Dear 9 Year Old Self: Don’t Worry, It Will ALL Be Ok

Girlfriend, I know you’re only 9 years old, but there’s some stuff I have to tell you.

Step AWAY from the baby oil at Quince Orchard Swim & Tennis. You are Scottish and German. You will NEVER have the deep dark tan that you covet on other girls. Go find some SPF 8 (probably the highest they had in 1979) and put it on religiously. Also, do NOT spray Sun-In on your hair. Orange is not a good look.

Letter to myself as a 9 year old girl

Since we’re talking about hair… that is quite the rat’s nest you have there. The next time your mother comes near you with scissors, run, lock your door and don’t come out. Unfortunately, your hair is about to get even worse once puberty hits. Your years at Ridgeview Junior High School will be recorded with the ugliest school photos…ever. Your hair is frizzy and good product hasn’t been invented. Stop trying to Farrah Fawcett-flip it. There are only a few girls that can pull this look off and you are not one of them. The cowlick you have will eventually go away and guess what? When you are in your 30’s, you will have lovely hair. You will pay a fortune for it and it will be worth every penny.

The clothes you have on are appalling, but it’s all your parents can afford. They are trying to support 6 kids and you are the last one. They don’t care that your Buster Brown shoes or Goodwill pants make you a target for the Mean Girls. The good news is that when you are older, you will be satisfied and happy with less. The Target clearance rack will be your “Happy Place”. You will not need name brand clothes. You will feel sorry for people who literally go into debt to have a purse from Neiman Marcus.

Boys. Sigh. You are going to enter into some awful relationships. I am tempted to tell you to run, but I won’t. The guys that yelled at you, threatened you or simply didn’t treat you nicely will teach you one of the most important lessons in life. When you meet the guy you will marry, you will take a deep breath and exhale with relief. He will be your soft place to fall. Also, you aren’t the nicest person either. You will break some hearts and not be nice too. I would love to tell you to treat those nice boys with respect and be kind, but you are stubborn and need to be humbled and shamed by your actions so that you will be a better person in the end.

[More on Teenage Dating.]

Your parents. Double Sigh. In general, they are doing the best they can. One day, you will be a parent and make equally bad decisions, act out of anger and be selfish. You will learn to forgive most of their mistakes. The ones you can’t forgive will play a role in making you a better mother. Let’s talk about the custody arrangement those two yahoos have made. The agreement is that he will pull up, toot the horn and you better scatter like a cockroach, grab your suitcase and haul ass out the car port door. No. Unacceptable. Get off the couch, tell your mother, who is hiding in her room, so she doesn’t have to see HIM that you will not sit in the bay window like a pet store animal and wait. When he gets there, tell him that a gentleman comes to the door for a lady, regardless of her age. You will most likely get chewed out by both of them, but it’ll be worth it. Too bad it won’t happen. You won’t understand the complete ridiculousness of what’s going on until you are older and have a Master’s Degree in counseling.

[More on parenting lessons.]

After school, quit eating like it’s your last meal. You are starting bad habits that I, as a 46-year-old, still have to contend with. You are active now, roller skating, skateboarding and swimming, but those knees can’t hang on forever because you have bad DNA. You will be left with a ferocious appetite and weak knees that will require cortisone shots.

Pets. I know you really want a horse. You already subscribe to the Quarter Horse Association magazine. You will never be given a lesson, so quit asking them. They don’t have the money, time or desire to drive you to take a lesson. It’s okay. One day, your little girl will want a horse too and you will see the wisdom in buying one. It will, hands down be the best parenting decision you make. Coincidentally, your horse will be a Quarter Horse. See, some dreams actually come true. I know you also want a dog. One day, you will fall head over heels in love with a wrinkly faced, bad-breathed, anal-glad-releasing pug and he will be the secret love of your life.

As you go through puberty, you will experience menstrual cramps that will be debilitating for you. I have no advice except to say that the pain of those cramps will seem like a trip to the nail salon once you go into labor for the first time. It’s all about perspective. The birth of your second child, a 12 lb baby/toddler delivered via C-section with the epidural shut off, will reset your pain tolerance to “I wish a bus would run me over 1,000 times”.

It’s 1979, you are having a hard time. You are prone to rage-filled outbursts; you are negative and complain a lot. You have trouble sleeping (sorry to tell you that will never improve. Insomnia sucks.) and have begun to pull your eyelashes out. Let me give you the cold hard truth: this is not the result of your living arrangements, your parents’ divorce or any other external circumstance. You are an anxiety-filled, negative person. It’s your personality. The good news is that as you get older, you will be able to make that negativity work for you and not against you. People will find your musings refreshing or scary, but entertaining nonetheless. The ultimate kicker is that you will give birth to a child of equal negativity, irritability and anxiousness. Sorry. It’s the circle of life. What no one in your family wants to admit is that you come from a long line of hand-wringing, anxiety-laden spazzes. It’s not your fault, it’s just who you are. Get some therapy; learn not to steal other people’s joy with your anxiety and negativity. It CAN be done. Good luck with that kid you will have. At 46, I have no advice for you; I’m still figuring him out myself.

[More on Depression.]

You are going to learn some hard lessons about people and ultimately about yourself. While it is natural to judge people based on external factors…fight that urge. Most of the time, you will be wrong, despite all the hours you will sit in psychology classes learning how to read people. In fact, you suck at it. You will meet attractive, well-educated and articulate people who have zero integrity and character. You will also meet people that you automatically discount, based on their differences from you. I’m glad to report that you will learn the error of your ways and you will invite some colorful people of various backgrounds into your life and your life will be deeply enriched by them. Go on the journey with people. Be a little more reserved and at the same time, open your heart and mind and see people. God made each person on this earth and every one of them has a story and uniqueness about them. You are not qualified to judge. You never will be, so relax and have fun. Oh, by the way, you don’t want people judging you based your appearance either. Look at yourself, un-showered, disheveled and wearing leggings as pants with Kohl’s clearance rack baggy shirts covering your bum.

Ultimately, the message I want you to know is that in the end, it’s going to be okay. Despite the trials and tribulations, you are going to survive the devastating broken hearts, physical ailments, loneliness and anxiety that are coming your way. You will have a family and friends, pets and ultimately peace. It’s your job to stay on the path and find it before it’s too late.


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About Karmen Thomassy

Mom of 2, married 23 years, late in life animal lover (1 horse, 3 dogs and 1 cat). I have an MSW in child & adolescent behavior... Not that it served me well with Video Game Boy and "Couldn't Wait to Fly The Coop" Girl. To contend with my impending Empty Nest, my BFF & I opened a dog grooming salon. Living The Dream.

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