A Letter To My Younger Self

First off, red hair doesn’t work with your olive skin. Neither will blond, but that comes later. I figured I should open with the obvious because one day you will look back at the pictures and ask yourself “what the hell was I thinking?” Sadly, this is exactly what you will say when you look back at many of your old relationships, because, let’s face it kid, you had some things to learn. Because you’re easily distracted by shiny things, I’ve made a handy list for your reference.

Stop Beating A Dead Horse, Duder
If it’s over, it’s over and let it die a graceful death. I know that in the movies there’s always some epic scene where the hero comes back and tells his leading lady that he simply cannot live without her—ever. That’s sweet and all, but grand gestures are kinda creepy in real life. I mean, if someone stood outside MY window playing “In Your Eyes” on a boombox, I’d call the police. So move on. It’s okay to be sad about a dead relationship, but trust me, you need to let it go.

Loving YOU Is The Right Thing To Do
No, I mean YOU, not him. Because really, he’s not worth it. In your twenties, you’re not even FRIENDS with any of your ex-boyfriends, so while I know that there were a couple of them that you actually did love (with good reason), the one you need to love is yourself. Your self worth can NOT be defined by someone else; it simply cannot. The older you get, the more important it is that you love yourself more than you love any other person on the planet because you are the only person you can count on. It sounds depressing, but I don’t mean it that way so stop your bitch-ass moping.

One Way Or Another, I’m Gonna Getcha
Confidence, my darling, is what will get you everywhere. First, you’re going to have to fake it for awhile because your early twenties are going to be a shitstorm and you’re gonna be stuck standing alone without an umbrella. Once it passes, though, you know you’re going to get what you want because you always do…eventually. So act like it. Stand tall, stand proud and don’t let anyone stand in your way. If they do, mow ’em down with your Hummer or step on their neck. Men love confidence in a woman and this will be what endears you the most to the man who will be your husband one day. (Yeah you get married. Yeah, I know. What the fuck?)

Free To Be You And Me
Now, I know you’ve never really struggled with being yourself, but the sooner you learn that what makes you who you are is what makes people love you is better. You are unique. That’s a good trait. Flaunt it. Accept it. Other people will adore you for it because it’s what sets you apart.

Trust Your Instincts
Every time you’ve suspected that something was amiss, you were right. Over and over, you’ve watched as the men who swear that they love you stick their penises in someone else. Usually it’s someone that you know. It hurts like hell, and baby girl, let the pain wash over you and strengthen your resolve to never, ever allow someone to treat you that way again. But just in case you’re wondering: you’re right. And anyone who loves you–anyone who REALLY loves you–they won’t use another woman’s vagina as a tea cozy. Walk away with your head high, and whatever you do, don’t blame yourself.

Don’t Accept Anything But The Best
This is where you fall time and again, young grasshopper. It’s not until you have a child of your own that you learn that you should be treated as you deserve. Thankfully, he came along to teach you that, because it’s an important lesson because you deserve the very best. Don’t sell yourself short and don’t accept cubic zirconia when you should be getting diamonds. You’re worth more than you think you are. Don’t forget it, kid.

Compromise Ain’t Worth It
Anyone who believes that they should compromise who they are at the core of themselves for someone else is wrong. You’re not prone to this, but in moments of weakness, you allow yourself to be talked into it. STOP IT. Just stop. No one who loves you will ever make you do something that you don’t want to do or treat you in a way that makes you feel badly about yourself later on. If you’re ashamed, it’s not love.

Abuse Takes Many Forms
For a brief period in time, you will be in an abusive relationship, and it will change you. Abuse takes forms that you may not recognize until you’re much older, but rest assured, when you look back, you’ll see it for what it really was. Forgiving yourself will be far harder than you can ever imagine, but you must do it. You must. We all make mistakes and it’s okay. You’ve learned to be a more compassionate, better person because of it, and you know that you’ll never allow yourself to be back in that position ever again.

Don’t Look Back In Anger
Wasting your time on anger is about the most pointless thing you can possibly do. I hate to be all Afternoon Special on you, but you know what? Most of the relationships you had, even the spectacular failures, they taught you something valuable about yourself. Anger is just a way of covering up that you’re hurt, and while it’s certainly more pleasant to be all “FUCK YOU” than it is to be all “BOO-HOO” about it, you might as well tear that band-aid off and let the waterworks flow. Then move on.

