A letter to my 11-year-old self

Posted on August 15, 2015

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Don’t expect much, really.

Sometimes I wish I could go back to being you. Yes, you. You who couldn’t care less about whatever the world is throwing at you. You who enjoyed things just because. You who still kind of excelled because you still see the point of doing better in life. You who didn’t get distracted. You who didn’t think something was wrong with you. You who knew what was right and never questioned it. Idealistic, hopeful, wide-eyed you.

In a few years, you will change. You will realize that people are not really quick to accept different. You will try so hard to be loud and perky and friendly just so people won’t think you are weird. You will start to think that liking books and your dad’s music is not cool. That preferring to stay home makes you a loser. That being quiet will make people either taunt you or ignore you. You were never popular (and you will never be). People will keep forgetting your name. Heck, you will be so used to being ignored that you treat people (boys, especially) with skepticism when they give you attention. You will try so hard to fit in that you actually went into cheerdancing in high school because that’s where all the popular people were. You will try so hard to look good dancing when you really can’t dance to save your life.

You will lose your two best friends. Yes, those two that you always bring home. Those two girls who forced you into a tank top and miniskirt in an attempt to turn you “girly”. In fucking SM Storyland. For some reason, you will just drift apart. You will remain in contact with the other one, but sometimes you just feel like she never really knew you. You will lose nearly all contact with the other one because you will realize that she embodies the type of person you don’t want to deal with in this society of superficiality and hypocrisy.  You will question years later if you were friends at all.

You will start to care about how you look years later. Yes, years later. You never gave a shit about it at this age. You will start watching what you eat. You will start hating your hair that nobody really knew how to take care of. People will poke and prod it, and attempt to straighten it because that is what girls with thick, wavy-curly-frizzy hair are supposed to do in a society that glorifies stick-straight Asian hair. It will eventually give up, remaining damaged to the point of disrepair.

You will start getting fascinated with journalism and creative writing at this age. You will fantasize about being a Harriet-the-Spy type of newspaper girl and will have one story published in the school paper. I think it landed you in the guidance office. Come to think of it, it was sort of depressive. I guess that was the early onset of the sickness that will plague you for years to come. But I digress. Journalism? Are you really sure about that? Maybe you should follow your parents and be a doctor instead. I mean, at least you can have your dad’s instruments and your parents’ connections if you did.  Never mind that you dream of “informing the people” with stars in your eyes. Never mind that you loved taking pictures and pop culture. Never mind that you were inspired by your relatives in your mother’s side who were leaning towards the Mass Comm route, with your granddad a former radio announcer and your mom a (pseudo) playwright. Never mind that you think working in radio is a legitimate job. Journalism will be a labor of love. Money will always be a problem, unless you’re good enough. And let’s face it, you’re not brilliant enough. You will have your moments,  but it won’t be enough as you will realize years later. But hey, your first job will be in radio, something you will learn to enjoy. You will learn that you’re good at getting information with limited resources, but sometimes it will be a disadvantage to you because you will find out things you just wish you hadn’t.

Around this time, your dad will take you to UP. His alma mater. You will be fascinated with it, and dream of studying in it. You will work hard (or at least try to work hard) to pass an entrance examination that to be completely honest is actually overrated. Your high school days will be filled with focus on getting in that school. But kid, it’s not glamour and prestige. It can be hell. It will test your limits and you will break down. But don’t worry, you will find friends there who will make your college days a bit more bearable. You will all fuck up together.

And no, you’re still not hot.

Also, you still don’t have a boyfriend.

Now, before you start to say “wow, my life will turn shitty”, remember what Dumbledore said. Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times. Look, I know I am a disappointment to you, but I guess the best thing about this is that you will learn. You will learn to question the beliefs you held dear. You will learn to question the society you never really felt like you belonged in. You will question people’s motives. You will learn how to think for yourself.

Also, you will realize that talking to people is okay. Even those you won’t even dream of talking to in a million years. Even boys. I know you think they are loud, rowdy, and sweaty, but they’re not all bad. Maybe you should try talking to one of your boy classmates. He might actually turn out cooler than you expected. Years later, you will regret not talking to each other back then when you still have the chance.

Don’t give up your books and music. Years later, people will actually think the stuff you like are cool. They will call it “the introvert movement” and you will get frustrated because the things people like nowadays are the things you used to like but it never really brought you a lot of friends. Maybe it’s just you.

Talk to your younger girl cousin. She will be your favorite person in the world. Years later, you will think that she might actually be the most brilliant girl of her age. You will look back at the days when she used to idolize you and follow you around. Makes you kind of wish that you turned out better just so she would have someone to believe in. You will wish that she still thinks you are worth looking up to.

You will probably wonder about dogs and whether you will have any siblings. No siblings, but three dogs. You will get over your fear of dogs which came about when you got chased by a doberman around your subdivision. Don’t worry, your constant whining and the fact that a thief broke into your house will make your parents get a dog.

And finally, your shitty neighborhood. Your family will move eventually. Like, when you’re 21. And you will wish they did when you were still in your formative years (aka your age) so you won’t be reluctant to bring friends home.  But don’t worry. If there’s something good that came from living in your neighborhood, it’s that you learned how to scowl at catcalling perverts. And you lived so close to your former crush’s house that you have an excuse to stalk him. Don’t ask me who it is, I’d want you to be shocked on your own.

So there you go. A quick update on what your life will be like 10 years later. I really hope I won’t disappoint you. I know that at this age, you just want to grow up because you believe that things will get better when you’re all grown up. But it won’t. It never gets better for anyone. Heck, I don’t think anybody ever grows up. I know I haven’t.

See, I’m still in the process of wingin’ it. But if it will make you happy, I will try. Believe me, I’m really trying. But if you really want to grow up, don’t rush it. Enjoy it while it lasts. Take your time, because you will remain confused all your life out of trying so hard to grow up. Take a chill pill honey, nothing really changes.

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