Letter to me

Country music is a guilty pleasure I’ll admit to. The sappier the better.

Throw your rotten tomatoes at me now… get that out of the way, first.

OK… so.

I had this great creative writing teacher in the eighth grade and then again as a junior in high school. Mrs. Cella had us write daily journal entries which she would comment on once a week when she collected our journals for grading.

It occurs to me now that Mrs. Cella would’ve loved blogging and the interaction between writers and their audience.

Most often she wanted us to *free write* about whatever came to mind, in whatever format we chose. Those were painful, difficult entries for me to make, faced with a blank sheet of paper.

Kind of like blogging sometimes.


In her comments in our journals she was a writing coach, but as is often the case when working with adolescents, it gave her the opportunity, I suspected at least, to get into our heads and act as social worker and therapist; an adult we could be honest with in a *safe* non-judgmental arena.

Every so often she’d give us an actual topic for our journal entries and usually I enjoyed those; enjoyed a guide with which to focus my thoughts.

I remember one of the topics she gave us was the opposite of Brad Paisley’s idea with this song of his; rather than writing as an adult to our 17 year-old selves, she had us write a letter to our grown-up selves.

I’d love to be able to put my hands on that old journal of mine. Buried in the closet in my childhood home, one of my brothers probably found it when we sold the place and is holding onto it to embarrass me with someday.


(Ramble, ramble.)

Mrs. Cella often criticized my rambling away from the point at hand.

I like the spirit of this song, for all its hokeyness and thought I’d have a go at a similar letter.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Dear Laura,

For Godsakes stop being so shy!

Stop thinking you’re too skinny!

Go with the curls; one day you’ll laugh that you ever wasted so much time trying to have hair like every other girl.

That guy: dump him. Quick! Don’t wait till just before the Senior Prom. That’ll feel sweet, of course, but…

The quarterback of the football team wants to ask you out… and a couple baseball players too, but instead you’re wasting your time with that jerk.

Those other quiet girls in your classes that you won’t give the time of day to even… take the time to make friends with them!  They’ll write the sweetest things about you in your yearbook and you’ll wonder how you never even noticed them.

Dad will not be heartbroken if you drop Calculus. Honest.

Speaking of Dad… give him a break. Enough of your moodiness. Enough of the silent loathing. You’ll regret it sooner than you expect to.

Mrs. Martin… tell her what a great teacher she is. Tell her even though you’re sure she must know. You’ll understand one day how nice those words sound coming from a student.

Smile in your graduation photo… you’ll be looking at that sad face years from now wondering why it looked like the whole darn world was on your shoulders.


– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Add something, if you would, of what you’d include in a letter written now to your teenage-self. Maybe just that one big thing.


I promise not to take points off for rambling, either.

11 thoughts on “Letter to me”

  1. Dear Lynne,
    You don’t have to be the “good” one all the time.

    It’s OK to let people get mad- their feelings are their own responsibiliy.

    Cut Phyllis some slack. She can’t help it.

    (who needs therapy!)

  2. Dear Donna–
    Stop feeling sorry for yourself.

    So your parents are an ocean away–so what?

    So you didn’t make the field hockey team–forget it. Do something else instead.

  3. Dear Susan,
    Hug Dad more. Tell him you love him. He will not be around when you need him most.

    Give Mom a break. She is doing the best she can.

    Finish college, even though you think you just can’t go on.

    Date those quiet, nerdy types. I bet they won’t break your heart like those wild boys you are so intent on nailing.

    Don’t grow up so fast. It’s going by like a blur and you will want to remember.

    Stop thinking you are too heavy! Someday you will look at pictures of those wonderful curves and sigh with longing.

    Don’t even THINK about picking up those cigarettes. They will haunt you for decades.

    Love yourself a little more. You need the practice.

    *Thanks, Laura…for not taking off points for rambling.*

  4. “Dear Beth:

    Don’t be so mad at Dad – he is not perfect and he left Mom, he didn’t leave you.

    Mom is trying hard and it’s tough raising 3 kids alone. Be nicer to her.

    You don’t have to live up to anyone’s expectations but yours.

    Just because you aren’t blond and buxom doesn’t mean you aren’t beautiful.”

    Wow, Laura, thanks for the mini-therapy session. Feels good. BTW, I am a HUGE Brad Paisley fan.


  5. Dear Jayne,

    Being thinner is not the magic cure to feeling better about yourself. One day you’ll figure that out.

    Stop thinking you are not worth more than a boyfriend who does not respect you. He is not worthy of you.

    Going along to get along will not serve you. Find your voice. Own who you are.

  6. Dear Carolyn,

    In spite of your conflict with her, your mother loves you very much.

    There’s nothing wrong with being smart. Don’t be afraid to let others know how smart you really are.

    Your high school days will always be in your brother’s shadow so get over it.

    High school lasts for four years. You have a whole successful lifetime out there.

    You really don’t have to go into a profession just because your mother told everyone that’s what you wanted to be since you were five years old.

    Most of the nerds and geeks (or whatever they were called back then) will be more successful than the “most popular” kids.

  7. Dear Kathi,

    Don’t be afraid all the time. Take a chance. You don’t always have to play by the rules. Don’t worry about what everyone else thinks, live on the edge instead of playing it safe. You will have plenty of time to be good, why not take a risk now and then?

    Lose the freshmen 15; they are the beginning of a long and slippery road. Learn to eat vegetables.

    Oh, and stick-straight hair will not always be in. Some day, other women will be jealous of your curls, so don’t worry about it.


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