Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Dear 16-year-old-me;

I've missed you.  It's been so long since you crossed my mind.  You've worked so hard to stay on the right track.  Even when it felt lonely and boring, you steered clear of the drug and alcohol scene.  Good friends are making such a difference in your life.  You could be kinder though.  Not all of your friends are heading to prom or getting keys to their own car.  Think about how they feel when you drone on about the little things in life that frustrate you.  You can be nauseatingly narcissistic sometimes - sorry to be so blunt, but it's true.

You are so pretty and I wish you didn't spend so much time thinking you are fat.  You are not...but you do have big hair.  It's probably impossible for you to believe, but your obsession with VAVOOM hairspray will run out and you will give up your big hair two years into college when a sappy chic flick called, Ghost, hits the movie theatres.  You'll bravely get a short Demi Moore cut that you still wear 20+ years later.  Oh honey, it's so much easier than using the curling iron and that teasing technique that you obsess over every morning.

You know that really nice football player that always asks to borrow paper in your typing class?  He likes you - in fact he'll be your prom date this year.  He's really sweet and he has strong morals.  Pay attention to his study habits and his work ethic.  You could learn a thing or two.  Stay awake when he drives you home from the 24 hour student council dance marathon next month.  He'll be bold and surprise you with your first French kiss....don't worry, he won't care about your bad breath.

Enjoy your big circle of friends - the group lunches, weekend movie nights and endless orders of cheese sticks from Pizza Man, but don't forget to protect your heart.  You'll choose to keep a long distance relationship going for your last two years of high school and all through college.  The weekends when you reconnect will be great and you'll amass a beautiful box of sentimental letters, but you'll have lonely times when you see other girls holding hands, flirting and living in the moment and you'll wonder if it's worth it, it is.  God is writing your love story - even without you knowing it!

Study harder in school - don't wait until the last minute for everything - this bad habit you've developed will plague you forever.  You know that English teacher that you can't get enough of, Mrs. Walker?  Soak in every word she present in her class.  Her ramblings about Murray State University will set the course for your future and you will become a fellow MSU alumni too.   She believes in you - be receptive to her comments and critiques of your writing.  Embrace your love for writing and drama no matter what others may think.  You are really good at both.

Stop worrying about having to take care of your parents  - it's not your job.  You may be an only child, but they are the adults.  I know you get scared that they might divorce - they will in 5 years - but it's not your responsibility to make them happy.  I know you were embarrassed when your history teacher pulled you out of class to speak with the school counselor, but she cared so much about you.  Your grades were dropping and she couldn't watch you implode.  I know you were contemplating suicide when you said subtle things like "I just want off of this ride."    Therapy sessions were so healthy for you and were such a safe place for you to vent.  Counseling isn't for the weak - its an investment in your soul that will vaccinate your emotional health from future disease.

Speaking of safety, you really need to work on your driving.  Thank goodness the automatic transmission vs. the stick shift that your dad taught you to drive on has become a thing of the past.
You can't handle being pulled over by the small town cops anymore for rolling through stop signs.
You've gotten lucky the last few times to pull away with a warning, your luck will run out.  I promise a ticket is in your future.  Take it easy on the "parking" at the end of every date too.  I know you have your "spot" and you love to roll down the windows in the summer and listen to Richard Marx and Breathe, but you are playing with fire - too much passion with too few boundaries.  You will be a virgin on your wedding night, but only by the skin of your teeth.  A little self-control goes a long way.

So back to that guy who borrowed typing paper?  The one who you arranged your trips through the hallways between classes just to catch a glimpse of a few days a week?  He will ask you to marry him in three years and the month after you graduate from college you'll pledge a lifetime of love to him.
You have so much to look forward to and I don't want to spoil it. 

I've loved walking in step arm in arm with you again.  I really like you and the person you're becoming.  Dig deep and be confident in who you are...she's wonderful.  You may not think God is a big deal to you right now, but He will shape everything about your future.  Those long conversations you will have in the months to come with your future husband about your ideas of a woman's role in the church and which denomination you'll raise your future children in?  Those conversations are worth having and offer such a valuable perspective into the heart of the man you will marry and his desire to build a life with you.  He adores you and will keep you afloat on the days when you want to hold your breath and sink.  You will do the same for him, so don't feel too hurt about my comment at the start of this letter about your grow out of it.

Press on sweetie - take a look around and thank those who are pouring into you, there are so many mentors who will come your way.  Hug your parents and look for someone younger to pour into.  God's economy is not about soaking up all of His blessings like a sponge, it's about squeezing them into others. 

Much love to you....

Your future self...

PS...wear sunscreen...even if it's just on your face!

1 comment:

  1. How fastenating to learn, even now, over 20 years later all those details I craved knowing and to see a picture of the dance and dress! Then i was newly married and absorbed out West in our lives.
    It's cool to look back and recall, writing to that 16 year old girl. What a value hindsight brought! Think of how much worry and anguish would have been eliminated if you had a crystal ball. Sometimes it might be good to know what the future brings! Thank you for sharing these intimate glimpses into that lifetime.