Hi! It’s Me, Your Future Self! Don’t Panic! This Is Not A Prank And You Are Not Dreaming.

The Saddest Girl in Space-Time

Transmission 1

From: Earth Date January 1, 2020 

To: Earth Date January 1, 2000

Dear Annamarie,

    Hi! It’s me, your future self! Don’t Panic! This is not a prank and you are not dreaming. 

    This message comes to you on an important day in your life: the dawn of the new millennium, January 1, 2000. 

    The scientists responsible for this time-travelling transmission have pinpointed that this is the exact day you need to read this. If this letter comes any later, we fear the best parts of what make you YOU will be swallowed up in favor of “being liked” and “flying under the radar.” 

    And to prevent that happening, these scientists have helped me get the following message to you.  

Growing Up is Hard. For Everyone.

    The people whose lives you view as “easy” are either really good at hiding it, or will have their trials later. 

    You, my young little Am, will be very prepared for adulthood for the following reasons: developing way too early, the gap in your teeth, your unibrow (more on that later), people’s opinions about your developing way too early, having a gap in your teeth, and your unibrow, having a wit that hasn’t caught up with your manners, growing up your mother’s daughter…and other challenges the scientists have cautioned me against telling you. 

    Eventually, these things will transform you into a confident, strong woman and a writer who actually has things to write about. 

    Your life is about to get hard. It will stay that way for quite some time. 

    But soon, there will be a time where you can choose the things you want and don’t want in your life. And that time will be magic. 

Repeat After Me: “Smart is better than pretty. Smart is better than pretty. Smart is better than pretty.” 

    Now, this is a tricky one. You’ll get a lot of pushback from mom, other girls, boys, teenagers, movies, TV, music…okay, really all media and all people in society.  

    Basically, as a female, you can’t step an inch into this world without being saturated in the “pretty > smart” culture. And it’s not anyone’s fault, they’re saturated in it, too.

    Here’s the thing: being pretty doesn’t make life easier. Pretty people can still get their arms caught in wood chippers, ride broken waterslides, or unwittingly sit cross-legged on stage during a school play and flash the entire audience (see below). 

    But if you’re smart, all those random happenings are a lot easier to handle. 

    And I am not saying people can’t be smart AND pretty. There are lots of those people in the world. In fact, some may argue that you might even grow up to be one of those people.

    But cultivate your smart side first. Invest in the smart. 

    Smart is active. Pretty is passive.  

    And if there’s anything I can impart to you, Annamarie: do not, dear girl, be passive.

You’re Not Broken. Even If The World Is. 

    Bad things happen. They happen to everyone. Just because they happen to you younger than some, doesn’t mean that you’re bad, or broken, or that you did anything to cause them. 

    In fact, when you get to my age, you’ll be glad. Not glad the bad things happened, but that bad things made you stronger. And one day you’ll look in the mirror and not recoil at your reflection. You’ll see yourself as you really are. You’ll see a girl/woman who has proven that she can withstand anything and still survive. Still thrive. And there’s no better feeling than that. You’ll see.

On Another Subject: Undergarments.

    Yay! You got cast in a school play! Congratulations…

    Now please wear bike shorts under your dress before you sit with your legs crossed for twenty minutes in front of the entire auditorium. You’re welcome.

“No” Is Your Best Friend.

    You just don’t know it yet. In fact, sorry to call you out, girl, but I know you won’t say “no,” because you want people to like you. It’s okay. Everyone does it. You just might take it a little too far. 

    Saying “no” will save you from getting roped into toilet papering a classmate’s house, getting caught, and getting that scar on your face. 

    Saying “no” will save you from bad friends, bad situations, and bad people. The only people who won’t like you because you have boundaries are the people who just want to exploit your boundaries AKA bad people. Just say “no.” It’s really fun sometimes. And you may find you’re actually quite excellent at it.

“Yes” Is Your Other Best friend.

    Okay, yes, some people get the Ebola virus and vomit up their spinal cords. Yes, there was that Raging Waters incident in the mid-90s where a waterslide cracked and someone died. But that doesn’t mean it will happen to you. 

