A Serious Letter to My Younger Self

My weekly Red Dress Club writing assignment:  Write a serious letter to my younger self.

Sixteen in the City

Hello my Younger Heart,

Sixteen years old and thrilled about a shopping trip in the big city, you posed for this photo with your blond friend Judy.  What were you thinking at that moment?

Your sister, who seemed so mature with six extra years of life under her belt, took the photo with her little Brownie camera.  Photographs took forever to be developed.  Weeks later when your sister finally presented you with this photo, Judy and you studied it like scientists, dissecting yourselves in detail.

If only you could have known how sweet both of you were.  If only you could have spent less time being self-critical and given more attention to the truth that your mother fed consistently: “You can do or be anything you desire.”

You thought all mothers made that statement.  And speaking of mothers, amazing how your friends loved visiting you because of your colorful, interesting and interested mother.  Remember how Ruth went to her before telling anyone else about being 17 years old and pregnant?

Though your friends spilled their secrets to your mother, you held back and let the pile be fed by others.   You were careful about asking your mother questions; you knew her wisdom and intelligence carried a mother’s cunning.

You knew it was safer to keep the subject off you, “What did you tell Ruth, Mom?”

“It may be better if she told you about our conversation, dear,”  she answered.  “However, if you were to ask me about sex at this stage of life, I would ask you to consider whether or not you could handle the responsibility.”

You wondered what on earth she meant.  But you wouldn’t dare ask.  Danger.  Caution, you thought.   Mothers and sex did not mix.  ‘Oxymoron’ was not yet in your vocabulary.

She continued while casually looking over her crossword puzzle, “But I know I can trust you, my sweet.  I know you understand the responsibility.”

You had no clue what responsibility had to do with sex.  You were amazed.  She had just endowed you with a load of credibility on a subject that may as well have been discussed in Russian.  Or Greek.

You went to your room, sat on the edge of the bed, and tried to abate the confusion.  Studying yourself in the tri-directional mirror, your frown reflected your silent question,  ‘Can mom tell that I just lost my virginity?  Does it show?’

You wondered if there was a ‘look’ when girls were no longer virgins.  Maybe fathers could see something different about you.  Maybe men have a way of, you know, “knowing”; some secret sign that they don’t tell you.  Like, maybe your walk changed.  Or, you suddenly look grown up?  Is this when parents say, “Where did my little girl go?”  Maybe bodies give off an odor when the hymen is no longer in place.

You couldn’t call Judy with your mother sitting right by the phone. Besides, telephones were only used for business calls or important matters. You needed to get out of the house quickly. You changed into your favorite jeans, grabbed your cheerleader sweater and ran to Judy’s house in record time.

“Judy, let’s go shopping in the city next weekend.  Let’s leave Friday after school. We can stay with my sister.

You were determined to never look at that gorgeous young man again.  You were scared.  He’d probably expect to have sex again.  You were embarrassed about having sex in the back seat of a car.  Yuk.  Kids joked about that. You swore to never tell a soul. You were not only ashamed, you were frightened that you might be pregnant.

You had planned to ask Judy about sex and responsibility.  But you chickened out.  Instead you discussed plans for your weekend in the city.

Saturday morning in the city, safely settled in your sister’s apartment, you sat on the arm of your sister’s easy chair.  You looked into the camera and decided that you would not ask your sister about the responsibility around sex.  She would probably tell mom that you asked about it.  The question remained yours.

At your age, you would not realize that it may be a big deal for a young man to give up his virginity.  It never occurred to you that he may have needed to talk to you.  Turned out that neither of you would share the joy around this highly pivotal experience that would never be repeated with another human being.

I wonder if you would have been shocked to know then, as I know now, that men can not only forget the name of the woman to whom they have given their virginity, many do not even remember which woman was the recipient.  I was surprised to discover that the men who remembered best were ones who had “lost” their virginity to “older women” i.e. babysitters.

Which brings me to a point of tender pride.  I’m proud that you remember his name, age, eye colour, hair color, make and model of his car, colour of his car, his position on the football team, his best buddy’s name, his gorgeous teeth and smile and every article of clothing you wore on that date.  And that it was a cold winter’s eve that caused you to relinquish your innocence on the fur lining of the winter coat that hangs in the back closet of this current home.

