Dear Middle School Me,
Do you remember how we used to dress up in boy’s clothing because we thought skirts and feminine colors were the worst things to have in one’s closet?
Do you remember how we would rather walk the 2 and a half miles from school to home rather than accept a ride from our classmates’ parents out of pride?
Or how we had no interest in men or relationships because, secretly, we didn’t think we could get a good boy to be interested in us even if we tried?
Well, the good news is that that all changes. You grow to embrace skirts, the color pink, and frilly perfume within a few years. No, you don’t sell out and conform to the rules of pretty girls’ clique. You simply realize that you like dressing up every once in a while and looking pretty. You do it because you like it. You also take rides from your friends and their families all the time, because your friendship with them grows to a point where you no longer get uncomfortable asking them for favors. Plus, you get an awesome boyfriend in college. Yeah. Didn’t see that coming, did you?
A lot of things change for the better…
…but a lot of things don’t.
Remember how physically aggressive we used to be? Do you remember why we were that way? It was because we were extremely sensitive to criticism and couldn’t connect easily with other people. We had a tendency to distance ourselves emotionally from others, and we sometimes bullied our own friends.
Do you remember crying one birthday because it was the first birthday you didn’t spend with your extended family? Do you remember why we did that? It’s because we feared how distant we were becoming from our family and how the family we were still close to appeared to be falling apart.
Do you remember feeling like you had no motivation to do anything about your future education or career, because you had no idea what you liked to do or what you didn’t like? As if you were too busy just getting by with what you needed to get done now to analyze what about it brought your happiness or made you disgruntled…
Do you remember wondering about a lot of things and never having the answers? Do you remember being insecure about different aspects of our personality and physical appearence? Do you remember being anxious, or depressed, or even bored with life for long stretches of time?
None of that has gone away.
It’s been about 8 years now, and we still feel that way. We still think those things. We’re still tormented by those feelings.
But it’s okay, because in that time a lot of other things have changed. We’ve made great progress in feeling better about ourselves and our lives, and we have gone on to do more incredible things than we had ever imagined.
So have hope. With even more time, maybe the things we haven’t yet overcome will change too. Because the best thing we got from growing up was the realization that things do change, but at different speeds for unpredictable reasons.
Growing up has given us the ability to hope for a little more out of life, and that has been an incredible gift so far. Look forward to it.
Junior Year at College Self