Katina’s letter brings us to number four in our series – Dear Me…Letter To My Younger Self – a birthday celebration for me. Katina and her family have been dear friends of ours for 25+ years. We attended church together and I consider them family. Now that she is all grown up, I don’t get to see her often but I get to enjoy her new blog that is so full of wisdom on parenting. She writes with such wit and humor. Her Mom, Teresa, is one of the best storytellers I know and Katina has definitely inherited that talent. She has a beautiful smile and a beautiful spirit. I am so proud of the godly woman she has become. Katina represents Generation Y.
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I see you sitting there in your cold cinder blocked junior high classroom. You’re scanning the room, looking for the teacher, and trying oh-so-hard to seem like you aren’t trying. (As a matter of fact, you will spend much of the next few years doing just that; trying to not try.) You find the teacher, his head down, searching a filing cabinet. The paper is folded, folded again, and again… a star. Your hands working fast and pressing the edges until it’s just right.
“Psssst, pssssst, can you pass this for me.”
“To whoooo?” the boy asks with a big dimpled smirk.
You roll your eyes, “You know who. Hurry!”
“Whatever,” he huffs as your note begins its journey across the classroom.
The note finally reaches its destination, an adorable, dark complected, blonde headed football player. He reads the note and laughs out loud. (I mean that literally, not ‘LOL’.) He begins to write back. You watch as he folds his own cool fold, a football, of course. Then, the note heads your way.
You open the football and immediately let out a giggle. (He’s so bad!) The teacher looks up and clears his throat. Your eyes get big, you stare down at the paper holding your breath…. The teacher opens another drawer. Whew! Mama would have killed you. You finish reading the note and reply with one word, “Yes.”
After cheerleading practice, you rush home, head to your room, pick up your pig shaped phone, and call that football player.
“Hey, you ready?”
“Yep,” he says.
“Ok, 37 right?”
That was it. The first night you experienced this cool new channel…MTV. (Of course, it was only new to the kids who lived in the middle of nowhere.) You and ‘Blonde Football Player’ watch video after video talking about the songs and the artists. You stare at the screen as Kurt Cobain wails out “Where Did You Sleep Last Night”… Look at your face! So silly and dumbstruck. Oh my, I can almost smell the CK1 (aka teen spirit) coming from your rapidly moving pulse.
Both of you, sit there talking…wondering… How can I be that cool? Quit washing my hair? Stop eating? He looks so tortured… that Kurt. He looks awesome.
Too bad he is already dead. I don’t think you even know that…Katina, he is dead. That’s how stupid you are. Wanting to be this depressed, thin, heroin addict. You don’t even know what heroin is! Is this a generational thing? This desire to be dark, to live outside of society. It is everywhere. In the music, in the movies, and in your junior high halls.
I don’t care.
I’m not worried about it.
Let me tell you something, dear 13-year-old Katina. You don’t have to be that person. Please, show you care! Don’t try so hard to be hard. You want to be good, so be good.
You will be sitting at a computer one day (Not a Gateway). Your three babies will blissfully sleep in the next room as you write a letter to yourself. You no longer pretend to not care. How can you? You love those little things so much. You shamelessly care about every second of every day.
Sadly enough, that beautiful blonde football player will be buried, taken away by the darkness that plagued all of you. Tears will run down your face as you listen to Smashing Pumpkins’ “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” on Pandora. (It’s awesome, Pandora.) You’re going to think about what you could’ve done to save him and so many others like him.
What was wrong with us?
I don’t know what to tell you except the same advice I would give myself today, Strive to be the light, not the dark. Don’t live in torment. Cast your cares on him.
And, for goodness sakes… quit rolling your eyes. Hug your granny and ask her lots of questions. Give your parents a break. Be kind to your youth pastors and make your ‘partners in crime’ be kind too. Love your little brother and be a good example. Stop the foolishness.
Have fun. BE GOOD!
Other Post in the Dear Me Series…