He’s Gay
Okay, so this happened once. Only once, but it was a loooong drawn out once. Much later, you’ll realize that the guy who strung you along for years was probably a closet homosexual and it’ll be like a lightbulb going off over your stupid brain. Yep, he’s gay. Also: an asshole. When you cut him off, it’s about the most liberating thing you’ll ever do. You should have done it sooner and saved yourself the confusion. Some day, you’ll find out that he’s living with his life partner in Iowa and smile smugly to yourself because you were fucking right.

Good luck, grasshopper, because you have a long way to go. But you’ll get there.


Your Future Self

P.S. Lay off the jellybeans

So, Toy With Me-ers, what would YOU say to your younger self about dating?


  1. Tiffany

    Date other people your four years of high school because the ass hat you think you love is just that, an asshat. Don't bother waiting for your mom to stop making really stupid decisions in men and pay attention to your words of advice you gave her, because really, people don't change. Stop saying yes and start saying no because once you get tired of cow towing it's harder to just pull away. And love your little babies and protect their eyes, hearts and heads from all you and your husband dysfunction. Oh, and when you want that new pair of shoes…fuckin get them.

  2. Mine would look remarkably like this. Minus (so far) the gay part.

    I'd also put a paragraph in there along the lines of 'When you break up with him, don't go back to him. Somebody else will love you, and do a hell of a lot better at it to boot.'

  3. Meimei

    Dear me, age 16: you know that girl you keep spending every afternoon after school with? The one dating all the popular boys, going to all the great parties? Guess what; it's YOU she really wants to spend time with. Weird, huh? Only… you never told her you were sad to see her go.
    (Class reunions can at times be a Really Great Thing :-D.)

  4. I totally got on my computer five minutes before I have to go to school because I finally thought of a response to this.

    Dear younger self: Don't bother having an eating disorder. You'll be miserable, it will affect you forever, and guess what? Nobody in your family will notice or give a flying fuck. Further more, they will deny it after the fact, despite your continually strained relationship with food. It's an unanswered cry for help, and you'll learn down the road that YOU have to help YOURSELF. It'll be alright, eventually you'll meet an awesome guy who will believe, will accept your issues, and will help you work through them. Tough it out. – Me

  5. Emily

    Even though I’m still a young grasshopper I still have loads of shit to tell/warn/enlighten my younger (and current) self.

    Oh my goodness, yes ma’am I am beautiful and I always have been, no matter what my dad ever said. I’d tell myself to shut up and stop being pissy, the only reason I didn’t date more or dated jerk-faces in high school was because I didn’t think I deserved better. Looking back I sadly shake my head in dissapointment. I’d say being the real me was (is?) okay and I didn’t have to try to be the ideal perfect girlfriend I thought I was supposed to be. I’m a great girl and a great girlfriend if you can’t see that you’re blind and stupid and I’m amazing (and sooo humble) 😀

  6. Melanie

    I wish I could go back and tell me to value myself much more than I ever did, or ever have. That's all I would say.

  7. If it looks like a dick, swims like a dick and quacks like a dick, then he is definitely, beyond a shadow of a doubt, a dick! and don't think for a second you can change that shit. you can't change him and we won't change on his own. cut your losses and get out now.

    ps: i'm sharing this crazy good post with my daughter. this should be in teen magazines worldwide.

    pss: love this picture of you!

  8. LadyLover

    Hm, a letter…

    Going back and forth on sex means you're not ready.
    He'll never get over it. But you will. And you'll smirk at his dwelling for the rest of your life.
    Sing out, Louise!
    It's ok that you don't why you hate her boyfriend. Turns out you're just jealous. Then you get to love her for all time.

    This is a fantastic blog. It's something I wish we could see when we were younger, but at the same time it makes for interesting experiences. So far as abuse goes, hopefully you get out of it, and remember what the signs were with the wonders of hindsight bias so you can avoid it in the (hopefully hypothetical) future.
    Love all over this post!

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