“If I could write a letter to me and send it back in time to myself at 17…..”
Dear High-school Christina,
See that picture? That’s your whole senior class! But you remember that,don’t you? You can see half of your head in the back there. Summit Christian Academy. Class of ’07,baby. Represent! …..What? You didn’t think all of your dorkiness would be gone at 21, now did you? Not even close. That’s you, and it always will be. It seems to be one of the very few things that’s stuck too. It never ceases to amaze me how much a person can change in three years.
You’re a baby, you know that? Of course you don’t. You never see yourself as a baby, not when you’re living in that moment. Three years from now I’ll consider myself a baby in the moment I’m living in now. But look at you! Natural hair color. That innocent look in your eyes. No experience. I just want to give you a big hug. It’s going to get worse before it gets better for you, but I don’t want you to know that. So skip over that line. Keep your naivety for as long as you possibly can. Some may say it’s a weakness, but right now when you’re seventeen years old, it’s a blessing. I know you think it’s the end of the world that you haven’t had your first kiss yet, but you have much bigger issues than that coming up. You won’t be the 40 year old virgin, though you’ve oh-so-dramatically convinced yourself you will be. You won’t even be the 19 year old virgin, so stop freaking out. I want to tell you so much, Gosh I could write ten pages. But I don’t have all night (I have much better things to do with my nights now…..Oh, you’re blushing aren’t you little 17 year old Christina?) But I will tell you a few things. Cherish your innocence for as long as you possibly can. It’s beautiful and it’s something you will never ever get back. Stop worrying so much. It’s not worth it. What do you even have to worry about? Boys really are stupid, listen to me now or listen to your five year old self there, I don’t care. I know you’re wondering about this one so yes, you’re best dude friend does mean a whole lot to you, and he probably always will. He’s still you’re best friend today, so you can stop worrying about that too. You’ll notice that a good majority of the time the things that really do matter never change too much at all. You don’t believe me do you? You’ve always been scared that good things don’t last, it’s been conditioned in your mind since you were a young’un. But look at the picture below then. That was just this weekend,missy!
See. That silly Asian’s still in your life. He’s one of the best friends you’ll ever have, and you’ve been through a lot together. I know you were afraid of losing people after high-school, but everyone who was truly important is still there,in one way or another. What else? Oh. Let people go. It’s a part of life. But that doesn’t mean you have to make a big deal about it. Lots of people will come and go from your life; That doesn’t mean one person was better or more right than the other. Moving on doesn’t have to be yelling and screaming. Sometimes things are meant to be let go more silently. Maturity is way underrated, but you’ll be respected more for it. Promise. Eat more. Stop starving yourself. You’re scaring people who love you and you’ll look better with at least a little meat on your bones. Control is a great feeling, I know, but you’ll eventually learn to assert that in better ways. Like speaking your mind and holding your own. You’re scared right now, of a lot of things. You haven’t been out into the real world much until now, and I know it’s hard. Everything’s new to you. But you’ll see,eventually, people aren’t so bad. You’ll make so many friends, and that’s because you learn that no one is as intimidating as they once seemed. We all have our weaknesses. We’re all human. Everyone’s scared, not just you. Some people are just much better at hiding it. One day you’ll get there too, but I’m not so sure that’s a good thing. Right now you don’t know how to mask fear into anger or insecurity into hate. I’d say that’s a good thing. If we could all learn to just say how we really feel and not hide behind mean words and fake emotions, there’d be a lot more friends and a lot less fights. So be vulnerable. Not that you really know another way to be right now anyway. Vulnerability is a form of honesty. And honesty, That’s hard to come by. You’ll learn that soon enough.
Then (aka 2006)
You’ll be exstatic to know you’re much more comfortable and confident with yourself now. The best way I could possibly put it is to say–You’re free. You’re happy with who you are, even though you’re still awkward and silly–and probably always will be. You’ve learned being yourself,whoever the hell that may be, is just fine. I know at 17 you feel like you have to dumb yourself down to get attention–that you have to play the air-headed blond to be accepted. That ain’t true at all. You’re not giving yourself any credit. You’re smart and young and talented and beautiful. You have so much going for you, and you don’t need to play a part to be loved. Gosh darnit, I want to shake you. Just be you. Dance. Sing. Be awkwardly,lovably, humurously,intelligently, crazily…..You. Not everyone is going to want to be your best friend. As somebody very dear to you now would now say in his extremely country accent….“F$#$ ’em” It just doesn’t matter. Some people will be irritated, others will be jealous, some will admire you,one or two will really dislike you and many,many others will love you with all of their hearts. That’s not up for you to decide or live with. This is your life and that life is the one that you have to live with. Not anyone elses.
