Dear Younger Me,
I just want to let you know a few things. Not to scare you, but to prepare you and enlarge you. Spoiler alert: you do turn out okay.
In elementary school you will be tall. As in, taller than most everyone else. People will laugh at you and tell you that you must have failed. No matter that you make straight A’s and in some grades, have the highest Science and Social Studies average. No, you are tall and so you are not smart. Add that to your knobbly knees, red hair and glasses… and know that you will spend quite a few afternoons in your mom’s classroom crying after school. Also, in 5th grade your “friends” will decide you’re the teacher’s pet and will all stop talking to you. Having friends is good, but the type of friends you have are what really matters. You’ll eventually start to like being tall and having red hair. People will stop caring whether you failed or scored the highest and you’ll get some contacts. But, you’ll still want to wear your glasses sometimes depending on your outfit. And, most importantly, you’ll have many friends – true friends – all over the world. They’ll encourage you, lift you up, and be there in the good and hard times.
What you’ll learn: It’s not about quantity, it’s about quality. It’s not about looks, it’s about character. And you can always go crying to your mama.
In dreaded middle school you’ll go back to school with your childhood friends. You’re good on the friend front, but are still very influenced by what they say and do. You’ll be really tall and have red hair, as always, but to add insult to injury, you’ll get braces and bad skin. Makeup won’t help and it’ll take a while before it clears up. You’ll think you are the only person alive with bad skin and some of your friends will already be bright beautiful shining stars. You will feel manly and ugly. You’ll start getting in a little trouble with your teachers for talking too much. You’ll realize you like sports and you’ll go on lots of trips with your mom. You’ll sit on the edge of your mom’s bed and ask her if having an okay face under the bad skin gives you a chance, somehow, of being pretty one day, and your mom will tell you that you’re her princess no matter what.
What you’ll learn: You should talk less and listen more. You don’t have to follow others’ lead. Road trips are fun. You can’t change some things so you gotta work with them, not against them. Sometimes we must suffer something bad (braces) to get something great (perfect teeth). And you can always go crying to your mama.
High school will come along and bring much desired freedom and independence. You’ll still be tall and have red hair, but you’ll get contacts. Your skin will have cleared up, for the most part, but you will feel awkward and wonder what your style is. You will, along with your height, become particularly well endowed which you will hate. All of your friends will still be very thin with middle school like figures and you will envy them. At 16 years old on spring break, a stranger will think you are their chaperone. Honestly. But these friends will be loyal and good to you. You’ll get your first job and realize you get anxious having to work evenings, your stomach will always be in knots on the days you work late. You’ll find your personality and get your first car. You’ll ask to go to a horror house, be told no by your mother, and will pitch a crying whiney emotional fit then throw a softball that will ricochet and break an entire – very large – set of windows in the house. You’ll have to pay for it.
What you’ll learn: Being given more independence means more responsibility. It’s in the moments we question who we are, that we find out. You can be friends with all kinds of people. We don’t always blossom right when we want, but we do blossom in season. And you can always go crying to your mama.
After high school you’ll go to college, live abroad, travel the world, learn a few languages. Don’t worry, you WILL get married, stop obsessing that no one will think a tall redheaded girl with bad vision and freckles is marriage worthy. You’ll have a lot of kids. Life will be easier and harder. But you’ll be the person your youth made you into. Though you’ll never suffer fools, you won’t care about people’s height, skin condition or status. You’ll know it’s still about quality and not quantity, in just about everything. You’ll know you can’t push God’s timing. And you’ll still go crying to your mama.
Compassion is a Christian child-advocacy ministry that releases children from
spiritual, economic, physical, and social poverty and enables them
to become fulfilled, responsible Christian adults.