Life Advice

It is two am- the limbo between morning and night-

and I have to be up in 5 hours max.

Can't sleep.

All I can think about is time travel

'cause I just watched a movie where they played with time

and now I want to give myself advice- future to past.

It's corny, I know. So do my frustration and exhaustion.



To me, at the ages three and four:

You're forming your first memories, sweetheart.

Keep laughing. You laugh so much.

Cling tighter to your Papa's face.

               I know it's yellow. Focus on the wrinkles.

               When you don’t remember, don’t be afraid to cry.

Everyone says you’re like your grandma.

I’m proud of who you are. Stay joyful.


Myself, ages five and mostly six:

As much as you don’t believe it, Ben loves you.

Don’t lie to the babysitter for him.

Being a younger sister has been hard, I know.

               You’re about to be big sister,

               And that baby you will love more and more every day.

You are still so innocent. Happy.

One day these boys will be your best friends.


To the seven and eight year old me:

Brace yourself now. Here you start to slip.

You have so many blessings of people in your life.

Mom is hurting a lot right now.

               Dad too- they loved him more than you could.

               You won’t understand, but try to, okay?

Ellie- Ellie A.- needs your love right now.

So many smiles. You will remember these years best.


To Miss me at nine and ten:

Moving is not easy for anyone. Ever.

Things are chaotic but they will calm down.

You are the new school expert, or will be.

               I am impressed by your friendliness and kindness.

               Try to keep it these next long years.

Hope. A fitting name for such a beautiful baby.

You believe in people so deeply. Why?


My budding tweens, eleven and twelve, to you:

You are an interesting mix of parts I can’t pin down.

Starting to lie- you need to stop.

They are your friends, and children, but be careful

               Make smart choices; be safe.

               CALL. MOM. Anytime you’re in trouble.

Theatre will continue to be a wonderful part of your life.

Good news: no one remembers Middle School drama.


Thirteen and fourteen me:

You are absolutely right, relationships are stupid.

Continue in honesty, love, and kindness.

All innocence is gone; winter is lonely but, please, set them down.

               Tell Mom the truth about everything but this.

               Don’t be afraid to cry with your friends.

As for music: honey, you can’t sing. You’ve made good choices.

I know you have seen so much hurt in others. Get ready.


The fifteen year old, to you:

Stand up for what you believe in. Don’t stop.

You will be broken. Do not allow yourself to live in fear.

Trust your gut about boys.

               Push them away when your gut says so.

               Protecting yourself doesn’t make you a bad person.

A person with a disability can still harm you.

Ben is way cooler than you ever thought.


Me at sixteen years:

Keep your notebook handy. It’s great therapy.

Just because he’s a good guy doesn’t mean you should date him.

You should know that you will lose everyone.

               It’s mostly your fault.

               Don’t let regret consume you.

No one truly knows what they’re doing.

This is the worst of it. You will get through.


Last year, seventeen:

You are a fighter, forged in fire.

Be there for the kiddos.

You need to learn how to trust.

               You won’t. You don’t trust yourself.

               Learn that too, as you learn not to lie.

Pursue your passions. Work hard.

It’s okay to not want to depend on anyone,

That doesn’t mean shut everyone out.

Family will always be there for you.



It’s now three am.

I’ve talked to myself for as long as I can remember.

As far as I can remember.

Each memory vividly colors my brain-

I can only hope they stay away from my sleep.


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