    I know the world is scary when you have an imagination built to find the worse possible outcomes. But staying on the sidelines with your hypothetical safety statistics is boring. 

    Slide down the waterslide. Waterslides are fun. 

    There’s a lot in life to be afraid of, sure. But there’s a lot of fun to be had too, and it usually happens when you do something you haven’t done before.

This next one is really important…

Don’t Let Mom Wax Your Eyebrows!

    The woman is not an esthetician. I know it will hurt when Michael Cabrillo tells you in English class that you have a unibrow. It will hurt because you’ve picked up on the blatant “different is bad” vibe that, like, the WORLD has.

    I know you’ll come home crying and beg Mom to help you get rid of your unibrow. 

    What you really should do is sock Michael Cabrillo in the shoulder and strut down the halls like the bushy-browed mini-goddess you are. 

    But I get that you might not do that. So, if you must get rid of the unibrow, I beg of you: beg Mom to take you to a professional. 

    Here’s what will happen if you don’t: Come home crying. Mom will relent. Then she will bring out The Kit. The Kit is positively medieval. Practically, anyway; it’s from the early 1980s. She’ll take out a bunch of torture devices as well as some oversized popsicle sticks and misshapen bars of solid amber wax.  

    She’ll melt the wax on the stovetop. It will sting your eyes and smell like burning plastic. You’ll sit at the dining room table with a towel over you. She will dip the popsicle stick in the sticky, scalding wax, and spread it on your face. Your face! It will burn. Bad. And just when it stops burning, she’ll rip the wax off. It will hurt like no pain you’ve felt before. And when it stops hurting, it will be too late. Mom will have ripped off half of your right eyebrow. And then, she’ll rip off half your left eyebrow to “even things out.”     

    You’re going to look “bewildered” for about seven months. I know…“smart is better than pretty.” But do you know what else? Natural eyebrows are 100% better than artificial bewilderment.    

Being Kind and Being Nice are Two Very Different Things.

    Nice is Kind’s evil twin. They look alike, but Nice is a silent killer. 

    Kindness has no ulterior motives. Be kind because it’s right. Be kind because it’s impossible to tell if someone’s in pain. Just by showing a granule of compassion and kindness you can transform someone’s day or even their life. 

    People are nice when they don’t want to be honest. Niceness is a coping mechanism for the people who can’t say “no” (see above). 

    You do not owe anyone niceness. 

    Sometimes people don’t know what to do with girls who aren’t nice. People will call girls things like honey, and sugar, and sweetheart as a gentle reminder of how girls are supposed to act. 

    You’ll be taught, by all the same things that teach you “pretty > smart” that if you’re not nice, you won’t be liked. And you’ll also be taught that not being liked is the worst thing imaginable.  

    “But Future Me, life is already hard when you’re a girl, so why wouldn’t I make it easier on myself by just being nice?” You may ask. Because it’s an assault on your soul, that’s why. 

    Every time you’re faking niceness to fit in, or to not make waves, or when you’re uncomfortable it chips away at you. And you deserve better. You’re a human. With thoughts, and feelings, and ideas. And sometimes they aren’t nice. And that’s okay.

Why the Heels, Girl? Why?

    Little Am, I get you, girl. I was you, girl. You want to be an adult. In your misguided attempt to be glamorous you’ll wear only heels for the duration of the eighth grade. Wearing heels everyday will mess up your back. You need your back for, you know, YOUR LIFE. 

    Wearing heels every day of the eighth grade will also make you look like an idiot. Sorry. Tough love. 

    Don’t ever wear shoes that prevent you from running. Simple as that. I’m not saying you have to lace up some bulky white tennis shoes every day, but girl, why the heels? Why? 

    By the time you’re actually old enough to wear heels without people being perplexed by your idiocy, you’ll realize heels are weapons of misogyny. And Am, you are better than that. 

    And you have a propensity to sprain your right ankle. Thrice. Two of those times, you’ll be wearing heels. So stop it. Stop it right now. 

