Letter to my Younger Self

Abby is 16 years old and lives in Oakland, CA. She loves music, volleyball, and spending time with her friends.

Dear Little Me,

You’re 12 now, just about to start seventh grade. This is when middle school really begins, when all the stories you’ve heard about the changes that will happen (to you personally, and to your friendships and relationships with your parents) suddenly shift from paranoid delusion to excruciating reality. This is when you start making decisions about people and school, and those decisions actually matter. You’re going to turn out all right, but there will be a tough couple of years in there that I want you to stick out.

Don’t get discouraged when your friends talk about their latest boyfriend and you haven’t even kissed a boy. Your time will come to be the one telling the story (and it will be a good story), so sit patiently and listen for now. Learn from their mistakes. Try not to get jealous about anything. It’s a waste of time that could be spent focusing on making yourself happy.

I have to tell you, by the end of the year, the girl you can now spend hours talking to on the phone every night will be someone you can barely nod to in the hallway. Though this change in friendships will be the most drastic, it will not be the only one. It’s really tough, but spend your time talking to new people and maybe you’ll find that you really never should have been friends with the other girls in the first place.

The most important thing that I can say is: don’t act impulsively, and think twice about your actions and words. Think everything through. The next three years will be awkward no matter what, because dealing with that is how we become mature adults, but you can save yourself plenty of tear-filled nights if you censor yourself. Furthermore, on those occasions when you don’t exactly say the right thing, don’t stress. No one but you will think about it more than two minutes later, and worrying about it only makes things worse.

Try to be nicer to your parents. Your relationship with them is only getting worse, but maybe if you take a minute to appreciate them you can save it. I can tell you from experience, a few nice words go a long way.

Basically, just be awesome. You are a cool kid and if you can get through all the turmoil in the next two years I promise you will come out of it a beautiful, strong young woman who knows herself and feels comfortable in her own skin.

Best of luck,
Your 16 year old self

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