I was incredibly moved by this video, posted by a friend (who I think is friends with the video author:)
And I literally couldn't stop thinking about it, so I did what I often do when I can't stop thinking about something, I wrote. I thought at first I might create a similar video expressing similar sentiments, but Mark does a quite phenomenal job with his, and as it turns out, I hate looking at myself on video. My talents lean more toward the written word, so write I did. This is one of those blog posts that wrote itself, I served as transcriber. I hope it means something to you. What would YOU tell your 16 or 18 year old self?
Dear Karen at age 17
Hi there. It's me. I'm almost forty now. Stop it with that ridiculous gawk. 40 is the new 30, or so the media keeps telling me. Whatever, here I am, and there you are. I've got some shit to say, girl, so listen up.
First, you're doing a good job. Keep your chin up. Ignore the idiots at school. Whether it's the second or third school in four years, it has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them whether the kids accept you or not. Your family had to move around, so what? Should I tell you now that the Georgetown thing didn't work out? But don't despair. Northwestern was full of an incredibly great group of people, including some really cute guys. Well, one in particular. You'll love him. Really, you will. And Amy. Listen to her when she says stuff, she's got that wisdom thing you're always looking for.
Second, the fact that bouncing around in high school meant you took a bunch of ridiculous classes to fulfill ridiculous guidelines you didn't know existed, this is a bunch of crazy. And it matters not even a little bit when you move beyond, so just deal with it, embrace the experiences, you'll be fine.
You know what else? Be nice to that girl in French class. You're going to run into her again in about 18 years and you're going to help her with questions she has about breastfeeding her babies and she's going to be so glad and you're going to be the rock star. Yep, breastfeeding, taking care of the neighbor's kids when they were itty bitty will be a great foundation. Don't forget to thank mom, either. She gets touchy when you forget that she breastfed all five of us.
Third, don't get cocky about the idea that the kids at school think you're smart. Calc II will kick your butt and show you who's boss. And a C+ will feel like a mercy fuck and you will be grateful. I believe that marks the first time I've used the F word in this blog (it's a family blog!) - but you see, I care about you so much I had to say it so you'd get the point. Your life is bigger than Calculus II. Your life is bigger than the guy who wants to get into your pants when you're CERTAIN you're not ready for that. Your life is bigger than the people in the lunchroom who didn't notice you (be kind, they've been at the same school together a long time. You'd be the same if it were you. It's not your fault that it's not.)
But the most important thing I have to say is: He's. Not. Worth. It. But on the other hand, surviving it will make you stronger. You are awesome, and when you find him (the capital H him...), when you figure it out (be kind with yourself, it might take you a little time to figure it out. See aforementioned point about listening to Amy) you will feel that little click in your head, in your heart, and it's real. And it's all real. And they are real. They are PEOPLE, these two you create with your soul mate. They are beautiful and they love you more than the sun and the moon and all the stars in the sky. And you have GOT to be here to meet them, create them, be their mom. This is the most important thing you will ever do.
So, girl, don't you DARE think about cutting yourself. Your skin is just fine, even if a little blemished. Don't you DREAM about the other ways you can hurt yourself. You get down, you go TALK to someone. Mom and dad will help you find someone if you need. And the booze? Lay off a bit. Some of those guys who are not worth it think drunk girls are an invitation to be a sleaze. And if you can't lay off the sauce, get yourself a couple good girlfriends (see aforementioned point about Amy, yo. You need about three of her to get yourself through to age 40.)
Hey, sweetie, you need to be here. It is an awesome place to be. Can't wait to see you.