note to my sixteen year old self

Date May 16, 2008

Dear Emily,

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?


14 Responses to “note to my sixteen year old self”

  1. Blake said:

    You chose to write to your 16 year old self because that is half of your current age, right?

    I posted one of my own over at Awesome idea.

  2. Matt said:

    Just for the record….you left out Pizza Hut lunch buffet’s… 😉

  3. Summer said:

    Love this, Emily!

  4. Lou said:

    Since I am at work with a huge pile of work waiting on me to get started I will try to sum up my letter in brief statements and I agree with Blake, 16 is too far back. I think I will go back to 20.
    – don’t take crap from anyone.
    – live life to the absolute fullest.
    – travel but always come home.
    – be satisfied with where God currently has you because He does know best.

    I could go on if I had the time to ponder my thoughts more thoroughly.
    Love Ya and enjoy the day.

  5. Tami said:

    Emily, I love it! I’ve been trying to track you down and Mrs. Rita said you had a blog. I found it today. I’ve missed seeing your car parked across the street. lol I’ve never thought of writing to myself at a younger age. Boy, would that be interesting. There are some things I probably wouldn’t want people to know about me. Seeing that I’m getting so old!!!!

  6. Amyta said:

    This made me think about what I would write to myself NOW… at age 31. Maybe when I’m 45 I’ll have a lot advice for my 31 year-old self. I think the main thing is that ummm….. You’re hot!!!! Don’t think you’re getting old, or fat, or wrinkled….oh that will come later, and much worse than it is now. So, love yourself up. Sass yourself out. And work dem hips when you walk.
    Now if only I had that 22 year-old bod back….

  7. Trava said:

    I’d write, don’t be afraid to fail, learn from failing, always, always get back up and try again. Take time to pray, think, play, love and be loved and be a friend. Don’t live back here, but remember!
    Be blessed and remember your loved!!

  8. Brittany said:

    Love it! It is so completely true. Can I save this letter for Ada? Of course inserting in different names and such.

  9. Dani said:

    This took me forever to do! I thought way too much on this. I posted mine on my blog.

  10. Lauren said:

    I think I’ll keep this for my girls too.

  11. Sheila said:

    I work with Lou, my husband GaryPutt grew up in Longview and we live there now, our daughter is 16 and this fits for her, I want her to read this, it is so great, and true. I think you are very good at what you are doing from what Lou has told me, keep up the good work…

  12. Sisser said:

    You totally got this from me.

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