Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Nineteen Seventy-Seven, Eight

This letter to my seven-teen year old self is inspired by Maria who was inspired by Brad.

Dear Seven-teen year old You,

Snap. That was yet another straw threatening to break the proverbial back. Mom changed her mind and instead of spending your summer preparing for dorm life you’re working as many hours as you can possibly muster, just to stay out of the hovel not a home. You know you must find a way out, you just don’t have any idea how to manage that feat, yet.

The eventual escape comes at a high price, a debt that will be re-paid, someday.

You begin to feel a fondness for Velda that transcends that sisterly vibe you had goin’ on. This new feeling confounds you to no end. You try to ignore it, unable to do so, you bury it, deep. Very deep. Years later those feelings, refusing to remain buried, burst forth in shock and then comfort. You learn to welcome these feelings, learn to welcome love.

I want to tell you a great deal, I want to tell you everything. I’ll leave you with this: learn to trust yourself. Trust your feelings, your voice, your heart and above all else, your head. Don’t shy away from what makes you happy. Granted, you don’t fit with your family, the neighborhood, the mold. Learn to embrace your differences, celebrate your uniqueness. Don’t become a prisoner to everyone else’s perception of what or who you should be. Treat yourself to honest inspection and generous interpretations. Follow your own paths.

Well, try.

My Very Best Regards,
Forty-Seven Year Old You


  1. Ah, yes. I would tell myself the very same thing.

    But..would I have listened? Probably not. I was so headstrong at 17.

    Just like now when a 70 year old woman tries to dispense advice to me, I smile politely and don't really listen....

    GREAT photo, by the way!

  2. I'm diggin' the thoughtful pose and checkered jacket. WOW!

  3. Outstanding letter and photo.

    I've been thinking about writing a letter to my 17 year old self. I don't know...it might be ugly.

  4. Look at you. I love that picture! You look just the same, photographically, except I'm sure you still don't wear that polyester, right? I have burned my polyester photos. The 70s...sigh.

  5. What a great letter. Now I'm thinking about what I'd say to myself.

  6. Maria: Woud I have listened to myself? Probably not. Anybody? Maybe. Thanks.

    Shazza: yeah, the jacket was a gift?

    Chapin: Thank you. Give it a try, I went through some drafts. ;)

    Hahn: No, polyester is gone, gone, gone. Kids got quite the charge out of this pic. And thank you.

    Amaya: Thank you. Go for it! It was fun.

  7. Ah...wonderful.

    Now, the question is, will that 17 year old you listen or will that 17 year old you think "it's just some old fart, bitter over the way her life turned out?"

    I've often wondered if my late-teen self would view my older, more philosophical self in that way.

    The same way my kids view me now, fer goddess sake!

  8. It's so sad to think back all those years to the sweet, innocent torture of adolescence. Great letter.
    I would tell myself to atay that sweet because I definately am NOT anymore.


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