keep your morals. Let theirs die with their lack of humanity and compassion. As your 25 year old self, I want you to know that you are not where you thought you would be. SNL isn’t even close. But you’re still writing and that only took 5 years to realize it was what you are born to do. You can’t please everyone, so don’t even try. Finding a job will keep you up at night. Your anxiety will get worse. You’ll start to feel worthless. Take care of yourself. Health is more important than earning a paycheck. It will get frustrating once everyone starts waving their measly degrees in your face, but once you see how they attempt to write a paragraph or answer a phone at a top name company, you’ll realize who’s the lucky one. People are going to get meaner. I’m sorry but people tend to get nastier after high school. Asking for help will be like trying to contact the President. As horrible as those people are, kill them with kindness. Not because it will help you get your foot in the door, but because it will make them question their behavior.
I’m not even sure why I’m writing you this letter at 25 since I certainly don’t have all of the answers, but I just want you to know that I’m looking out for you, kid. I know it feels like the universe hates you, but I don’t. Aside from your family, I am the only one who has truly cared for you and it has gotten us to this point somewhat unscathed. People tend to judge others for having self-respect. Don’t listen to them. Lead by example. Stop wishing you were dead. Fight! It is going to get a lot harder but once we get our chance to shine, we will be unstoppable. It hasn’t happened yet, but it will. You just gotta have faith. Don’t be ashamed for crying. You’re just really sensitive. Let it all out, no matter how bad your head hurts afterward. Eventually, you’ll grow stronger because of all of this.
I can’t wait to see where these next 10 years will take us. Hopefully by 35 we’ll have our shit figured out. Maybe someone will finally see our worth and what we are capable of. Maybe we’ll create our own luck in the meantime! 😉
The trick is to keep breathing. Always. Heads up. Eyes on the stars.
Your 25 year old self.