Dear seven year old me,
First, I want to tell you that you’re awesome. Don’t sweat the kids that push you around and make fun of your clothes. When you grow up, you’ll still buy clothes from thrift stores, but by then it will be cool to do so. Not that you should worry about being cool. Actually, we end up spending way too much time worrying about being cool, getting the cool kids to like us, etc.
And boys. We spend way too much time thinking about boys and worrying about what they think of us. (Sometimes we still do, even twenty years later.) And sometimes it’s fun, but mostly it drives us kind of crazy. This probably has something to do with dad moving out. I think that happened around this year, right? You look pretty happy in this picture, though, so maybe it hasn’t happened yet.
We are really smart. We get straight “A”s in everything except gym and math, but when you grow up, you don’t really need dodgeball or geometry or pre-calculus, so don’t sweat it too much. Sometimes being smart can get frustrating, because you’d rather be pretty than smart, but don’t let people fool you, you get to be both and totally are. (Even though you probably won’t feel like it until you hit 20.)
Middle school is going to be really rough. We make the decision that since there’s only five days of school a week, we only need five different shirts. We get teased for that. There’s this asshole, Paul, who keeps throwing basketballs at our head in gym class, but no one notices. Also, someone spreads the rumor that we’re a lesbian in the 7th grade and even though we’re not, things get pretty shitty for a while.
But then we get into show choir in high school and start getting leads in plays and things get a lot better. We get high marks for oboe solos at state competitions for music. We kind of avoid the cafeteria, because there are still jerks who like to throw carrots at the back of our head. Eat in the choir room instead, it’s safer and way more fun.
We have our first kiss at 16 and have a handful of boyfriends after that. There have been four so far, but I’m only 27 and I’d like to think there will be more. One of them ends up being gay, so maybe we should only count three of the four. I’m not going tell you about sex, because you’re too young for that. You’ll learn that in health class in five years.
College is awesome–we get to be in a lot of plays and even go to England for a month. And you get to meet Rick and Sheryl and Mar and Emily, who will be some of your greatest friends for life. After college, we pack everything up and drive to Whidbey Island in Washington state to do AmeriCorps and become part of a great community. We’re almost like a celebrity! People we don’t even know recognize us from plays–seriously, it’s hard to walk down the street or get a cup of coffee without running into at least a couple people who know you and like you. It’s WAY better than middle school. We end up being pretty popular, but on our own terms.
We got our heart broken pretty badly last year. But the awesome thing that came of that was we became more self-aware. We visit Ms. Ruef (you’ll have her for math in 6th grade) and she tells us about this book, Positive Magic. We start to realize that we have control over what we’re thinking and feeling in every moment. All the things over the years that were really awful or seemed unfair were actually things we made happen to get us going on the right path (that might seem really complicated to a 7 year old, but, like I said, we’re really smart, so I think you’ll get the drift.)
You can never tell mom and dad that you love them enough. I know you’re going to be really mad that they split up, but when you’re older, you realize that it’s what was best for everyone.
One of the best things that has happened so far (remember, I’m only 27, so I’m guessing I’m only a third or a fourth of the way done with life, fingers crossed) is getting to work at Hedgebrook. It’s this magical place where women writers come from all over the world. They get their own cottages in the woods. You’ll get to meet Gloria Steinem and Eve Ensler–I’m sure those names don’t mean much to you now, but you can think of them as female superheroes, except they’re real. And you get to work with Louise, who is a lot like us, except a few years older, which is super helpful, because she can point us in the right direction.
To sum it all up: our life is really awesome. Be yourself, always, even when people tell you to tone it down a notch (sometimes ESPECIALLY when people tell you to tone it down a notch). You are talented, strong, funny, smart and beautiful. And you are the only you, so don’t spend too much time trying to be like other people. One suggestion I’ll leave you with is to write a lot. It’s a good way to sort the frustrating stuff out and be thankful and celebrate the good stuff. And you’re really good at it. You even win some contests. That’s one of the things I’m working on right now, writing more and getting that writing out into the world.
Well, I have to go. I have rehearsal for a play at the Seattle Center. (Seriously, right next to the Space Needle!)
Always remember I love you. A lot.
Your 27 year old self.
Thanks to Kris Barker for this prompt!