Different is Good. Different Will Make You Money. 

    I know that literally everything you see, hear, touch, smell, and taste right now is telling you to be like everyone else. That’s just leftover programming from your caveman brain from when you needed societal acceptance to save you from saber-toothed tigers.  

    It’s the new millennia now, saber-toothed tigers are extinct (R.I.P), and different is in. No one ever made history by being the same.

    Do you think Marie Curie became the first person to win two Nobel Prizes because she fit in with the girls in P.E. class? No. It’s because she studied science at a secret university because it was illegal for women in Poland to go to school. If she’d been the same, she would have died of tuberculosis, penniless, in Warsaw. Probably. 

    And maybe you won’t pioneer research on radioactivity (or maybe you will?) But the point is, different people make the world awesome. Sometimes, they even get paid for it. 

    So instead of obsessing about why you don’t fit in, realize that cool people don’t care if they fit in. Am, you’re cool because you’re convinced you’re the reincarnation of a Renoir subject. You’re cool because you read. You’re cool because you listen to Doo-Wop music. You’re cool because you wear tap shoes as regular shoes. You’re cool because no one else is you. 

    You’re cool right now. Wanna know how I know? Because one day you’ll have a job writing about how cool you were at eleven. Crazy, huh? 

In Conclusion (For Now, Because I Have a Lot to Say.) 

You may argue that all of these lessons you did eventually learn. You may argue that everything you’ve gone through has shaped you to be smarter, kinder, and eventually a successful human person; and all that might be true. 

    I may argue that I used a time travel device to bring you a message from the future and you really shouldn’t be arguing. 

    But of course you are, because you’re me.  

    So, in conclusion, until next time, Little Am: 

Niceness: Never. Kindness: Always (Even to Yourself).

Heels Are Weapons of Misogyny.

Do Not Be Passive.

It’s Okay If Not Everyone Likes You. The Right People Will Love You.

You’re Super Cool. Just As You Are. 

And Do Not Let Mom Wax Your Eyebrows.

The Saddest Girl in Space-Time

Transmission 1 

From: Earth Date January 1, 2020 

To: Earth Date January 1, 2000

Dear Annamarie,

    Hi! It’s me, your future self! Don’t Panic! This is not a prank and you are not dreaming. 

    This message comes to you on an important day in your life: the dawn of the new millennium, January 1, 2000. 

    The scientists responsible for this time-travelling transmission have pinpointed that this is the exact day you need to read this. If this letter comes any later, we fear the best parts of what make you YOU will be swallowed up in favor of “being liked” and “flying under the radar.” 

    And to prevent that happening, these scientists have helped me get the following message to you.  

Growing Up is Hard. For Everyone.

    The people whose lives you view as “easy” are either really good at hiding it, or will have their trials later. 

    You, my young little Am, will be very prepared for adulthood for the following reasons: developing way too early, the gap in your teeth, your unibrow (more on that later), people’s opinions about your developing way too early, having a gap in your teeth, and your unibrow, having a wit that hasn’t caught up with your manners, growing up your mother’s daughter…and other challenges the scientists have cautioned me against telling you. 

    Eventually, these things will transform you into a confident, strong woman and a writer who actually has things to write about. 

    Your life is about to get hard. It will stay that way for quite some time. 

    But soon, there will be a time where you can choose the things you want and don’t want in your life. And that time will be magic. 

Repeat After Me: “Smart is better than pretty. Smart is better than pretty. Smart is better than pretty.” 

    Now, this is a tricky one. You’ll get a lot of pushback from mom, other girls, boys, teenagers, movies, TV, music…okay, really all media and all people in society.  

    Basically, as a female, you can’t step an inch into this world without being saturated in the “pretty > smart” culture. And it’s not anyone’s fault, they’re saturated in it, too.

    Here’s the thing: being pretty doesn’t make life easier. Pretty people can still get their arms caught in wood chippers, ride broken waterslides, or unwittingly sit cross-legged on stage during a school play and flash the entire audience (see below). 

