September 3, 2008

A Letter to My 10-Year-Old Self

Mama's Losin' It is doing a writers workshop for Wednesday in which she puts us to task writing letters to our 10-year-old selves. I, for one, am eager to do this! Ever since I first heard Brad Paisley's "Letter to Me," I've pondered what I'd tell myself in a letter to me when I was 17. But 10? Yikes! A lot happened between 10 and 17.

Hang on to your hats, here we go...

Dear Darcie,

You're going to be a good softball player despite your perpetual presence in right field. Don't doubt your abilities and stick with it through high school. You'll regret not trying out. You're going to be good at volleyball, but you have to give it an honest effort. Run harder, try harder and want it more.

Enjoy your ear for music. You have a real gift when it comes to music and you shouldn't brush it aside like it's a nuisance. Embrace your ability to play the piano, practice the trombone more and make Mr. C proud at district jazz auditions. Don't just try out for the day off from school.

You're going to go through a really rough and nasty patch of life between 1994 and 1996. When that stretch is over, find someone to talk to. A therapist, a minister, a close friend, or even your mom - whomever you choose, be honest about your feelings and actually deal with your loss. Otherwise you'll still be dealing with it 12 years later.

Speaking of your mom, stand up for yourself. She's going to be hard on you, especially as high school winds down and you set off for college. She's not going to put things tactfully and she's going to come off as a bully. She means well, she really does, but it won't sound like that and you'll have to hold your ground for what you believe and want. Don't let her bring your spirit down. Love yourself for you, not for what she wants you to be. Then recognize that your mom isn't some superbeing who has all the answers and is infallible. She's a human being capable of making mistakes.

Don't waste your time or emotion on that boy who'll take a shine to you at the end of your 8th grade year. He'll be a sleazy louse for the rest of your high school career and he'll leave you with few good memories. Most of what you'll remember of him is getting your heart broken and being in a vicious cycle of sticking with a guy who doesn't treat you the way you deserve to be treated.

Start a running program. You won't be good at it, not at first. You're not a born runner. But you'll find a natural high in running and maybe you won't be so eager to start smoking when you're 16. Oh, and by the way? Don't start smoking. Turn down that Marlboro on Diana's roof! Running will also whip you into shape and maybe you won't gain 20 lbs when you start college.

Have fun at college but remember: you need to have a little respect for yourself. Make sure you surround yourself with real friends who'll watch your back when you drink too much. Stay away from vodka in dorm rooms. Also stay away from newly-initiated frat boys. Definitely don't mix the two. Major in writing. You'll have a handful of people telling you to do this from the time you're about 15 and it's good advice. When you graduate, utilize their job assistance program. Otherwise, you'll end up working a series of crappy jobs that pay nothing.

When you're nearing your 22nd birthday, you'll meet the man you're going to marry. Make sure he keeps running, he'll lament the day he stopped. Realize that things with your roommates will, for whatever reason, turn sour but that's okay. Real friends have a way of finding their way back to each other again.

That's right, I said married. He'll move mountains for you - and move across mountains for you - and you'll finally realize how you're supposed to be treated.
Cherish him, he's a real diamond in the rough. He'll make you laugh like you've never laughed before.

That's enough for now. A few lessons to carry with you though, and I want you to write them down and put them in your wallet:

1. People are human. Some people are shitty humans. Follow the Golden Rule and treat others like you want to be treated. Remember that not everyone follows this rule though. Take the high road. You'll feel better about it. "Whatever you do today you'll have to sleep with tonight."

2. Be your own self-promoter. Be no one's doormat. The squeaky wheel really does get the grease.

3. Realize that not everyone will agree with your decisions. Don't get all in a funk about that. Stop being a people-pleaser. Say what you want to say, be as honest as you want. If people don't like it, that's their problem.

4. Always pursue freelance writing. Don't give up so easily.

5. Stay away from credit cards. They're bad news.

6. Buy a digital camera before your daughter's born in 2005. You'll wish you'd had it.

7. Love yourself. Find something positive to say about yourself everyday and drown out the mean assholes with a smile and a song.

You, almost 19 years down the line


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