I’m proud of you for remembering.


Your fuller, more compassionate, forgiving and loving older self.

P.S. –  Ironically, just last week, I saw HIS name on an email that came from his same best buddy.  It was one that had been sent to a horde of people.  I gasped when I saw his name.  I held my breath when I further discovered a message from him on one of the earlier messages listed below.  I realized in a moment that I would dearly love to see him.  I would not run.  If I ever have the opportunity, I hope you agree that it would be appropriate to apologize for never speaking to him again.

49 thoughts on “A Serious Letter to My Younger Self

    • Thank you, Cindy. (I seem to be losing responses; hope this is not a duplicate.) I would love to send this to him if it could be done without disruption to his long and one-only marriage.

        • I wanted to ask how you’d feel about your husband receiving something like this. However, every situation is so different. Conversations with God teaches that, in highly evolved societies – unlike planet earth – beings are grateful when another being expresses love, in any form, about or to their partner. However, it goes on to explain, they know their partners are spiritually evolved enough to accept the love graciously, in any way that would not cause hurt.

          That’s my next society. And in that life, I’ll cook like Cindy.

    • Thanks so much, Alannah. Your encouragement moves me from not dreaming of sharing it with him to a willingness to be open to the possibility. How’s that for a rip-roarin’ commitment?! 🙂

  1. This is lovely, lovely. I like the caring, compassionate way in which the older addresses the younger. I like the feeling in reading that in the writing there is no holding back.

    I remember doing an exercise like this back in my Artist’s Way (Julia Cameron) days – think I’ll look it up, see if I would write differently today.

  2. You wondered if there was a ‘look’ when girls were no longer virgins.

    Yes . . . it looks just like that mischievous grin on your face in the photo above. LOL.

    Beautiful memoir, Amy

    • You mean, how I got my “mischievous grin” . . . I’ll never tell. ; )

      BTW: If my husband got a letter “out of the blue” from his “first” . . . I would wonder (just a bit) about her ulterior motives and whether she was hoping to pick up where they left off.

    • Hi Arlene – thanks for the email. Yes, we have all “been there” Perhaps we need to write our individual stories and put them all into a book. The Virginal Volume? The Viscid Virgins?

    • Hi Dee! Thank you so much for commenting. You came to mind while I was writing this, actually…I remembered you telling me about working with older Teens. Hope that continues to go well.

  3. What a beautiful and honest expression of your emotions at that time in your life…and I’m one of those guys who does remember her name…still have the photo of my first love…but I guess I’m a romantic of sorts…a fact rarely seen in my poem. 🙂

    • Oh, this is fabulous! Thank you for stepping up and declaring a beautiful part of your soul…especially that you have her photo. Surely you make up for at least ten of those men with foggy memories. 🙂 Re your fabulous poetry – thank goodness writing provides an outlet for our many facets. We only have to worry about flashing those new facets when we are famous and the readership may rebel. For now, we’re free.

  4. An absolutely delightful assignment carried out by you in the most delightful way …

    The compassion of your older wiser self for you insecure younger self is heartening. Your grown-up appreciation for the gifts of you mom … Wow! I like that…being a mom.

    I have photos of my high school sweethearts in my iPhoto though I haven’t seen them in years. The relationships were not intimate. With at least one of them, I might wish it had been.

    Were I married, I think I might wonder about the woman’s intentions. The real question would be however, “do I need to worry about him and our relationship.” If I found myself saying yes, I would need to examine myself and the relationship I think.

    Thanks to Charles for his comment. Made me smile big time … There are conscious guys out there and, frankly, I was married to two of them.

    • Very wise, Jamie. I will simply let it be. That sits most comfortably in my chakra. During my informal and highly unscientific research, I suspected that youthful & heavy usage of various substances may have contributed to poor memories. On the other hand, I found that men who remembered really seemed to appreciate being able to talk about it.

  5. Now that brought back memories of my own youth…sweet sixteen and so much in love. True words, we never ever forget that day, even every bit of detail!! I so loved this Amy, opening and sharing a part of your life that’s so special. I hope you get to see him again…:) x

    • Glad you, too, hold a precious memory of this special occasion, Amanda. With your loving heart, I can understand you hoping that I would see him again, but as I expressed to Jamie, I will let it be. Such a sweet memory can be left to live on without sadness or regret. Sharing it has been a great treat and it can be left wherever he keeps it in his life .

