#13

Dear Zoey,

So, I talked last time about what I would tell my former child self, and today, I’m gonna talk about what I would tell my former adolescent self.

Adolescence is hard. For anyone. The obvious changes physically and emotionally make you feel like a walking moron half the time. You feel like no one understands you, and it can get really lonely. You never feel pretty or valuable or interesting. And I would tell my former self: you are beautiful and vibrant and enthusiastic. You are valuable and interesting. Don’t doubt the impression you can make on the world because you may be young, but you are fierce and you can change the world. I would tell her that you should never settle for friends that treat you poorly or belittle you. I would tell her to slow down, life goes fast enough, stop trying to speed it up.  I would tell her that kindness is not weakness. You can be bold and strong, but also be compassionate and kind. In fact, true kindness comes out of a deep strength of character. I would tell her that her body is beautiful, not awkward. I would tell her that karma will always work its magic. Keep giving out positive energy, and it will be returned to you.

I would never want to relive my pre-teen or teenage years. Ever. And I have some great memories, and some great friendships were born out of that time, but those years were tough. So, when you come home from your first real heartbreak, I will let you cry on my shoulder, or lock yourself in your room while you listen to sad songs. When you feel chubbier than all of your friends, or hate your new haircut, I will look you in your eyes and tell you that you are the most beautiful thing in my world. I will recite one of my favorite slam poems from Kate Makkai,

“This is about my own someday daughter.
When you approach me, already stung stained with insecurity begging,
‘Mom, will I be pretty?’
‘Will I be pretty?’
I will wipe that question from your mouth like cheap lipstick and answer, ‘No!
…The word pretty is unworthy of everything you will be!
And no child of mine will be contained in five letters.
You will be pretty intelligent.
You will be pretty creative.
Pretty amazing.
But you…will never be merely pretty.”

When you can’t figure out your emotions, and end up angry…all the time. I will try to be understanding. I’ll snap too. I’ll be reminded of all the times I felt misunderstood and realize that I now must step back and allow you to grow. I mean it when I say…I will be here for you no matter what.

Love you baby girl,
Mama

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