Today, Gae is on my blog with a letter to her teen self. She is ALSO on my dear friend and CP Amy's blog with a letter to her future self. You should read both. She's that amazing. And when you're done reading this, leave a comment and I'll buy one of you a copy of THE PULL OF GRAVITY.
Dear Teen Gae,
Ah, grumpy girl.
Ah, grumpy girl.
So, life as a teenager can be totally suckish and hard. I get it. You’ve had braces and (aviator) glasses and your back has a curve (<--- closeted Boston brace-wearer. On after school, off before).
Your friends are flaky.
Your sister is better at things.
And you don’t always succeed the way you want to.
But here’s the thing. Sure, it’s partly just an age thing, but, bozo chicky, it’s partly because you LET it be so suckish and hard.
Geesh! Put a smile on your face and have some grace. And make some better choices.
You focus on the wrong things, and, man, you know how to pick the wrong friends.
FYI, those girls: shallow and catty. And those boys? Um, yeah, good football players, but, brain surgeons? No, not exactly.
I promise you, there are nice, smart, fun kids in middle and high school. So, STOP worrying about your hair and popularity, and GO HANG WITH THE HONOR SOCIETY KIDS!
I’m not going to convince you now any better than your mother did then, am I?
Okay, fine. Never mind. Finish that Jane Fonda exercise tape, lie flat on your back so you can zip up those skin-tight Jordache jeans so not a single wrinkle remains, slip on your spike-heeled Candies clogs, then come here and sit with me. We’ll blow dry your perfectly-feathered hair for the gazillionth time today, smooth on some Bonne Bell Lip Smacker, and talk about a few minor things that might save you.
First, read this book.
Why? Because your mother left it on your bed. You roll your eyes now, but you will read it. And every day when you leave for school, your mother will call, “IALAC” to you as you walk out the door. She will pronounce it wrong – “ILIAC!” – and you won’t necessarily believe it at first, but you will remember it and it will become embedded in your brain.
Sincere repetition is a kind of delayed magic. Trust me on this. And, remember it when you have your own kids.
Second. Try to act smart and keep your sense of humor. You’re a fairly smart and funny kid. And teachers love smart and funny. Deans love smart and funny. Employers love smart and funny. And your “Biggest Brownnose” award will go way further toward getting you appropriate college application recommendations from those teachers than your Best Body Award. (<-- geesh, seriously! I kid you not. In 1982 they gave those). And in 2012, when you’re 40-something *coughs*, that sense of humor will still buoy you while all your body parts sag.
Wait. Where was I?
Third. Pick a few quality friends. Okay, fine, how about one? All you really need is one good friend. Yep, fine. She’s a keeper. Of course, you will go through your trials and tribulations, but she is smart and funny too, and thirty years from now you will still be deeply connected.
And, fourth: Date the “Bodies,” the Schmoes, the Razzle-dazzlers, but marry the smart, funny, humble, loyal, (and, if you are lucky, handsome) guy who sees eye-to-eye on life, the world, and politics, and can croon a nice tune.
Trust me on this one. Go for substance over form. You’ll be surprised how long substance will last you. Even through the roughest of times.
Good luck. Now, go fix your pants. I think I see a small wrinkle of space that crept in there.
Love, Present Gae