On being 11

It’s been popular in the past to write your 16 year old self (or 21) a letter and wax on and on about how you should just accept that your ass is amazing already and wear those jeans for crying out loud. Smoke that cigarette – ride with all the windows down, kiss that guy/girl and say you’re sorry for once and for all.

Life goes on.

And gravity comes into play at some point and then you’re sitting there remembering when your bottom didn’t wave hello to your knee’s every morning or your upper arms stopped saying hello and goodbye when you did.

Tragedy that aging might be I have a letter to myself at eleven that I would now like to write.

Scene: 5th grade. The principle was actually my teacher as part of a job share with my best friends mom. It was an awkward last year of elementary school for me. My mom had started dating after divorcing, my dad had too. I was one of two little girls in my grade who had parents that had divorced.

I was good at math and reading – loved those subjects – but I struggled with history and geography.

Struggled should be read as: I did not understand the concept of caring about the past or where Aruba was. That light never came on for me.

But right now – I have an eleven year old to deal with. And she’s confused and a little worried about her life. Let’s hold her hand for a minute, shall we?

Dear self,

First of all, stop worrying about it (you are far too young to care yet) but a boy will some day want to spend time with you. You’ll even be kissed before you’re sixteen. You should be focusing on the capital of Florida. And where Arkansas is on the map. Also? Do you know who is your president currently? You’re right. Bill Clinton. Good job. You get 5 points.

Now back to those States that are United. You live there. Let’s chat about this. You have all your life and will continue to travel not only the States but the World. Stop eating those gummy bears and look at the map. It matters. In 16 years you’re going to be wondering why you still can’t place Minnesota on the map and why you’re always confused about Idaho and those other ones. See? You’re kinda dumb here, Jodi. And you are not dumb. You graduate high school early and audit out of your college courses.

You are not allowed to be stupid. (Also? You are not stupid at all.)

So, Self. There’s nothing wrong with being behind but you have to get this one under control. Having conversations about places around the world and thinking you’re in an entirely different continent (in the conversation) than you really are is very embarrassing. That’s a hard one to recover from. You’ll learn this as you get older.

But the good news is when you’re finally twenty-seven you’re going to buy yourself a map or CD or something and you’re totally going to Trivial Pursuit your way to knowledge on Geography.

You’ll most likely wait til you’re twenty-eight to tackle those current events. But you’re proud nonetheless.

Progress, self! You get 5 more points.

And your mom gets married again so does your dad. Shit hits the fan in more ways than one but not because of them. Get cozy and hang on, you’re going to quit sucking your thumb on one of the most pivotal evenings in your little history. You can do this, and you do … for at least the next 16 years.

You go girl.

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