Dear me

Dear Me is a moving collection of letters written by people of note to their 16-year-old selves. The website allows anyone to submit letters to their younger selves. When I read Seth Green’s ‘Dear Me,’ it brought tears to my eyes. And I, being the sentimental writer-type that I am, started wondering what I would write to myself that would be of use to other 16-year-olds.

I figure that I could write an awesome letter to me at 16 because I still have journals dating back to the Hello Kitty diary I started in the fourth grade. I could answer all of my own questions! But after much thought, I realized that at 16, a crucial issue I faced was the beginning of my lifelong infatuation with love. A lot of 16-year-olds probably share the same obsession with love — because they don’t have it in their lives, because they’re isolated or bullied, because they’re prone to negative thinking — and they need it desperately.

Friday I composed a mental draft of a letter to my younger self, and I got to the point of telling myself to be a little less in love with the idea of being in love, and to pay a little more attention to the object of my affection. (Sadly, lately, has been a literal object.)

Then, two conversations I had this weekend shed more light on this for me.

The first conversation was this weekend. A friend came up for a visit and to go to a Halloween party with me. Saturday we planned to have lunch, see an afternoon movie, pick a couple of things up at the store, and then have plenty of time to get ready for the party in our Halloween costumes. Instead, we had a marathon lunch — what my friend dubbed our “seven-hour lunch” — talking about everything, bouncing from one topic to another. She has a lot of insight for a lot of reasons. One, she’s awesome. Two, we are a lot alike. Three, she has never been afraid to tell me the honest truth as she sees it. During our seven-hour lunch and following errands, we discussed (among many other things) my love of falling in love.

Second, a brief conversation with the object of my 16-year-old self’s affection reminded me of this lesson: Many times I’ve been in love with falling in love, and now I see that two often I’ve failed to stop and look at the person I’m “in love with.”

Falling in love usually leads to trouble for me. I don’t think I even have a type other than, “I can fix you!” And that’s not reflective at all upon the objects of my affection — they don’t need fixing. Well, other than the fixing that we all need. My trouble is a combination of my vanity that I can fix you, and my arrogence that I’m better than all the others who have come before me. In the thick of it, I will make the obect of my affection perfect for me.


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