Oh darling, as if middle school wasn’t painful enough, I have somehow (momentarily) allowed myself to reminisce about the three years that I’ve almost entirely blurred out of my memory. For a long time I looked back on you and wondered how you had any friends. You were so awkward, always a nose in a book. You had little, if any, understanding of social conventions. I rarely ever look back at pictures of you- glasses, braces and hair that never sat right. You proudly smiled in all of your pictures, as if nothing was haunting you. Did you really not know better? I know you endlessly looked at other people and wonder how they had gotten themselves to look and be a certain way. I know you are tired of being on the outside, of wearing hand-me-down clothes, of caring more about school than about friends. For awhile I was so harshly critical of you, cringing even at the thought that people I know now knew you then. Sometimes, more often than I care to admit, I wish that your existence could be redone, rearranged or simply cease to exist. Most things that I can remember about your time was how bitterly painful and awkward you were.
I am so sorry for being so critical. You had friends, some of which are still your very best friends on this earth. You had dreams and goals and aspirations, although most of those have changed by now. You had a family that you loved, and who loved you back strongly and intensely. And you had demons. I try not to think about how much you hated yourself, hated others, hated having been created. If I could tell you not to worry, I would, but I know you wouldn’t listen. You will develop a shield against these demons. You will grow into your too-big smile, although it will always be too big. You will figure out how to wear clothes, and your braces will come off. Most of these things won’t matter, and one day you will realize how little they do. You will find friends that care about things that matter to you, you will not be so alone. I am so sorry I was so critical of the person you are, knowing full well how plagued you were by insecurity and indecision. I know now that your escape had been the books you read, the music you played, and the family you love. I’m telling you now to never let these things go, they will carry you through some of your toughest times in high school.
Any time someone mentions middle school, I still inwardly cringe. I have hidden most of your pictures away, I have locked away some of your memories and I still feel guilty about it. Because I am you and you are still very much a part of me.
Your College Self.