Dear 12 year old Meredith –
You grabbed your clickety, yellow, throw away camera, handed it to your poor, obliging father, and asked him to take your photo…in your first ‘teenage’ bikini…then posed like this. You couldn’t see this situation clearly because you were a little baby. You wanted to be a woman, but you had no idea what that even meant.
12 year old Meredith – if you were smart, you’d go back in that purple room, and do twelve year old things. You wouldn’t have ‘friends’ who were somehow even dumber that you; you would decide who was worth your time, who wasn’t, then make the ones who were vital and present in your life priority; you would be happy being 12 and not want so badly to be 14 or 16 or 18. Because you won’t have the answers then, either. You would realize that there is life past middle school…even past high school.
12 year old Meredith – you are worth more than anything you can dream of. You have a family who will do anything for you, at any time. So what if they aren’t touchy feel-y and mushy? You’ve probably pushed all of that away on your own. If you could see into the future, you would know how important they are. And how important this time is. And how fast it goes, even though it doesn’t feel like it. And you would do anything in your power to make them happy and proud; not scared or quiet.
12 year old Meredith – you should have started dancing two years ago. Maybe just one. It will change your life. But… It’s coming! In 2005 you will start dancing and things will never be the same. You will be free and find life in so many more & beautiful things.
12 year old Meredith – in 8 short years, you will have a reason to change your name. And not the way you think. You’ll change it because you will lose deeply and hurt so much worse than anything your feeling now. In 8 years, the real sadness will come. It will make you realize that what you are dealing with now isn’t even serious. Then, 2 years later, it will happen again.
12 year old Meredith – you aren’t depressed. And you aren’t crazy. It’s probably just anxiety. And hormones. And stories from people who are just as confused as you. You’re fine and you’re healthy. Be kind to yourself and let others be kind to you.
12 year old Meredith – don’t let just anyone cut your hair. Stop trying to do things cheap because when it comes to those locks, IT JUST AIN’T WORTH IT.
12 year old Meredith – sometimes (more than you give yourself credit for) you do make good choices and you should be proud for that.
12 year old Meredith – I promise, having a ‘boyfriend’ is such a waste of your time. Think of how many more friends you’d have if you invested that time and energy into girl friends.
12 year old Meredith – you are choosing the wrong role models. They don’t care about you and your innocence is worth more than what they can see.
12 year old Meredith – save that pose for college. Better yet, just save it for when you’re alone. It’s perfectly fine to want to do whatever you want in front of the mirror in your room. But don’t document it, because then you’ll feel inclined to write about it in 12 years.
12 year old Meredith – be kind to your brother. You are so very different right now, but he is built in, and you for him, so take advantage of that. You will soon see eye to eye and realize how much you need each other.
12 year old Meredith – modesty is beautiful. Tight clothes don’t make you anything more. You are enough without showing your precious skin.
12 year old Meredith – go easy on those eyebrows, dammit.
12 year old Meredith – keep writing.
And say whatever you want. And if it is too harsh or ugly, burn it. Then write it again if you have to, but burn it again. And if it’s real and raw, then good. And if it’s make believe, then good. And if it’s hopes, dreams, goals, then frame it.
12 year old Meredith – the term ‘selfie’ has not been created yet, but you and Megan will soon master them. But it wouldn’t hurt to leave the crazy faces for when the camera is tucked nicely away. Your smile is quite enough.
…And model face? You don’t have one, so stop. Just smile.
12 year old Meredith – you don’t have to decide what you want to be when you grow up or what to go to college for now, but it’d be so awesome if you started thinking about it. Really. Cause you kind of screwed yourself on that one.
12 year old Meredith – mascara and eyeliner are your friend, but come on…let’s be civil about it.
Dear 24 year old Meredith – you are awesome.
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