Congratulations! You just made a fairly graceful exit out of awkward puberty into young lady-hood. You’re learning how to manage that wiry mane that genetics so kindly placed on top of your head. You’re waking up early to spend an hour and a half doing your make up because you have elementary coordination when it comes to applying eye liner. It’s okay. There’s a learning curve for everyone. But that daily prep won’t last for too much longer because you’ll soon realize that sleep is more important than picking out the eyeshadow color of the day. And on the subject of eyeshadow; please stay away from jewel toned eyeshadow and stick with neutrals. There are several times you end up looking like a greasy-faced clown. We all learn from our mistakes but I’m here to help you avoid this one.
You’re now the proud owner of a driver’s permit and the blue mini van, later to be dubbed The Shaggin’ Wagon, is your pimped out set of wheels. It’s not nicknamed The Shaggin’ wagon because you’re known to use it for “shaggin” but because it reminds everyone of the Scooby Doo van. Remember to be thankful that you have a car all to yourself at such a young age. Most kids don’t get that. Walk outside and show it some appreciation. Sit in the driver’s seat. Run your hands around the steering wheel. Caress your fingers across the gaping ceiling that will soon fall in your face and obstruct your view while driving. Smell the years of abuse this van has received from you and your siblings. You and this van will get to know each other very well. You’ll learn that once you hit 80 and it starts shaking violently that you should probably take your foot off the gas unless you plan to meet Jesus soon. Your friendship will last a while but you’ll get a new set of wheels provided to you by mom and dad once you get into college. Then, a Spanish speaking man from SoHo will pay mom and dad $200 to take it off their hands and you’ll bid farewell to your dear friend. It is bitter sweet after all the time you two spend together picking up friends, exploring Houston, eating at the park, and taking naps between school dismissal and volleyball games. I know you’re worried that it might explode while you’re waiting at the drive through of McDonalds but I assure you that it won’t. It will be a Burger King.
A boy in your class with ever so bluntly ask you if the carpet matches the drapes. Instead of just telling him he’s gross and to shut up, I am encouraging you to give him a swift, hard slap across the face. I’m not one to condone violence but I think a disgusting question such as that is begging to be answered by a pop across the face a la 1930’s Bette Davis style. As long as you keep an open fist, I believe your reasons for doing such a thing will be justified and even though you may end up in the principal’s office being reprimanded, she is probably secretly applauding you for putting a pubescent boy in his place. And if she’s not, she should be.
You’re shy, I know. Around your immediate group of friends you’re a clown but you’re somewhat reserved when it comes to people who have stronger personalities than you. I’m here to say don’t be shy. Be yourself. Don’t be afraid to say something just because you think others might think it’s stupid or won’t agree with you. You’re a smart, interesting cookie who has a lot to offer the world. Don’t let being shy stand in the way of who you are. Don’t be afraid of what others will think about you. Your real friends will love you no matter what. Break out of your shell. You’re a rockstar.
Your best friend is Kasie. She’s a great gal and one of those forever kind of friends. You’ve had some good times in the past and it gets even better in the future as you watch each other turn into classy women. Well, Kasie is classy. You’re more quirky and enjoy fart jokes. I know you want to go to college together but if that doesn’t happen (sorry to say it won’t) then don’t worry. It’s not the end of the world. You’ll find that the long distance relationship really helps your friendship to grow. And what’s important is that you both figure out who you are separate from each other, while still loving each other and maintaining your friendship. Kasie is one of the most beautiful, loving, honest people you know and even though you may have some academic competition at this point in your lives, remember that that’s not what matters when you get into life. What matters is surrounding yourself with people who love you and who speak love and light into your life. Kas is one of those people.
At one point you will be driving down a street called Luella. As you are driving, a show tune will come on your car stereo. Now, I know how much you love show tunes. You still do. You never miss the opportunity to bust out in full Ethel Merman voice when any song from this genre is playing. But beware, a cop is hiding at the other end of the street and is pointing his gun directly at you as you are getting carried away, singing at the top of your lungs, and your foot is pressing harder and harder on the gas pedal. He’ll step out into the street, motion you to pull over, and will write you a ticket for going twenty miles over the speed limit. You’ll start tearing up and that’s okay, these things happen. You were just enjoying a leisurely ride, right? Since the chances of this cop liking show tunes are probably none, I want you to be somewhat honest with him. Say, “I’m sorry officer. Free Bird was playing on the radio and I just got lost in it.” Maybe he’s a Lynyrd Skynyrd fan and can understand the circumstances and will let you go. Maybe not. But I’ve always wondered what would have happened had you said that.
Even though you want to go to NYU the $50,000 a year tuition is heart-attack inducing on your 24 year old self for it is I who would be paying off those student loans. San Jac and the University of Houston really aren’t bad at all and you make some really great friends at those schools. Plus, it’s cheap and thanks to your parents, you will have no student loans when you graduate from college. The future you is thanking mom, dad, and younger me for making that choice. Plus, you meet your husband at San Jac.
I know you’re not really boy crazy at all. I mean, AT ALL. But there are a few boys that you have casual crushes on at this point. Fuhgetaboutem. The only boy that counts is a guy named Aaron who ends up winning the prize cow at auction. That’s me…erm…you too. He’s everything your human brain could never think to put on that list of qualities you want in a mate that you have hidden in your underwear drawer. He’s that missing void in your life that you won’t realize is missing until he moves to Colorado for a year and you realize you don’t want to live your life without him. Love this man and don’t let him go. As Granny politely put it, “Don’t screw this up.”
This point might hit the hardest. Spend more time with Abby and Boo. Before you know it they’ll be 17, talking about boys and knowing more than you did when you were that age. The next time those adorable little eight year olds come banging on your closed, locked bedroom door just to say, “I love you” don’t mumble a pathetic, “yeah, yeah love you too” and tell them to go away. Open the door and give them the biggest squeeze because you are so incredibly lucky to have sisters who love you so much and look up to you just enough to simply want to say, “I love you.” They’ll be grown up before you know it.
Don’t ever cut your hair above your shoulders. Your face shape can’t handle it.
I’ll leave you with this last morsel of wisdom; Despite what your skeletal arms, flat stomach, and movie star thighs may lead you to believe, one’s metabolism does slow down with age – no matter how in shape or skinny you are. You’ve been warned.
24 year-old Hannah
PS: WEAR. YOUR. RETAINER!!