Love Letter to Myself at Age Eleven

February 6, 2010

Dear Me at Age Eleven,

I love you. I think it’s really, really important for me to tell you this because I know that right now you don’t think anyone loves you. You are wrong, although it will be quite some time before you realize this.

Yes, you. That awkward girl who’s all limbs and no substance, that girl who thinks she’s weak and stupid and powerless and ugly. You. I love you. You are loveable. People in your life will meet you and know you and love you, just the way you are. Believe it.

Don’t shake your head at me, Missy. Love will happen to you. I know it sounds nuts, but have faith.

I see you there, trembling in front of your neighbor’s house. You are worried because the girl who lives there is often cruel to you and yet has offered to walk you to your first day of 5th grade. You have good instincts. Please start listening to them a little harder, because you know that girl is twisted and ugly inside. You can feel it and you have seen it but you will ignore it for a while. You will pretend that she’s your friend because you desperately want it to be so. You will suffer for ignoring your instincts. Listen to yourself, even when you think you have nothing to say.

You do have things to say. You are not stupid. True, you are not brilliant at math but the teacher who called you dim last year was old and mean. You will listen so much to the things mean people have to say. If I could turn off your ears for the next few years I would, but since I can’t, I just want to tell you that I love your mind. It is often dark and far too critical of you, but that mind is also creative and empathetic and capable of some pretty neat tricks. Believe Mama when she says you have a good brain.

See all that skin you’ve got? Thicken it. You will bear so much these next few years, but junior high is coming up and honey? You ain’t even seen cruelty yet. That skin is like paper, so we have work to do. Do me a favor? Instead of worrying about that stray zit that might pop up on that skin, work on making it hard as adamant.

And as for strong. There’s something strong in you that you don’t even know you have. Probably because you can’t see it and so much right now depends on appearances. It’s beating in your chest, Hummingbird, and it’s so tough that it’s going to amaze you. I love your tough heart–you need a tough one–because people are going to break it sometimes. People you love desperately are not going to love you back, no matter how hard you try. Wishes you make are not going to come true; some of them will, but some whoppers coming up are just gonna whiz right past you, leaving you broken for a while. Friends who promise to love you forever, won’t. But that heart, it’s got grit. Don’t doubt it. It will carry you through.

Okay, I’m done with the hard stuff. But I needed you to know that someone loves you and is watching over you. You feel alone, but you aren’t. You just don’t have the tools to dig down deep in the mineshaft; you will, though. And there’s some treasures waiting for you, if you just have the courage to keep on keepin’ on.

Love (and you’d better believe it),
Your 40-year-old-self

ps: Now that the big stuff is covered, can I mention a few little details?
~Quit trying to feather the hair. It will never work for you.
~Powder-blue suede vest and skirt? Kick Mama for that one.
~Yes, you will be forced to be Herbie Schroeder’s square dance partner again in gym this year. And the next. But then it will be over and Herbie’s four year Reign of Terror shall cease. It’s the price you pay for those gazelle legs. Which you are totally gonna love later, promise.
~And as long as we’re on the subject, don’t worry about boys. They aren’t even going to notice you until you are 20, and won’t ask for any pound of flesh until you are 22. Yeah. Seriously. You will be left alone that long. So tell Daddy to chill.


***This is part of Love It Up at the awesomeness that is Momalom. Visit them soon!

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