May 16, 2008
Yes, I know Pontotoc is small and you feel trapped sometimes, but don’t be in a hurry. There’s a great big world out there and you’re going to see a lot of it, I promise.
For now, take a deep breath and listen to me!
Don’t drive so fast down Longview Road, and wave at Mrs. Simon when you run by Michael’s. Don’t hold hands in high school. It’s corny. Have honest conversations. Wear more red. You’ll get black into your wardrobe soon enough. Your affection is a treasure. Give it to your dad.
Your heart’s going to be shattered more than once, but you’re so very much stronger than you think you are. Embrace the hurt. The memories of it are going to help you heal eventually.
Keep running. Run fast and with purpose. If you quit, it’s really hard to start again. Trust me. One step after the other and run for you. Not to chase whims or to get away from uncertainty. Run to be healthy and strong and to have time for yourself.
Don’t try and do it all. You don’t have to be in every club or at every social event. The most important relationship you’re building right now is the one with Jesus. Let Him be the one that hears your cries.
And for heaven’s sake, don’t cry so much! You don’t have to! You’re stronger than that and all the things that people say now are just going to get worse, but you’re going to know who you are and you’re going to be proud of her someday. So, move on! Forget the people that guess and judge and condemn. Be real with your mom, be real with Jesus, and let the masses think what they may. Who really cares anyway? Hello! You live in a town of 5,000. Great big world, remember?
Hang out with your grandmothers more. Yes, I know you see them all the time, but really spend time with them. Pick strawberries with Mamaw and let her teach you to sew and quilt and can tomatoes. Help her rake her yard and walk to baseball games with her. Go to yard sales with Gran and sit on the swing with her. And don’t roll your eyes when she talks about all the traffic on Highway 6. Write down the stories that she tells you, watch her cook biscuits, and let her show you how to make paper dolls.
Never, ever say the word “diet.” It’s of the devil. You look great in jeans and in your swimsuit. I promise. Sweetheart, you’re going to miss size 8s and cross-back guard suits. So, go easy on the chocolate milk and remember that part about running? Yeah, keep at it.
Read all the books that Mrs. Rutledge suggests. Any woman with kids your age that has a cool haircut like hers, knows good literature. And when Mrs. Crane asks you to write creatively, do it. Look at all of her pictures of Eudora Welty and throw caution to the wind! Write without shame or fear, but don’t take her French class. You’re not going to France.
And dance more in streets with your best friend and sing more with William and write more poetry and live more for you and stay home more with your Mom and Dad, they’re really stinking cool even if you don’t know it yet. And they’re the best example you’re going to see of what family is.
You’ll really miss it all. That little town and all the people in it. So, take notes. Take pictures. Be brave. Be reckless. Don’t be tied down. Don’t be so sensitive. Stand up for yourself. Say, “no” sometimes. Eat the lemon pie at Paul and Bonnie’s. Save some money, but don’t work so much. Listen to Coach Bain and trust his judgement. Always carry chapstick. Take your piano lessons seriously. And enjoy it all. You’ll never get it back. Not like it was.
And someday, like when you’re 27 or so, you’re going to wish you could write yourself a note.
Hang in there,
An older you
What would you write to your sixteen year old self?