On Yes And Yes, Sarah started a chain of people writing letters to their 22 year old selves. Unfortunately, I am 22, but I still wanted to participate, so I wrote to my 12 year old self, so here it goes.
[Disclaimer: When I was 9, I began calling myself Joey, though I don’t know that I ever told anyone I wanted to be called that. Joey was short for Josephina. This lasted for a very long time, and I’m not entirely sure when this stopped.]
Right now, you are in the rock bottom of your life. I’m serious. This is as bad as things get. The good news is, things will get better. I’m not saying that things won’t get bad again, but things will never get this bad again.
I wish I could tell you all about your future, but we both know that if I gave you dates and times, I wouldn’t exist because you’d ruin the fabric of time and space. Instead, I will impart some of the wisdom I have gathered in our ten year difference, and hopefully that won’t ruin things too much.
For starters, you are scared of your body, and you have every right to be. Your body is fucking terrifying and no one gave you an instruction manual on it. You have no idea what changes are happening and no one is talking to you about it and school health classes are a joke. I still don’t know what happens to my body sometimes. We lack that body education all other women somehow magically receive. So unfortunately, that means I can’t tell you anything that’s really new to you, but I will say that if you can convince someone to let you get your legs waxed, do that. It’s expensive and you’re going to do it in the future, so it’s best to start on someone else’s dime. You can’t keep pretending you’re a boy forever.
Next, and this might be the most important thing this letter will ever say, embrace your weirdness. I’m not talking about your baldness, but like what you like and stop caring what people think. You’re weird. It’s awesome. Don’t be afraid to wear what you want to wear. If someone asks about your eyebrows, lie and tell them you’re in a gang and you have to shave your eyebrows. Be cool to yourself, cause right now, I think I’m the coolest person alive, and that’s a feeling I should’ve had much earlier in life.
Appreciate the people in your life more. Your mother has done some serious damage to your head, but that doesn’t mean that everyone is out to get you. Give your stepmother a chance. Stop taking out your disappointment about your new life out on her. Love your grandmother more than ever and make as many memories as you can with her. Keep the people important to you close, and let them know that you love them. Love while you can.
That being said, you need to stop loving some people so much. You need to learn to let go of the people who continually disappoint you, the people who have manipulated you, the people who are poisoning your thoughts against others. While you can love both parents at the same time, an argument that everyone in your life seems to think you’re incapable of, I think you should just love neither. Cut those ties now and your life will be a lot less stressful.
STOP DESTROYING THINGS WHEN YOU’RE ANGRY. Seriously, I want to wring your little neck for this. This is why we can’t have nice things. When you’re angry, go take your new puppy for a walk or write, but STOP destroying your own stuff! I mean, come on, at least destroy someone else’s stuff.
Get over your fear of PDA. You’re not supposed to take the whole “Cover your eyes, there are people kissing” thing so seriously. This will help tremendously, so please stop being awkward.
Start making a serious attempt at therapy. Enjoy it while it’s free. You might actually be able to work through some of your issues, and yes, you have many issues. I’m not saying that you’re super flawed, but everyone has issues, and you could improve yourself tremendously if you stop lying to yourself. You need this.
I want you to know that I’m proud of how far you’ve come, and how far you’ll go. This is the year you’ll get into photography. Take more pictures! Keep more of your pictures and don’t destroy them! Another side bit, but this one for 17 year old Jessica, please keep raw copies of your photos! I mean, you can do that, too, but remember that. And while journaling is not a good idea until you are probably out of the house, maybe keep an art journal or start scrapbooking? Just a suggestion.
Anyway, try to stay out of trouble! I know how hard that is for you!