Letter to My Thirteen Year Old Self

Dear thirteen-year-old me,

Hi, how are you? It’s been a long time. Eight years actually. You will be starting seventh grade, just moving to Milwaukee. I know it’s your sixth move, you’re tired of it. You’ve just come from Virginia where you lived there only nine months You were checked out the minute you arrived in Virginia, all of those people were annoying sixth graders, and the standardized testing and the moving forced you to beg your mom to allow you to be homeschooled in Wisconsin. Take a deep breath, you’ll be fine. It was a good decision.

Homeschooling was a good idea, because you could take time to become more confident in your reading with your dyslexia. But even with your testing anxiety and your constant moving, that doesn’t mean you can wear pajamas 24/7. I know you feel like you’ll never make roots anywhere, but you did make friends so put on some real clothes and stop putting up walls. Also thank your future self for growing out those bangs the next year. You look like Dora the Explorer with bangs, sorry to break it to you.

I know your secret by the way. It’s a boring secret. I don’t know why you feel like you need to keep it, but it’s your own and it feels personal. You’re a writer. You started when you moved to Wisconsin. It’s a coping mechanism. You don’t think so, but it is. You make adventures in your head, pretending you’re a hero, like Frodo who needs to leave your true home, but you’ll come back when the adventure is done. You don’t have that forever home though, a place to come back to when the adventure is done. I’m sorry for that, but stop focusing on the next move, stop holding your breath for it. I still hold my breath for the next move to this day. In the fall of 2019, you’ll be at college, Hamline University; And for the first time, you’ll be in one place for the longest time. Four years. Four long years.

People will complain about wanting to leave home. They do the same thing during college, wanting to go into the real world, refusing to call Hamline a home. You won’t understand this. Even though you count down the days to your next move, you’re bitter towards those who don’t appreciate that they actually have a permanent home. I feel you, but don’t be too bitter.

I hope you know that people care about you. I know it’s hard to believe sometimes. People won’t forget about you as soon as you move. It’s okay to open your heart up. To make lasting relationships instead of putting up walls. I know you say things like you’ll be more open and put more roots down once you move to the next place, to your forever home. You always think you’ll be different in the next place. It’s okay though to be you no matter where you live, to be loud and open instead of being so scared to open up to others.

You’ll be okay. You’ll move two more times before heading off to college. Don’t stress about it. Stop stressing so much and live more in the moment. Time isn’t constricting you. Stop using moving as an excuse and you’ll be fine. Also if you could grow out the bangs sooner that would be amazing.

Middle school sucks. Yes your brother is annoying, but stop ignoring him. Cargo shorts are ugly. You can have more than one pair of shoes. Reading slowly isn’t a bad thing, you have dyslexia, idiot, stop pretending like you don’t. You just suck at math, you don’t have a reason for that, sorry. Embrace your writing, stop thinking it’s a secret you should be ashamed of.

You are appreciated and loved.

From your older and slightly wiser self,

Madelaine