Have any of you ever written a letter to your teenage self? I think I did… maybe… when I was 21. I can’t remember. Oh I found it! Yes I did. I wrote a letter to myself when I was 24 years old. I was living in England thinking that maybe, just maybe, I had gotten everything right. I thought I was doing the right thing but man, was I fucking wrong. So wrong. My Facebook note was titled Letter to teenage self: well more like pointers. I wrote this when I thought I didn’t have anything to hide. I had no issue making everything public. I was an open book. I was afraid of being judged and wanted to be judged. I wanted to scream, WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU LOOKING AT? I wanted to be one of those crazy ass people who wear sweats with the words juicy on their ass but are offended when you try to read what it says. I don’t mean actually wear that stuff, but just be crazy confident. I was living my teenage years in my mid-20s. Man, that must have been horrible. I can’t seem to remember everything that I did because I have blocked it out. Oh, trauma… I thank you and alcohol for my repressed memory.

Fuck it since I already have written a letter I’m simply going to edit it. I’m allowed to do that primarily because I’ve changed. I’m not the same girl woman that I was when I was 24 or 18 or 15. I’m more unsure of myself then I was at those ages and it’s one of the most liberating feelings in the whole wide world. I have no boundaries. I’ve gone from thinking only in black and white to shades of gray.

Breathe in and Repeat after me. I’m almost 30 years old. I have no idea what I’m doing in the next six months, next year, or next five years. However, today I do know that I’m editing my letter. Let’s begin:

1. Stop wearing all black. It doesn’t make you invisible. Enjoy wearing what makes you feel good, despite, what other people and the fashion police tell you.

You started wearing all black when you were mourning for your sister. You weren’t allowed to deal with her death when you were eleven and you certainly haven’t dealt with it almost 19 years later. It’s become intertwined with your own child’s death. That isn’t the problem anymore but you continue to wear black. The problem is that your mother wants you to stop. She remembers this bright-colored little girl with pigtails. But shit happened, you don’t even know or remember that little girl. Through the years you fell into a depression that no one could help you get out of because they don’t believe in depression. The depression you had and will continue to have is no one’s fault but the chemicals that your body produces. Today, I tell you to keep wearing black but only if you want to. You like jeans so wear them. You buy one pair of converse every three months. Awesome. Enjoy wearing what makes you feel good, despite, what other people tell you.

2. Your sister is on crack and doesn’t know everything. Your sister’s life choices are not your life choices.

Your sister isn’t on crack although it might seem that she is on occasion. It is true though, she doesn’t know everything. You both have similar personalities but the age difference really makes it hard for you both to bond. You are at different stages in life. You grew up with two different set of parents. When she was raised your mother was submissive, your father a drunk. You don’t understand how and why she would marry a drunk as well. But it’s not your marriage to understand. You had an entirely different set of upbringing. It doesn’t make either of you bad people. Over the years, your arguments have escalated and been blown out of proportions but keep taking the high road because there is no turning back from that Mexican grudge.

3. Don’t forget that you are your father’s daughter and therefore cheap. Being frugal doesn’t mean being poor. Just wise.

You used to be so money savvy. But things spiraled out of control. You wanted accepted so you bought your friends. You gave your “at the time boyfriend” the best graduation present possible, only to recognize months later that he never graduated.

Now that you have no money many friends have left you. It’s hard to accept. It’s hard to accept that you would rather buy your friends than to feel vulnerable around them. It’s hard to accept that sometimes money doesn’t fix the problem. It’s hard to understand that money doesn’t buy happiness for you and instead you are enabling others.

The first step of recovery is to admit you have a problem.

4. Don’t worry about not liking boys, you will soon enough. You are not a lesbian. I repeat you are not a lesbian.

Somewhere along the line, family members started questioning your sexuality. You were twelve. You weren’t interested in anyone because you had your nose stuck in books. It was that simple. In college, friends questioned your sexuality because they were confused about themselves. They deflected on to you. Naively you accepted that maybe they knew what was best for you.

You felt obligated to show that you can be in a committed relationship even when the relationship had run its course. You stuck around with one boyfriend because it was better than being accused of something that wasn’t you. But you pleaded the fifth. How disappointing and how ordinary to simply be heterosexual.

5. Don’t run out of the room when you have sex for the first time, it’s just rude. Intimacy doesn’t always include sexual encounters.

I still say blame your parents on this one. This is just a real case scenario of “this is what happens when you don’t have the sex talk.” I’m almost 30 years old and I haven’t figured out what intimacy is.