On that note, sometimes you shouldn’t be so selfish. Or stubborn. Sometimes you should listen. But I know there’s no way you’re going to listen to that, because if I got a letter from myself at 25 right now, I wouldn’t listen to a damn thing that letter said. Living is not listening. Living is doing. Living is trial and error. And thrills. And first loves. And pain and hurt and tears. You gotta do it to get to where you are now. I know you’re angry with your parents, I’ve read that in enough journals to realize that. I know you’re torn apart and restless and ready to go. The truth is they did shelter you too much, and though it is because they love you so much, there’s no way for you to see that through your teenage angst right now. You need to get out there into the world, and so I won’t try to stop you from making any of the decisions you’re going to make in the next year or so. You’re going to hurt yourself and so many other people, and I’m sure most would call what you’re about to go through one giant mess of a mistake. But it wasn’t. All of the things you’ve done and people you’ve had relationships with and encounters you’ve had— may have been stupid but it was all something that had to happen. It made you, Christina Cirotto, into who you are today.
Now:Oh, wait. Did I forget to mention your name’s not ‘Christina Cirotto’ anymore? No, you didn’t divorce your parents. See all of those new pictures? You know where you are? In your house. With your husband. You’re a Boudreaux now! If you still don’t get it (you probably don’t) , you got married. For real. I’m not kidding! Okay, breathe. You’ll be relieved to know the following: You’re not the 40 year old virgin. You’ve had sex. Lots of sex, but not with lots of people. Just with him. No, you didn’t wait ’til marriage. But yes, it was extremely special. It always is. Everytime. You finally got over all of your trust issues and let somebody get to know you enough to love you. Truly and completely love you. And he’s the best, Christina. All of those journals you filled up with what you hoped for in a man, He’s it. He knows everything about you, and though you’ll occasionally get teased for it, nothing could ever scare him away. He brings you home your favorite candy bar when you’ve had a bad day. He listens. He’s goofy. He’s a good man. He’s laying next to you right now and he’s the most beautiful sleeper you’ll ever see. Your mom loves him. Your daddy loves him. Your brother and him are best friends. He’s almost perfect but since that would get annoying too he has just the right amount of annoying imperfections to keep it entertaining. And did I mention he loves you? My goodness he loves you. He’s everything you’ve ever wanted and more. I’m gushing now…but I just want you to understand, you shouldn’t be worried. Give it one more year, and life gets nothing but more and more perfect. I can’t promise you what’ll be going on at 22, I can’t ever promise you anything but what I know. Nobody can. But for now, damn girl. You’re lucky.
Before I let you go spend the night at your best friend’s house or listen to any Taylor Swift music, let me give you just a little more parting advice. I’ll be quick. Here goes. Clip your nails more often. Forgive yourself. Give into the fact that you are a senior and you will be forced to be with annoying freshman in 9th grade geometry all year. You’ll always suck at math so get used to that too. Don’t fight with your parents or fake run away so much. You don’t even have a car yet and walking with suitcases down the road is scaring your neighbors. Accept your flaws, unless they are hurting yourself and those you love, and then do your best to fix them. Life is not a faerie-tale but don’t let anyone convince you it’s a horror film either. Hold out for heroes. They are few and far between,but they do exist. Don’t be a pessimist. It sounds cool, but it’s taking the easy way out. Always hope. Love is different for everyone and it’s definition will slowly change in your eyes as well. Stick up for yourself. Don’t be afraid to get feisty. Let your feelings show. Don’t let others decide what you think about anybody else. Keep an open mind but be wary of things like fake friends and married men. Don’t be iffy about college, it’ll be your main passion a couple years down the road. Strike new friendships everywhere you go but remember those that have always been there are often some of the best. You won’t ever miss high-school but you will miss that feeling of pure,unadulterated youth. Hold onto that feeling for as long as you possibly can. It’s something you can’t ever get back and it’s the one feeling you’ll miss the most. Remember to give everyone lots of hugs, smiles, and attentive conversation. You never know when someone won’t be there to do that with anymore. Let yourself feel pain, and lots of it. You have to feel cut open and raw to heal, there’s no way around it. But you will heal.