    But if you’re smart, all those random happenings are a lot easier to handle. 

    And I am not saying people can’t be smart AND pretty. There are lots of those people in the world. In fact, some may argue that you might even grow up to be one of those people.

    But cultivate your smart side first. Invest in the smart. 

    Smart is active. Pretty is passive.  

    And if there’s anything I can impart to you, Annamarie: do not, dear girl, be passive.

You’re Not Broken. Even If The World Is. 

    Bad things happen. They happen to everyone. Just because they happen to you younger than some, doesn’t mean that you’re bad, or broken, or that you did anything to cause them. 

    In fact, when you get to my age, you’ll be glad. Not glad the bad things happened, but that bad things made you stronger. And one day you’ll look in the mirror and not recoil at your reflection. You’ll see yourself as you really are. You’ll see a girl/woman who has proven that she can withstand anything and still survive. Still thrive. And there’s no better feeling than that. You’ll see.

On Another Subject: Undergarments.

    Yay! You got cast in a school play! Congratulations…

    Now please wear bike shorts under your dress before you sit with your legs crossed for twenty minutes in front of the entire auditorium. You’re welcome.

“No” Is Your Best Friend.

    You just don’t know it yet. In fact, sorry to call you out, girl, but I know you won’t say “no,” because you want people to like you. It’s okay. Everyone does it. You just might take it a little too far. 

    Saying “no” will save you from getting roped into toilet papering a classmate’s house, getting caught, and getting that scar on your face. 

    Saying “no” will save you from bad friends, bad situations, and bad people. The only people who won’t like you because you have boundaries are the people who just want to exploit your boundaries AKA bad people. Just say “no.” It’s really fun sometimes. And you may find you’re actually quite excellent at it.

“Yes” Is Your Other Best friend.

    Okay, yes, some people get the Ebola virus and vomit up their spinal cords. Yes, there was that Raging Waters incident in the mid-90s where a waterslide cracked and someone died. But that doesn’t mean it will happen to you. 

    I know the world is scary when you have an imagination built to find the worse possible outcomes. But staying on the sidelines with your hypothetical safety statistics is boring. 

    Slide down the waterslide. Waterslides are fun. 

    There’s a lot in life to be afraid of, sure. But there’s a lot of fun to be had too, and it usually happens when you do something you haven’t done before.

This next one is really important…

Don’t Let Mom Wax Your Eyebrows!

    The woman is not an esthetician. I know it will hurt when Michael Cabrillo tells you in English class that you have a unibrow. It will hurt because you’ve picked up on the blatant “different is bad” vibe that, like, the WORLD has.

    I know you’ll come home crying and beg Mom to help you get rid of your unibrow. 

    What you really should do is sock Michael Cabrillo in the shoulder and strut down the halls like the bushy-browed mini-goddess you are. 

    But I get that you might not do that. So, if you must get rid of the unibrow, I beg of you: beg Mom to take you to a professional. 

    Here’s what will happen if you don’t: Come home crying. Mom will relent. Then she will bring out The Kit. The Kit is positively medieval. Practically, anyway; it’s from the early 1980s. She’ll take out a bunch of torture devices as well as some oversized popsicle sticks and misshapen bars of solid amber wax.  

    She’ll melt the wax on the stovetop. It will sting your eyes and smell like burning plastic. You’ll sit at the dining room table with a towel over you. She will dip the popsicle stick in the sticky, scalding wax, and spread it on your face. Your face! It will burn. Bad. And just when it stops burning, she’ll rip the wax off. It will hurt like no pain you’ve felt before. And when it stops hurting, it will be too late. Mom will have ripped off half of your right eyebrow. And then, she’ll rip off half your left eyebrow to “even things out.”     

    You’re going to look “bewildered” for about seven months. I know…“smart is better than pretty.” But do you know what else? Natural eyebrows are 100% better than artificial bewilderment.    

Being Kind and Being Nice are Two Very Different Things.

    Nice is Kind’s evil twin. They look alike, but Nice is a silent killer. 