If I could go back in time, I would still want to lose my virginity to Kevin, at least I think so). But maybe not for the sake of losing my virginity. Or the sake of defying my parents. Or for the sake of having Latinos not come anywhere near me. I was told that Latin men would only want me a virgin. So I denied them that right. Hell I even chose to lose my virginity to a white guy. TAKE THAT!!!

Why anyone would want to judge a female based in her hymen is beyond me… Women have so much more to offer than a thin sheet of breakable skin. Sadly my parents scared me into thinking Latin men would only want me for that little piece of body. Til this day the thought of sleeping with a Latino makes me cringe with horror and self damnation. I blinded myself with rage and discarded an entire group of men as filthy savages.

6. You are a nerd with weird passions someday people will enjoy that. On the nerdy scale, you are pretty tame.

You spent so many years trying to hide who you were. You let those pesky insignificant friends rule what you thought was cool. You just wanted acceptance but why from them? They were and continue to be just as insecure as they were twelve years ago.

You have followed your dreams and passions and its left you in a state of alienation. Yet 80% of the time it doesn’t feel bad. It feels good. Its like losing hundreds if not thousands of pounds.

How many people can you truly talk to about history? How many people understand your infatuation for Joseph Stalin? How many people do you know would want to spend a day at Disneyland? How many people do you know that feel happy for you when they see you light up when you talk about Thrall or Vol’jin because they understand being different. Or why being a shadow priest is representative of who you are in real life?

Not many. But for those that can recognize when you bright up when talking about these topics, these are the people who really matter. You don’t have to hide from them.

7. Your achievements are on merit and you deserve them no matter what anyone else says. You deserve to be successful.

You had a bad relationship. His insecurity played into yours. Your insecurity was that you needed someone to love you. You still do. He would often make you feel like you didn’t deserve college. Somehow you surrounded yourself by those who want to pull you down just so they may rise.

You are seen as a threat. But why? This has been in your mind since you were seven! You were hated because you had a dad. You were hated because you got to go to Disneyland. You were hated because you were smarter. You were hated because you got to travel. You were simply hated. They compared themselves to you. Not the other way around. But still you tried to get them to like you. in order for them to like you, you had to hate yourself.

You tried so hard to be liked but they never understood the underlying reason for your success: Sacrifice.

8. You are a conservative. It’s okay, not everyone has to be a liberal.

Your friends think you are conservative. Your boyfriend calls you a dirty hippie. You are simply trying to be better than you were yesterday. Everyone is trying to label you and you can’t be bothered any more. Hell your closest friend has called you a bitch for not agreeing with them. People can you Chicana or Latina or Mexican American. But who cares? I love Russian things despite not being Russian. I love folk dancing despite not believing in a day without a Mexican or Cesar Chavez. You’ve learned to accept and love the Virgin De Guadalupe without the need to worship her or pay her homage.

You are you. And there is no label for being you. It’s not unique or special or dirty hippie or complex. You are Angie. That’s it.

9. You will cheat on boyfriends. Remember no ring, no commitment.

You no longer believe this which shows how much you have grown. You can commit even out a ring. But only if the other person is also committed to you.

I can only say I wish you the best and I hope that if one day you fall out of love you can do the right thing and break things off before you hurt anyone or anyone hurts you.

The act of loving someone deserves respect.

10. Don’t be afraid of telling on men who physically hurt you.

11. Death is inevitable. Death is very much a part of your life.

So much has happened since you were 24. You lost a child and that heart-break has never fully healed. And you don’t want it to heal. I think that’s important to accept. It’s a battle wound that you carry but don’t want to advertise it to the whole world. But, sometimes you need help.

It’s hard to understand and then explain why your life becomes so chaotic during anniversary dates. But then you remember. You have to work on letting people know that those hard days are coming up and that you need comfort or distance. Sadly, it varies.

12. You are not a lesbian no matter how many times people say you are. Despite not being a lesbian, it was a woman who taught you to not be afraid to love and show love.

Thank you Susan! Susan once told you she loved you. And that scared you. Not because it came from a woman but because it was said. Hearing those simple words causes anguish because you rarely hear it. She saw you cringe but then explained why she said it. It wasn’t so much for you, in receiving it, but it was for her who felt and acknowledged and accepted her feelings.

You went through your entire life afraid of telling people that you loved them because you feared it would never be reciprocated. But honestly who cares? This is about you and your feelings and it’s okay to have them despite others. Because of Susan, you have no trouble telling Andrew that you love him. And it doesn’t matter if he tells or not because it’s about how you feel.

And that is the greatest thing that I have learned going into my thirties and I regret, YES, regret, not knowing in my teens and 20s that I am allowed to feel and accept how I feel.