  6. What a confusing and beautiful age, sixteen. (You capture it so well.) I believe that, in forgiving your younger self, you helped her/you grow into the amazing woman you are today, for time is an illusion.

    I wonder if the man in question consciously noticed the tremors rumbling through *his* present, for he cannot be untouched. In any case, you two are sure to enjoy reminiscing when you reunite after this incarnation.

    Thank you for sharing with the rest of us in this one.

    • Hey Sally, it is great to have you come by and comment. You remember 16, too, huh? Either too young or too old.

      I’m totally with you on the subject of the time realm and that thinking of a person puts a rumble through their soul in some way. I hadn’t (yet?) thought about re-connecting again after this incarnation, but as we discover, many of us will be and have been together many, many times. I love that concept. Here we are, in this blogging world just re-connecting. Makes me feel at home.

  7. Ha ha.. I have never read a more amusing letter to one’s own self in my entire life!! So nice and touching, especially it teaches young women a lot about self esteem and that every teenage girl is the same at 16, her confusions and anxieties.. !!! And you already told yourself something that I would have said, you were a gorgeous 16 year old! OMG, love the picture!! 🙂

    • Thanks, Rachana! Isn’t it sad that when we are young and so beautiful, we do not see it? Maybe that doubt helps us look within; maybe it facilitates the greatest adventure we will have in life – our inner journey. I will be going back to your blog and exploring more. I pray that Osama combs the Internet and finds your/Mother Teresa’s letter to him. I pray that it positively transforms some aspect of his heart. So glad that I found you through Jamie.

  8. Ah yes! The heart never grows old! The feelings are there forever to enjoy… a few notes… an aroma… a certain breeze, color… a few scribbled words… a name! can start that FEELING… can bring you back to the most tender of memories! Thank you for sharing. I think I’ll open up my own treasure chest! Diane

  9. If I’m understanding what I’m reading here, many of the women here had their first sexual experience with a boyfriend or male of significant standing in there life. How wonderful! Many, if not most of the women in my life didn’t have that. I feel fortunate that my first experience was with a wonderful girl who later became my wife. While we were together, my understanding was that it was her first experience as well. Now, for a number of reasons, I sadly think that wasn’t the case. I light a candle for all the women who didn’t get to have there first sexual experience with a man they loved.

  10. You know what? That was absolutely lovely. It’s too bad you couldn’t just get together with him to talk, to see how he remembers things. Or, just to talk, to see who he is today, to introduce the you you’ve become, so he can see how wonderful and interesting and talented you are. Something so intimately shared isn’t easily forgotten. It’s always there, I believe, even for men. Take care.
    And by the way, thank you so much for the award! I apologize in taking so long to acknowledge it, but I haven’t been on my blog in quite a while. Life is pretty hectic right now. But enough whining! I’m off to bed!

    • Re the award, you are very welcome, Klrs. I have lived through many Septembers in Education. There’s no need to apologize.
      Like you, I also believe my teenage Adonis would remember and would remember with respect. It is my belief that, if it is meant to be, I would be given a very clear opportunity to connect with him. I also believe it will not happen if there would be any hurt brought about with a reunion or connection. By that, I am especially referring to his wife. That would make me very, very sad.

  11. beautifully written… made me think back of my own virginity… my own situations. I don’t know what I would do if I ever ran across his name… him. I know I did run across the man who introduced me to him… and I froze up… got drunk and quickly dissappeared.

    • Thanks for dropping by. You gave me a great chuckle over your honesty. It sounds like you have a great story to write about that scenario. Also, thank you for chucking the one comment that I goofed on – on your blog. That makes you a bone fide blog buddy, you know!

  12. So beautifully done. I love your story, and that you still have the coat.

    And, I hope Ruth’s story had a happy ending.

    Off to dig into your delicious site. I’m in awe of your talent.

    • Hey Ash – Great that you had the time (young mother!) to come by. Thank you for your very positive comments. Ruth married Doug, they had more children, lived in different countries, and came back home where Doug finally had to give in to a health problem. Now that she is back home, I am confident we will catch up with one another. And I am glad to have found your site, too.

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