Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A Letter to my Fifteen Year Old Self

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Dear Fifteen Year Old Self (fyos),

I just dropped off your daughter for her first day of school. You have three daughters. (I know. Stop laughing) This one is the oldest. She's fifteen. Yeah yeah, cry. You do in fact get OLD. Older than you think you will get. But dropping her off got me thinking about you, and so I thought I might send you a little note.

First things first. You know that boy? The one everyone is in love with? You know who I'm talking about. STAY AWAY. He will eat ten years of your life. And then throw them back up in your face. Really. You deserve better.

Don't skip any more classes. You need that education. (You end up spending your entire life in school, isn't that funny!)

When everyone else is making fun of that girl in school, don't join in. You did. You even kicked her while swinging your legs as she walked by you on her way to her desk. Everyone laughed. This will haunt you. When you get the lead in the school play, you will be freaking out backstage because you don't have earrings on, and she will pull hers off her ears and put them in your palm. AND YOU don't even go ON until act TWO!!!!!!!!!! She may have made a good friend if you'd taken a closer look.

Your father is not coming home. Stop using his absence as a crutch. He is simply gone. When you meet him again, he will be solid and stable and not half as interesting as you think he is.

Your mother is afraid of you. She tells you that years later. It's why she lets you do all sorts of things you shouldn't be able to do. I know, I know, everyone thinks she is the "cool" mom... but this gets problematic. You will blame her... and she will blame you... so why not take a little responsibility and stop acting like an ASS? Try for a second, Miss cooler than thou? Okay?

Oh. You don't move to Paris and write novels and drink yourself into an early grave. You don't even write your first novel until you are thirty seven and it is NOT brilliant. It is a first novel. Most of them suck. You should have written that earlier. Can you write that one? Can this note change the past? Hmmmmm...

I will have to ask Sarah.

I wish it were different, but I try not to think about you too much.
I wish we could have liked each other better.
I wish all those things never happened to you. I wish someone had noticed you were really very small and fragile even though your mouth was so freaking big.
I suppose what I am really trying to say is... I'm sorry. I should have taken better care of you. Hold tight. It all comes out in the wash. I promise.


*NOTE* A much better version of this post that will make you laugh till you cry is on I think Therefore I blog. Check it out!


  1. Lump in throat.

    Does that boy live everywhere? He ate ten years of my life too.

  2. Beautiful. Poignant. And will you please get out of my head!!! I've been thinking about this type of thing a lot lately. It takes some of us longer to figure things out than others...

  3. That boy gets around, I only gave him four years. I love that you used 'It all comes out in the wash' I heard that a lot growing up. Great letter!

  4. Wow! Beautiful, as always! I love your posts! And that girl with the earrings? I thought that kind of thing only happened in the movies.

  5. I often wonder what it would be like to be age 10, 12, 15, 21 again...knowing what I know now. Would it be miserable, or a complete blast? Lovely post. Oh, and the boy you wasted 10 years on that seemed to be everywhere at once? Well, he was too busy to make it to my skinny, shy neck of the woods!

  6. That boy made it to Chicago, too. And, did she really hand you her earrings? Oh, Suzanne.

    The seeds of many novels can be found in this gem of a post. Nice work.

  7. Well, normally, I don't like being outshone but *this*, I am okay with! My heart constricted a little -- the boy you wasted 10 years on? The girl that gave you her earrings? And that final paragraph nearly made me cry.
    I am oh-so glad you didn't go to Paris and drink yourself to an early grave.
    You forgot to commend yourself for how wise you turned out, how strong you were to get through what you did and how poetic your words are now. (Also, how every writer secretly wishes they could borrow them...your words, I mean.)
    You turned out pretty good, Miss Suzanne!

  8. I loved this post and I loved Sarah's too. Funny, because Sarah's post got me started on a letter to my younger self as well. I didn't post it, but I wrote one on my head. I think I might have been a lot like you as a kid. I had a freaking big mouth too and an attitude to match, yet underneath I was crumbling.

    And I agree with Sarah; I am very glad you never made an early grave due to french wine. ;)

  9. Really great post. I, too, drove my 15 year old to school this year and dropped her off with her newly highlighted hair and contact lenses and black eyeliner and dark wash jeans with zippers at the ankle and converse high tops *sigh*.

    It was all good till the senior asked her to homecoming...YIKES!!! Luckily, we have a family policy of no dating till 16, so he will have to wait another year and I was so glad that she was okay with it all.

    Anyway, I digress here...but it was fun. so, thanks.

  10. Suzanne:

    I--just--love--you. That's it. Period.

  11. As I was reading my 2-year-old daughter woke up and called out for me. I rocked her for a bit and tried to imagine her at 15. Impossible!

    This is lovely, relatable and a little heart wrenching - precisely what I've come to expect from your blog.

  12. I'm deeply touched. I think I need to go write a letter to my fifteen-year-old self. You are amazing!

  13. This was great Suzanne! I know you probably hate country music, but Brad Paisley has a song "If I could write a letter to me" and it almost makes me cry everytime I hear it. Very similar to your post. But your post is much more brilliantly written than the song of course :) I swear I have never appreciated that whole "youth is wasted on the young" thing until the last few years. Imagine if we had the wisdom of now with the energy and bodies of 20 years ago! But then I guess we wouldn't be who we are.........
    Thanks for the great post! Hope Rosie enjoyed her first day!!

  14. "I should have taken better care of you"
    Now you've made me cry, but that's okay, too.

  15. I love this... it made me cry a little and it inspired me. :)

  16. Great letter to yourself. This got me thinking. What would I say to myself? I'm not sure, but I think I feel a creative writing exercise coming on. Thanks! :)

  17. fragile. thats what memories are. some hurt some amuse. yet they all can shatter.

  18. Again! Thanks for all the comments. I am putting up a new contest soon.... YAY you!

  19. Wow this is a great post. I dwell so much on the things which still haunt me from my past and my stupid choices. The biggest landscape we have near us, with the best view, is our past. It's easy to get used to looking over it. It would be great to be able to go back to the past and kick start ourselves at those milestone ages.

    So you followed the idea you'd seen done somewhere else? So it wouldn't be too rotten of me to have a go at this myself? It looks enlightening!

  20. Pinkerbell,

    PLEASE DO!!!! I will be looking for it!

  21. This is a letter I have written to myself in my heart many times. You've written my life in your life and in so many ways, I am grateful to you. You consistently amaze me. How you ever found my blog in a sea of blogs, I don't know but I feel like the driftwood that lead me back to yours has turned into an anchor. I love it here. I love your words. And I quite believe I love you as well.

  22. Suzanne...
    this is profound.
    simple. essential for peace and perspective.

    i love all of it, but i love the end the best...
    "It all comes out in the wash."

    happy now.

    peace~ Chuck