Letter From My Childhood

Ms. Brenda Moguez
88888 Future Avenue
Time Beyond Today, the World at Large

Dear Sister-Self (my true soul sister) ME!

I’m sixteen today. Can you believe it? I have breasts, curves, and I passed my driving test this afternoon. Dad gave me the keys to his prize possession, the Gold, mint condition, Chevy Impala, and told me to take it for a spin – ON MY OWN! Now I can drive myself to work. That’s right, Sister-Self, I have a part-time job at the mall. I’m working at a pet store. Besides all the puppies, which are the best ever, I have all new friends. They are so cool. They’re older than I am, a few are ancient, thirty-something, smoke and drink, but they treat me good, as if I’m one of them.

That’s the best part about working here; I’m an equal in their eyes. They don’t care that I’m different, you know. Until getting this job, I was miserable and certain I’d be one of those tormented teenagers who suffered under the weight of not fitting in all through high school. It was brutal. Once the bell for first period rang, my daily life consisted of dodging verbal assaults and the death ray eye evaluations, the up and down once overs, followed by the tsk-tsk, and finger in the back of throat. I changed the lyrics to Pat Benatar’s song from ‘Love’ is a Battlefield, to ‘Life’, and hummed it to myself while walking from class to class, as sort of armor. It helped get through the crap.

“Why do you dress like a hippy? Why are you always reading? Why does your mom work? Doesn’t your dad make enough money?”

I like vintage and funky. Is that a crime? What do these kids know about hippies. We’re in the middle of orange groves and cow pastures, smack in the middle of no-where-ville, twenty miles southeast of Hollywood in one of those new housing developments. As for Mom, well she went back to school. She says she has a job with potential now. Even though she is the only mom with a job, I think it’s good for her. It’s good for us too; we drive into Hollywood every month, go to dinner, and see a play after. Dad still reads literature aloud (it’s kind of weird) but he wants us to know the greats he says. His favorites are Chandler, Hammett, and Maugham, but I like it when he reads Poe the best. I guess we were always going to be different with parents like ours.

Between Mom and Dad, and my new friends from work, I’ve realized there is not a damn thing wrong with being who I am, just as I am. I get it now, being different is scarier to those who conform to norms than those of us who don’t. I totally understand people now. It gives me an edge. I’ve found out something I want to tell you about, something I never want us to forget.

Being different is lonely. It takes courage, more than I ever knew I had, to be honest. I don’t know why I’m the way I am, or if you, my future sister-self, will stay this way, but I hope you do because being different is a cut above average and another kind of special. It’s what Norma Jean must have felt like the day she put on her white halter dress and stood over the vent. No matter what happened before or after, she left a mark on this world. It took some kind of courage for her to be who she was. Make sense?

That’s what I want you to remember. I know it’s gonna be hard, brutal even. It’s not something you can read about in a book or something mom and dad can tell you, it’s something you just have to be. It’s inside of your skin, in the beat of your heart, and in the rush of your breath. But it’s okay. Being different is who you are it’s us.

Maybe turning sixteen fried my brains and amped my hormones, who knows. All I can tell you is to stay true to you, to us, and life will be amazing. Promise to tell our kids, if we ever fall in love and have babies (ICK!!), they should know, too.

That’s it Sister-Self, Brenda. One more thing, don’t forget what it feels like to be sixteen and amped. I’m sure it will come in handy one day when you’re all stressed out about being grown up.

I’ll care of me if you promise to take of you.

Xoxoxoxox
(Oh, the picture is of us at work on Halloween – we had a blast).

What would your younger self say to you?

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I’m a writer and hoarder of one-size-fits-all panty hose. Until the hose fits over my bum, I write to provide an alternative view on writing and perfection.

23 thoughts on “Letter From My Childhood

  1. This is great! Did your sixteen year old self really write this? I’m not sure what I’d say, but I did write myself some email that is supposed to be mailed to me at a future date. I’m not sure when or what I said, but it’s a cool program. Hopefully, you have not disappointed your sixteen year old self.
    Joyce recently posted….School ProjectsMy Profile

    • Thanks, Joyce. No she didn’t but the sentiments are hers (or mine) what I felt and learned during that time made all the difference in the way I came through high school. I’m pretty sure my sixteen year-old self would be beaming right now if she could see me. :-)

  2. What a great letter! If we all could realize at sixteen that “being different” is not only Okay but the only way we can ever be ourselves, distinct from all others. Another part of that, of course, is the realization that we are all the same–same fears, longing to be loved, to distinguish ourselves, to be successful, etc. To be connected, invested in the whole of humanity even while expressing in an absolutely unique, individual way the potential of what that means. I can understand the person who commented that thinking about writing to her sixteen year old self makes her want to cry. We all in in such need of that hug from our higher self and so seldom give it. It makes me want to cry too!
    Deborah J. Brasket recently posted….Sea, Sky, Earth, Fire–My Daughter on Her Wedding DayMy Profile

  3. Outstanding!
    I read a book last year called Dear Me: A Letter to my 16-year Old Self (all these famous people wrote letters to their 16 year old selves). I did it for fun myself, posting it my blog. Now, I’ve never done it the other way around… A letter from my 16-year old self to me now. Hmmmmm … might try it :)
    Astra recently posted….Domestic Labour Unrest …My Profile

  4. Great post.

    My younger self would probably say, “does it get better?”.

    At 16, I felt desperately alone and unhappy, even with a new older boyfriend who hung around for the next 3 years.

    She’d also probably say, “keep writing” because back then, my writing was my life, the thing that kept me sane.

    Thanks for sharing.
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  5. I find this post so relevant to me, Brenda. When doing my morning pages I find myself going back again and again to a time when I was 16 – a difficult time in my life and one that defined a lot of the rest of my life, until recently. I’m going to do this exercise for sure – even if I don’t publish it!
    Thank you for the inspiration today and always!
    Corinne Rodrigues recently posted….Writing and Living FreeMy Profile

  6. coincidentally, I was just thinking about when I was a young girl. Remembering not wanting to forget what it was like to be a young girl. Assuring myself I wouldn’t get caught up in all those things grown ups get hung up on. And I think this post is so great – what a great exercise! I love the line about the younger self taking care of her if the older self will take care of that one. Sometimes so many years go by we almost feel like 2 different beings. And you’re right, each of us should take care of our “self” as we pass through this life.
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  7. Hi Brenda,

    Your sixteen year old self gave your grown-up self some pretty good advice.

    My sixteen year old self was not as wise, but he would tell me to be certain to: find a way to enjoy whatever I was doing, always give others the benefit of the doubt (at least the first time), and never be afraid to be myself.
    Ray Colon recently posted….When Everything Seems NewMy Profile

  8. I would cringe to listen to the voice of myself at sixteen. She would ask if I could possibly be alive, because surely Jesus would’ve raptured us away by now. That all my problems could be solved by trusting in Him, and that despite my yearning towards other kinds of books, from classic long tomes and slim volumes of poetry and trashy paperbacks with heaving bosums and Fabio on the cover, that the only book I needed was the Bible.

    Poor little girl. I deprogrammed myself a year or so later, and rediscovered life, and music and boys! She meant well, and the love overflowing her heart then, still overflows mine now, but I no longer believe there is only One Right Way to honor our souls.
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  9. My younger self would have been impressed by the now-me (heehee). Okay, albeit just slightly. She didn’t believe much in achieving dreams cos she didn’t think that would be possible. I just hope she’d smiled more.

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