|Photo by Julian Bialowas.|
Dear Linda, Age 12:
Before you ask the big question, I'll answer it: we're n o t famous. We haven't been published. And it's a good thing, too, because sometimes it's painful to read what you wrote with a straight face. (Oh, and about how you keep using the word erudite: I don't think it means what you think it means.) You wrote all that stuff about sixteen-year-olds driving and doing drugs and I'm reading what you wrote and
I'm laughing out loud. Because I just got my permit this January. I don't drink. I don't party. I'm probably not gonna drive until I'm 21. It's weird: I became the exact antithesis of the girl we wanted to be. But I won't have it any other way.
Our mom finally got us push-up bras, we got our period, we're not lesbian, and we're reasonably attractive. Boys actually like us now. So it doesn't really suck to be us anymore.
You're homesick but let me tell you that in the South, you will meet some of the best friends that you will ever have. You will learn Southern charm. Etiquette. How to stand up for something you believe in.
(How to be a human being.)
Jenna S. hates you, I know. But she's not going to do so well in high school--so let her enjoy her moment. And when I think about it, seventh grade is miserable but you're still pretty freakin' lucky.
There are worse things, much worse, that you'll have to go through. Two of your friends will pass away in the same year. But I want you to keep on writing, keep on creating.
It never really heals. You just get to the point that it gets bearable and you don't feel like you're going to choke on your own heartbeat in your throat.You might not think you're ready for this, but the truth is that no one ever is. Spend more time with our parents. Don't quit piano to spite them. Put in that extra 10 percent of effort even when you think it won't make a difference, because it does.
Look for the beauty in others and take time to appreciate the humanity still left in manunkind (as e.e. cummings once put it).
Tell the people you love just how much they mean to you while they can still hear you. And don't
live for anyone else. Because we think we have so much time left
and we don't.
One last thing.
We're going to be okay.
I know it.
Linda, age 17