Rebel gave us another writing challenge this week, “write a letter to the ten year old child you had been.” I considered writing another Larry piece and have him write the letter to himself. That would be interesting. But then I decided I would take the challenge as it is, as it was meant to be, and write a letter to my ten year old self. Cathartic? Possibly.
It is me, well you, um… oh jeez, that’s not the best way to start now is it? I am you, you are me. I just happen to be the you you become in about thirty years. Don’t freak out, it’s true. And don’t go yell at your brother, he didn’t do this. It really is me, well you. Now you’re probably thinking this is cool and I am going to tell you a bunch of awesome stuff that is going to happen to you, or the winning lottery numbers. Calm down, I’m not going to give you any winning lottery numbers. I am writing this letter to you today because I think it is important for you to know a few things earlier in life.
First, enjoy the time you get to spend with Mom and Dad. I know they both tend to push you and your brothers away, but they don’t do it because they don’t love you. They do it because they are hurting and don’t know what to do about it. Talk to them, play the piano for them, be silly and make them laugh. Don’t worry, they are both still alive and kicking, they just don’t end up doing it together much longer. In the end it’s the best thing they could have done. I know you see how things are. It will be better for you, and especially your little brother, when they move on with their lives apart. You won’t like either one of your new step-parents but that’s okay, you don’t have to. Just accept them for who they are and the fact that they make your parents happy.
You will feel as though nobody cares. That’s normal as children transition into teenagers. Don’t let this thought drown you. Remember that it is fleeting. Don’t run away with that pack from your closet or jump out of that bedroom window. See, I told you I was you. You never told anyone about those things, even after all these years and all the therapy. It’s okay, everyone should have therapy at some point in their lives. You will be spanked because you were bad and deserve a punishment. Granted, that hairbrush or Dad’s leather belt may not be the best methods to use but our parents do it because that’s what they learned from their parents. Learn, because of our parents, to change this with your own son. I still have horrible memories of that hairbrush. First chance you get at the cottage take it and throw it in the fire pit.
Next, take it easy on your twin brother will ya? That doesn’t mean let him away with everything. He needs some tough love, not hard knocks and not you fixing all his mistakes. He makes a lot of mistakes. Some of them he needs to make so he can learn from them, but others he makes because he is lost. Help him figure out who he is before he completely loses himself and drifts away from you and the family. It will break your heart when he and his daughter leave. You will never stop hurting and missing them. Your son will bring a new joy into your life though. Be thankful for that precious little guy.
Don’t ever let anyone put you down, abuse you, take advantage of you, or tell you that what you think, feel, or believe, is wrong. Just because some people have closed minds does not mean you need to close yours. It’s okay to be different. It’s okay to know things or do things people tell you you can’t possibly know or do. This may be a little cryptic but you will figure it out. You stand out in a good way. Keep doing that.
Speaking of abuse and taking advantage, stay away from any gathering where they will be playing the movie Boondocks. Seriously. Remember that name. You will go to a friends house and that movie will be playing. Leave. Just leave and go home. Actually, there is some fun to be had there, so you can stay a while but don’t spend the night. Go home. Do not spend the night! You got that?
Those things you do when you are alone in your room, fresh from your bath? It’s ok to keep doing them. Forget any of that nonsense about making you go blind or becoming some kind of deviant nobody wants to be with. It’s natural. It is natural for us to do things that make us feel good, and I know this makes you feel good. Don’t push down your desires. Celebrate them. As I said earlier, it’s okay to be different. Trust me, different is way more fun.
Another thing you must keep doing is writing. Even though Mom thinks reading books and writing stories and poetry are frivolous past times, they help you develop your sense of self and your sense of adventure. Writing also allows you to get those crazy voices to stop nattering in your head. In a few years you will be a published poet, something you wrote for Remembrance Day. Many more years down the road will start a blog and share your stories with other people, even write that book you’ve been thinking about since you read your first novel. Writing will become your personal kind of meditation. Keep it up. Listen to Mr. Walters when he talks to you about your writing. He will give you honest feedback, constructive criticism, and praise for some work well done. When he shares your story with the high school seniors, he does it because yours is the best of the school. You will only be in eighth grade at the time. Cherish that moment and carry it with you always. Maybe now is a good time to write a thank you letter to Mr. Walters.