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?

Toy With Me About Toy With Me


  1. 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. 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. 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. And thank you! xoxo

  7. 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.

  8. 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!

  9. LadyLover says:

    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!

    • Oh, I'll never go back. And really, I'm not sorry about the abuse because it's made me a better, kinder person. Does that sound weird?

  10. How I wish someone had said those things to me back then! Seriously…I could have written this myself. (Except the part about blonde hair. I went pretty light on the red spectrum, but never blonde. Thank goodness.) In fact, I only have a few things to add:

    Stop dating all your friends. It never ends well. Most of them turn out to be assholes, and the ones who aren’t don’t want to stay friends after you break up. “When Harry Met Sally” was just a movie, and movies are rarely adequate representations of real life.

    Stop worrying about your boobs; you’ll get some eventually. Unfortunately, they’ll bring hips with them.

    Don’t get mad about getting carded; looking underage now means you’ll still attract 20-somethings when you’re in your 30s. Cute 20-somethings, even.

    Have some fun in college. Talk to people. Take an art class or two (you’ll thank me later).

    Don’t take the first job you’re offered. Hold out for something better. You’re worth more than you think. Similarly, don’t take the first engagement ring you’re offered, for the same reason.

    He’s gay, honey. No amount of lingerie is going to change that.

    He’s in love with his mother; send him back to her and move on.

    When the hot goth guy calls, answer the phone.

    And floss, dammit.

  11. universal truths!! you rock aunt betty!

  12. SubmissiveD says:

    I disagree, I think you looked beautiful with red hair, if that picture is any indication!

  13. To my younger self:
    Hang in there, adolescence is really just a paragraph in the story of your life,
    find the people who love you for you and stick with them, toss everyone else
    follow your instincts
    above all, DON'T GO OFF YOUR MEDS. Seriously, when I think of all the misery I would have avoided if I hadn't taken myself of anti-depressants at the age of 16 it kind of blows my mind.

  14. oh what a great blog, so night of you to share your wisdom with the grasshoppers. I wish someone would have shared their wisdom when I was a grasshopper but their a lot of stuff that I can still apply to myself and will.

  15. Um, Aunt Becky…are you ABSOLUTELY SURE you didn't write this to me? Because seriously. Except red is definitely the hair color for me.

    I'm gonna be a shmooshy for a minute and tell you that every time I look at my life and think to myself, "man, this SUCKS" I remind myself that you went through almost the exact same thing I'm going through now, and your life, for the most part, doesn't suck.

    So…yeah. Thanks.

    • You and me, duder, I always said we were the same person. At least in my head. Remember, you may be stuck in a shitstorm without an umbrella now, but you won't be forever.

  16. Texas is much larger than you think it is – home to the bottom tip is 8 hours +. On a related note, long distance relationships are a Bad Plan when you're in high school and have no means to travel. Cheating with a local while in a long distance relationship doesn't build a good foundation with said local. Just sayin. You know, hypothetically.

    One day, you will be BFFs with the hawt dancer girls and move to the Frozen North. I know, I know, I didn't believe it either. Washington isn't really that frozen either.

  17. A few things:

    1. Your dad was right about boys and what they want.

    2. Sneaking out to meet boys after your curfew is rarely a GOOD idea.

    3. Hickey’s (spelling?) are never cool. Especially when visible on your first drivers license.

    4. Stop trying to please everyone else, and live for yourself.

    5. And, just say YES to your best male friend, when he asks you out. You belong together (and make beautiful babies).

    Thanks Aunt Becky for reminder that time is wisdom. :)

  18. The most awesome blog ever. Wow, so well put. Loving and being yourself is so important, but as women and moms and wives, we often forget that part. Thank you.

  19. Wicked Shawn says:

    It's not cool to date the older guy with the Camaro, there is something inherently wrong with a 20 yr old who thinks a 15 yr old girl is date worthy. No, your not right, I am, and since I am you, you are simply going to have to trust me on this and get away from him NOW!!!

  20. AlphaHarlot says:

    Ugg…I would shake my younger self and say, "Will you get over it!! Stop being so depressed and start actually LIVING! You have NOTHING to be sad about!!"
    I didn't get out of my black hole of a funk till I was 24…and even then it took me another 3 years to fix all the bad crap that I had mentally done to myself…
    Now that I'm nearly 30 (I'll be celebrating that historic birthday in a month and 5 days) I get so frustrated reflecting back on all of the things that I should have been able to accomplish by this point in my life if only I hadn't been such a whiny, mopey Debbie Downer.
    ah well…at least i have the 2nd half of my existence to look forward to.

    • I turn 30 this summer! Woot!

      Also, I think we were all angsty for awhile. It's annoying looking back on it, huh? I always roll my eyes at my former self for that, too.

  21. I would say, "SNAP OUT OF IT! You're using him just to get away from your family. Have more faith in yourself. THERE'S A BETTER WAY!"

