Dear Younger Self,
I rode a mechanical bull this weekend for the first time in my life. At 38-years-old, I decided that it was time to let it all go and ride the bull. I got on that bull, filled with confidence and strong intent to look sexy, and proceeded to ride it -- for exactly six seconds. And those six seconds were neither sexy, nor impressive. Those six seconds were filled with me looking like an ass, holding on for dear life as my girlfriends cheered me on and told me I was awesome.
That's the difference between you and me. Right now, you wouldn't go on that bull. Not because you don't secretly want to, but because you don't have those girlfriends cheering you on and making you realize that it is ok to look like an idiot -- that people will still like you, and even love you for it.
Right now, you are very focused on making sure the "right" girls like you. You are wishing you could buy Guess jeans, and hoping that your mother lets you cut the necks off your Champion sweatshirts. And even though you know that Jennifer Ferris is the nicest person in the tenth grade, you can't be friends with her because the most popular girl, Trish Cline, thinks that she is a dork. Deep in your heart, you know that it's wrong to be mean to Jennifer, and to treat her poorly, but your desire to fit in takes over and feels stronger.
You're also feeling like there is no way your grandmother understands you, and you feel like you two will butt heads forever.
And you're feeling like if David Rice would just give you one look, one single look, that he would fall in love with you instantly.
I hate to tell you this, but you are wrong about everything. But it's ok, you're supposed to be. You don't yet know that David Rice will actually turn out to be bald, fat, ugly and in jail for multiple drug uses. You don't know yet that you will fall in love, maybe even a few times, but there will be only one that gives that look, and yes, he will fall in love with you instantly.
And you don't know yet that your grandmother will be the person you miss most in the world when she passes. That all those times you snapped at her for reading your journal, or sewing the holes in your ripped jeans were all leading up to a relationship like no other. You don't know yet that there will be a time when all you wish for is one more day together to play Scrabble.
And you don't know yet that someday, when you leave the land of high school, you will realize that all those "dorky" girls are now beautiful -- inside and out. That you will treasure your friendships with them and learn that nice girls have much more fun than you ever gave them credit for.
And you will ride a bull. You will ride it because you know that if you fall, your girls will be there to pick you up and make you laugh.
So walk this road. Make your mistakes and try to remember that there will always be a bull to ride -- you just have to find the right people who will pick you up and put you back on it. And you will. In the meantime, enjoy the perky boobs now, you will miss those later...
Your Older Self