Friday, February 13, 2009

Spin Cycle: A Letter To The Girl I Was

Dear Angela,

I am writing because there are some things I know that I want you to know, too. I know that you are really angry, and feel really alone. I'm not going to tell you to eat, or to stop lying, or stop shoplifting, or stop taking boxes of diuretics and laxatives. I just want you to know that everything is going to be all right.

You know all the nights that you lie awake in bed, reliving something stupid that you said or did, sure that you'll never stop feeling embarrassed and ashamed? Unfortunately, the adults are right about this one: you will not only not care, you will not remember what, specifically, made you feel like crap.

I know that you truly think that no boy will ever want you or love you. You are going to look back on all the guys you're messing with now and feel so sad, because you are going to eventually realize that even the nice guys didn't give you anything meaningful to take with you.

You're looking for Dad's approval when you seek out those guys, and you have to let that go for awhile. Eventually the two of you will make peace with each other. He'll tell you that he's always loved you, always thought you were beautiful. You will never really understand one another, but you will know that you were looking for something hidden, not lost. Someday he'll even buy you a water heater. I know that doesn't impress you now, but believe me, when the time comes it's gonna rock your world!

I also want you to know that you're right about Jesse, he IS the one. You're going to have three amazing children with him, and your kids will be the kind of people that you'd choose to be friends with, even if they weren't yours. I know what you're thinking. Chill out, because you can handle it, and more, you're going to be really, really good at being a mom. Better than anything else you've ever done. Jesse will propose to you while you lay on the couch with him, in an apartment you'll share with him, while your daughter sleeps in the next room and a son grows in your belly. You'll be watching the movie The Thirteenth Warrior. It hasn't been made yet, but it will have Antonio Banderas in it. In short, you have my permission to stalk Jesse at will.

You're going to graduate late, while you spend the summer at Nana's. Jesse is going to follow you to Milwaukee, share a flat with a guy named Johnny, and support himself by drawing basset hounds, of all things. Do me a favor and work harder at the opera company. Go out of your way to please Nana and Grandpa. You think putting Sylvester to sleep was devastating? A cakewalk compared to losing Nana and Grandpa.

Mom and Dad will lose the house. Both of the girls will live with you and Jesse at some time during their junior and senior years of high school. You'll be really, really sad when they get lives of their own. Lisa will surprise you by growing up to be an amazing woman. Natalie will surprise you with her ability to hide pieces of herself from you. They will be your best friends, so try really hard not to be jealous of them. They're jealous of you, too. Seriously.

You are going to fail. You are going to despair. There will be days when you can't remember a moment of happiness. Those days will amount to nothing in the wake of the joy that your family brings you. You will laugh in the sun and banish the dark, kid. (Trust me, it happens. I was there.)

I miss you sometimes. Your funky clothes, your big mouth, your awe-inspiring rages, your cigarettes! In fact, what I really want to tell you is, "I love you." There are days when I parent my daughter knowing that I am making things right for you, too.

I love you, love you, love you~A

(P.S. I lied: Eat something, stop lying and quit stealing and taking that shit-it's killing you. Try to love yourself, honey.)