Dear Me—-Circa 1986
It’s me. The one that looks back at you in the mirror. Except that person is now 30 years older, and a lot wiser. We’ve been broken quite a few times, but I won’t get into that now. There are some things you just have to experience for yourself. You’ll face a lot of pain, and a lot of obstacles. Your pieces will shatter and believe me, they will get put back together. You will experience such joy, happiness, and love. You will see things that you never imagined, good and bad. But, just know that you are a fighter. You are stronger than you ever imagined.
What I’m writing you about today, is that weird, blonde kid in the back of your Pre-Algebra class with Mr. Feather. You know the one, right? The one that is a troublemaker. The one that yells, “Hummer” all the time. He looks like he’s from the wrong side of the tracks, and always wears that horrible yellow shirt. Very soon, your friend Cindy is going to force you to go on a double date with her and the guy she likes, who happens to be that badass’ best friend. You’re going to balk and say no. You’re going to try to come up with every excuse in the book. But, you’ll go anyway, because Cindy wants you to, and that’s the kind of friend you are.
On that first date, this bad kid who smells like cigarette smoke, is going to laugh way too loud at Stand by Me. He’s going to act like he’s a tough guy that wants to beat people up. You’re going to be embarrassed. Then, that facade will start to crack. He’ll open up doors for you at the theater. He’ll listen, I mean really listen to what you have to say. And, at the end of the night, in your parents’ paneled basement, he’s going to kiss you. That kiss, my dear, will be THE kiss that all others will be judged by the rest of your life.
I won’t go into the details of what happens. You are 14 and need to just experience these things. I don’t want to ruin it for you. But, I want to fast-forward about 24 years. This boy, this blonde badass from the wrong side of the tracks, will cross your path again. I can’t explain how, because the technology that allows him back into your orbit, wasn’t even invented yet. (How do you explain Facebook to a 1986 teenager?) Needless to say, when he does come back into your life, you will feel like you do right now. You will once again be 14, back in your parents’ basement with butterflies doing cartwheels in your stomach. In that moment, you will know why nothing in your life ever felt 100% right. You will know why you walked around with a hole in your heart for so long.
This boy in the back of Pre-Algebra will become something that, right now, you can’t even imagine. Remember, this boy isn’t what he appears to be. His bad attitude and rebel demeanor are a mask he wears to hide deep hurt and deep pain. This boy that has never known love from anyone knows HOW to love better than anyone you’ll ever meet. His capacity for kindness and compassion is unmatched by anyone else in your life. So, go easy on him. He will teach you more than anyone will.
You will be amazed every single day by him. How he knows how to fix just about anything. How he is the best cook in the world. How he brings you flowers on Saturday mornings. How he knows just how you like your coffee. How he is the best dad in the world, despite the crappy parents he had.
Yes, you will be broken many times before he comes back into your life, but you will heal, and he will be the one to help you do that. He will be the one that accepts you for who you are, and wants you no other way. He sees your cracked beauty and loves you for it.
And one day, when you’re 44, that boy will be the man who takes the day off to fix your car. He’ll be the man who treats your children like his own, and helps you with your elderly parents. And he’ll be the man that still makes you feel exactly like you do today.