To my past self currently in middle school,

Listen up, ya little shit, because I’ve got something to tell you about the person you become that’s important for you to know, or I’m afraid of what’ll happen to you. Because I know what happens. Still reading? Here it is: You are in fact not a little shit. You do grow into quite the little shit, but in the best of ways that, whether or not your friends will love you for it, you will see yourself as the biggest little bamf that ever walked the face of the earth.

So, I’m going to sound like our mom for a second, but with me you know I’m sincere. (We don’t take bullshit, we never have. Be proud of yourself for that, you are not going to believe some of the people we meet!) Don’t you give a rat’s ass about what those bitches say, except to make a joke out of it. I spent altogether too damn much time getting too angry and making myself physically sick over those idiots. I’m going to tell you right now, don’t be afraid to get up on that high horse, because in Georgetown, you are better than them. They’re idiotic and senseless to a degree you won’t fully understand until you transfer in high school. (You’re going to meet a woman who suggests a bunch of different schools to go to and you are going to momentarily consider boarding school—do not do that. Trust me, from present me to past me, the minute you hear the name “Sparhawk” you’re headed in the right direction.) Only get angry enough to use that bottled anger as rocket-fuel to blast yourself out of there… while riding that long-legged horse.

You’re smart, not the smartest, but always smarter than you’re going to let on. You’re going to act like you’re forgetful when you remember every word. You’re going to stumble over words to avoid talking even though you could speak with the eloquence of a Brit while sounding ten times less pretentious. You’re going to play ignorant when it comes to technology because you’re afraid of breaking that expensive piece of equipment and you should keep doing that because you probably will. And all of these things are perfectly ok because you’re going to hate being watched, and have terrible stage fright and that’s ok—at the time I’m writing this, in my second year of college, you are still going to have bad stage fright. But don’t let that get in your way. At no point do you sign a contract to be a public speaker for your career, so who cares? It doesn’t matter! Don’t let people make you think it matters more than it does. I swear to you, the public speaking skills you gain during high school will be enough to get you through what you decide to do in the future. You do not need any more than that.

Also, that costume you’re thinking of wearing around. Yeah, that one. You know that one I mean. That’s right. That’s the one.

Wear it.

And listen, you’re going to have to put up with a lot of shit, but that shit is just going to make you gradually better. Just keep that in your head, as well as everyone else. Keep them in your head. If you don’t know what I mean yet, you soon will. They’re going to be really rough, especially with you already getting bullied. But it’ll turn out ok. You might have to keep it a secret a while, but by the end of high school they won’t even be worrisome. You will always have someone to keep you company if you need it. Just talk to a guy named Jeanne.

Now, I’ll be honest, this is a college assignment. So here is the obligatory “analysis” part where I say a bunch of things I kind of mean, but I’m really just pulling out of my ass and draping some things that barely relate to me for the sake of getting it done.

Not all feminists are extremist wack-jobs, and very early on in high school you’re going to be made painfully aware of just how bad sexism still is in the world. You’ve definitely heard the term “patriarchy” used in history class by now, so keep it in mind. It’s still the predominant viewpoint in the world, though it’s getting better, so, of course, male-view in media is making it seem like sexism isn’t as much of a problem as it once was. At the same time, it’s not quite as bad as feminist extremists believe. Just, don’t go looking at porn for the sake of being sneaky. I know you’re going to need it, and you shouldn’t be ashamed of it. You’re going to have some trouble when it comes to figuring out sex, but Byron will help and he’s actually not a womanizer. You’ll be able to trust him. Just forget about all social stigmas you might hear about concerning sex, and masturbation, and sexuality and just explore. But beware the porn sites, those have some nasty viruses you don’t want! When the website Tumblr comes out, get on it as soon as you hear about it. No matter what you tell yourself, you will get one, and it’s the safest place to enjoy your sexuality and you will not be judged at all!

The other thing you will learn is that sex doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t. Once you learn that you will grow into your androgyny and forget your body completely until you get off your lazy butt to exercise, or your libido starts kicking in. That is the only thing that your gender needs to be taken into account for: what you can do naturally and what you have to modify with toys in bed. That is all.

As for restraint of emotions, “sleep and sex,” as this book talks bout—forget them. Because I sure did! As soon as you get into college you’re going to realize something: we’ve all entirely abandoned restraint! We, and someday you, are going to flip the double-bird to maturity and accept that you are a kid at heart. (Well, all restraint except the small amount to keep situations from getting violent or unpleasant. Trust me, you need to. Some people are just not worth the drama.) And let’s face it, we’ve never restrained our emotions well. We’ve tried because most people are jerks and won’t let us just vent—no. Every time you open your mouth to say what you’re feeling, suddenly you’re “bitching.” If anyone says that, walk away and say fuck you. Don’t let them dare. There is no reason for this socially accepted idea that “not bothering” others with your problems is horseshit and is only there because some people “couldn’t be bothered” to be sympathetic to another person for ten minutes. Well, guess what. Not all problems are solvable. Not everyone is able to be reasoned with. Not all things can be fixed and everyone accepts that. And that’s why sometimes you have to “bitch” about it, because it’s the only way to let it out of you, and internalizing is for suckers. And it’s also why, since everyone accepts that fact, it bewilders me when nobody will let you just let it out and understand why it needs to be let out. Maybe you’ll come up with an idea, which I apparently forget about. But it is late. You will not be going to bed before three in the morning any given day after the first month of freshman year, even if you have a class at nine thirty. Have fun with that.

Sincerely,

You

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