    Something like that.

    Or I would tell myself to smash the glass over the asshat's head & not on the table so I won't get knocked up a few months later.

  22. Oh, if only I'd read and internalized that at 20. . .I love your advice. It's wonderful and honest and funny. The only thing I would say to my younger self that you didn't mention is to take more phone numbers. Seriously. I wrote so many nice guys off because I believed that they really wouldn't like me once they got to know me or because they seemed so far from my usual type. . .I think I missed out on a lot.

  23. I would tell my younger self that all that cash spent on contraceptives is money well spent as I am fertile Myrtle.

  24. I'm not too sure what I'd say to my younger self, but the letter you just wrote to your younger self would be a WONDERFUL letter to your daughter on growing up (just tweak a few of the more personal things to more vague things!) I love this letter!~

  25. I would tell myself to run and run as fast and as far away as I could from him and his family as I could. Now I am stuck!! Dumbass!!


  27. My first "love" ended up leaving me for his best friend. Your last note reminded me of that. If I could go back & tell my younger self anything it would be who to trust, to love myself more, & to shake myself & say "He's an asshole & he's screwing his best friend. Wake up!!".

  28. mumma boo says:


    Yup, you covered it all. I'm going to e-mail this link to my younger self right now and read it all over again.

  29. I couldn't stop shaking my head, if only mentally, agreeing with every word of this. It's written by a girl, for a girl (interchange woman where you like) but rings true in many ways for a guy as well. The ways it doesn't connect to a guy's life, are ways that we can read this and say "I can see where that would be mean" or "Oh no… I've been that guy before".

  30. I LOVE THIS POST! (Caps intentional)

    It reminds me of a book compiled by Cokie Roberts, "Letters to my Younger elf."


    And you were beautiful, did you know that back then????

    I think you are an awesome person, the more I read of you, and from you, the more astounded I am.

    You are really sumpin sumpin. Not girl crushing , just standing back in awe.

  31. Don’t give it up so easily. Not just sex, your heart. You deserve it all, so don’t settle of those losers. Sure it sounds mean, but that’s exactly what they are. When you drop the losers, your life will improve dramatically.

    Oh, and when you get the urge to get cats, don’t. You don’t like animals! You can’t (and won’t) give them what they need. You barely like children so focus on them and forget about the cats.

  32. I'd tell my not-yet-showing-grey-hairs self that the fact that you LOVE spending time with your best friends who were girls instead of any guy that you are dating at the time might mean something. And that despite the going-to-hell for being gay rhetoric tossed about your ultra-catholic household, you'll probably be much happier dating women. Just humor me, Younger Self, and give it a try. You'll like it.

    (man, that would have saved me, like 20 years!… why didn't I think of this sooner?)

  33. Wonderful advice to your former self. What might you imagine writing to your current self from 20 years in the future?

    I love how your advice is applicable to many life situations. For me, I'm struggling with "Don't Look Back in Anger". I am SO ANGRY right now — angry that my husband up and died on me. OK, sure, I get that it wasn't his choice or his fault (heart arrhythmia), and I know I can't move forward until I let go. But the anger is indeed covering up the pain, so I try to be kind to myself, and know that with time and mindfulness, the pain will ease and the anger will dissipate.

    • It's taken me a long time to get over a lot of anger I've experienced, and I think I'll always struggle with it. How could you not be angry, Jen?

      Love to you.

    • Jen, I am so sorry to hear about your husband. I think you already know no matter how pissed off you are right now that this will not always be the case. You need to be as kind to yourself as you would be to a friend in the same situation. I'll be thinking of you.

  34. I would actually tell myself that I was wrong every time I thought that the guy didn't like me. It turns out many of them did. The problem was I didn't. Or at least not enough to believe that someone else might.__Oh, and I'd tell my dad to shut the fuck up every time he told me I "could" be so pretty if only I'd lose weight.__asshole.__I was pretty.__Oh and I'd tell myself to have sex with lots of people. LOTS of people. Because love and sex are two different things and you can in fact have one without the other. It's not nearly as good. But it's still worth the 10 minutes. __And then I would shut up.

  35. No, he'll never actually "pull out."

  36. I'm just gonna copy this for myself.

  37. Dear me, Please remember to practice what you preach. You need to love yourself. Be confident. You are attractive and smart and intelligent and worthwhile. Also, don't try and date the gay dude. Your first homecoming will suck. It's okay, you'll get through it, but when he doesn't actually show up at the dance and yous it on the stairs talking to your friend who also got stood up, fondling the corsage your dad bought you, remember that you are awesome.

  38. Oh Snap! I would need to write a novel, or perhaps a trilogy.

  39. I'd tell myself that even though it's awesome boys are attracted to me, I'm worth WAY more than how much (or how many) boys are attracted to me.