Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Decade

Last week I got a letter in the mail. It was addressed to my parent's house in Illinois, but they forwarded it to me. It was a letter that I wrote when I was 13 to myself in 10 years. My seventh grade English teacher had us all write letters to ourselves and she would mail them to us 10 years later, which she did.

It has given me a lot to think about. "It's like a time capsule," I wrote on May 19, 1999. Indeed it is. I spent the first page writing how my day had been with details like what I ate for breakfast and whose locker was next to mine and the test in geography on Russia and Europe that day. I also recorded the basic horrors of junior high and puberty (as if I could forget), "I was so scared of what people thought of me when I rode up to the school and parked my bike. I usually get teased about my hair and get comments of "greasy!" because I have really oily hair. It really hurts me."

One thing that is probably more interesting to my mom than me is that I wrote down my little brother's toddler-speak. He was 2 at the time and I wrote down some of the words he knew- how he pronounced them and what they meant.

The second page is mostly a run down of my family- what I think of each of them and my relationship with them. It's interesting to see which things have and haven't changed. What I think is most telling is the paragraph about myself, "I am such a mess," "I need to get things under control," and "I hope you love yourself.'

I thought of myself as a child and I thought of Margaret. I thought about why I wrote that. Is that how I'd like Margaret to think of herself when she's 13? Can I help her have a more positive transition into adulthood?

Reading this letter was like remembering a smell- suddenly all the feelings I had when I wrote the letter came back to me. I knew why I wrote each sentence- I even remembered what I had purposefully left out in order to be more optimistic. I tried to make myself look more satisfied in some places than I know I was. It's funny- you can't lie to yourself, can you?

At one point, I think I showed a little stroke of genius, "I think you should make another one of these and not open it until 10 more years." I think that's a great idea and I'm going to do it. It's really very interesting.

One sentence has been playing over and over in my head- it really resonated with me as a parent, "I hope I never yell at my kids." I still hope that. And I hope that Margaret never has to think that sentence.

2 comments:

  1. Very neat. I was at a home in 2006 for their FHE and for the activity we were to write down 5 things we want to accomplish for the new year. This was just before Christmas, and the items had to be Christ centered. I still have that in my scriptures now 2 years later. I still have not met the goals, but everyday I strive to be better. Thanks for sharing this.

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  2. I was teased a lot in school (and at church) as well but it has really inspired me to help my children become more confident. Hopefully they will be.

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