    Kindness has no ulterior motives. Be kind because it’s right. Be kind because it’s impossible to tell if someone’s in pain. Just by showing a granule of compassion and kindness you can transform someone’s day or even their life. 

    People are nice when they don’t want to be honest. Niceness is a coping mechanism for the people who can’t say “no” (see above). 

    You do not owe anyone niceness. 

    Sometimes people don’t know what to do with girls who aren’t nice. People will call girls things like honey, and sugar, and sweetheart as a gentle reminder of how girls are supposed to act. 

    You’ll be taught, by all the same things that teach you “pretty > smart” that if you’re not nice, you won’t be liked. And you’ll also be taught that not being liked is the worst thing imaginable.  

    “But Future Me, life is already hard when you’re a girl, so why wouldn’t I make it easier on myself by just being nice?” You may ask. Because it’s an assault on your soul, that’s why. 

    Every time you’re faking niceness to fit in, or to not make waves, or when you’re uncomfortable it chips away at you. And you deserve better. You’re a human. With thoughts, and feelings, and ideas. And sometimes they aren’t nice. And that’s okay.

Why the Heels, Girl? Why?

    Little Am, I get you, girl. I was you, girl. You want to be an adult. In your misguided attempt to be glamorous you’ll wear only heels for the duration of the eighth grade. Wearing heels everyday will mess up your back. You need your back for, you know, YOUR LIFE. 

    Wearing heels every day of the eighth grade will also make you look like an idiot. Sorry. Tough love. 

    Don’t ever wear shoes that prevent you from running. Simple as that. I’m not saying you have to lace up some bulky white tennis shoes every day, but girl, why the heels? Why? 

    By the time you’re actually old enough to wear heels without people being perplexed by your idiocy, you’ll realize heels are weapons of misogyny. And Am, you are better than that. 

    And you have a propensity to sprain your right ankle. Thrice. Two of those times, you’ll be wearing heels. So stop it. Stop it right now. 

Different is Good. Different Will Make You Money. 

    I know that literally everything you see, hear, touch, smell, and taste right now is telling you to be like everyone else. That’s just leftover programming from your caveman brain from when you needed societal acceptance to save you from saber-toothed tigers.  

    It’s the new millennia now, saber-toothed tigers are extinct (R.I.P), and different is in. No one ever made history by being the same.

    Do you think Marie Curie became the first person to win two Nobel Prizes because she fit in with the girls in P.E. class? No. It’s because she studied science at a secret university because it was illegal for women in Poland to go to school. If she’d been the same, she would have died of tuberculosis, penniless, in Warsaw. Probably. 

    And maybe you won’t pioneer research on radioactivity (or maybe you will?) But the point is, different people make the world awesome. Sometimes, they even get paid for it. 

    So instead of obsessing about why you don’t fit in, realize that cool people don’t care if they fit in. Am, you’re cool because you’re convinced you’re the reincarnation of a Renoir subject. You’re cool because you read. You’re cool because you listen to Doo-Wop music. You’re cool because you wear tap shoes as regular shoes. You’re cool because no one else is you. 

    You’re cool right now. Wanna know how I know? Because one day you’ll have a job writing about how cool you were at eleven. Crazy, huh? 

In Conclusion (For Now, Because I Have a Lot to Say.) 

You may argue that all of these lessons you did eventually learn. You may argue that everything you’ve gone through has shaped you to be smarter, kinder, and eventually a successful human person; and all that might be true. 

    I may argue that I used a time travel device to bring you a message from the future and you really shouldn’t be arguing. 

    But of course you are, because you’re me.  

    So, in conclusion, until next time, Little Am: 

Niceness: Never. Kindness: Always (Even to Yourself).

Heels Are Weapons of Misogyny.

Do Not Be Passive.

It’s Okay If Not Everyone Likes You. The Right People Will Love You.

You’re Super Cool. Just As You Are. 

And Do Not Let Mom Wax Your Eyebrows.

End of Transmission 1.

 

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