Dear 18 Year Old Her

Dear 18 Year Old Her,

Lately I have been thinking about how I barely recognize you anymore. You are a piece of me, but almost an entirely different person than I am today. I admire what you have done and envy how brave you are. Looking through pictures of you, I see a young girl who was in pain, but doing all she could to survive – the smile on your face only barely masking the sorrow your eyes have seen. Your wore your soul on your sleeve, but did your best to hide it whenever someone glanced in your direction, afraid that they might see through your disguise. All the youthful confidence and pride in your uniqueness was shattered and put to questioning with the uncertainty that life threw your way. In one of the most pivotal phases of your life, everything changed, but not in the way you anticipated. You thought you would head off to college to start anew and shed the previous image of “nerd” that had been paired with you throughout your high school years. Instead, you ran off to college, fleeing the image of a girl who had lost her father too young. You thought you would have plans to travel and change the world – but instead you ran from place to place around the world, hoping the rapid change of scenery would make you forget the scene that you had abandoned at home. You hoped that you would meet many amazing people and become the queen of the party scene, but instead you barely remember many of the people you met because the haze of alcohol blurred your vision. You had such optimistic hopes for the future, and I crushed them with my inability to hold on to you.

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Dear B

Dear Brother,

Recently, I’ve noticed that you are not as happy with life as you once were, or at least appeared to be. You do have an uncanny ability to control your emotions, that runs the borderline of being a psychopath. It is always so hard to read you, as you usually keep the same even demeanor and attitude at all times. You only display a subdued excitement and an even more subdued anger, that could easily be mistaken for indifference by someone who does not know the subtle changes in your face and movements that are a cue to your true feelings in that moment. But, I’m not sure your girlfriend knows how to read those inflections in your face or even cares to in the first place.

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Dear M

Dear Mike,

Thank you for being my first boyfriend, and helping me get past that first hurdle of adolescence. I had resigned myself to recognizing that the guys in my class just did not find me attractive, mainly due to my tall stature, and the fact that my head stood well above most of theirs. I was awkward with my height, everywhere outside of a volleyball court, but you made me feel more comfortable in my own skin, because I was able to recognize that I was the only one who saw my height as a disadvantage in the dating world. I was so incredibly self-conscious, and had not yet learned to love myself fully and confidently. So thank you for taking a chance on me and helping me shed the Ugly Duckling complex that I had created for myself, by showing me that boys were interested in me, if I would just be brave enough to make eye contact with them. To this day, I am still confused as to why you pursued me at the young, awkward age of 16 – we didn’t have much in common, but then again, what 16-year-old couple really does? Our relationship was shallow, based on the alignment of two of the most popular sports teams on campus, volleyball and water polo. In the social hierarchy of our cliche high school, this alignment made sense and was supported by both teams, as it opened up avenues for hookups for various other team members of the whoring nature, and as our season overlapped, neither of us felt an obligation to attend the other’s games. Looking back now, our relationship was purely for show and adolescent exploration – you were my first kiss, but I was your first trophy girlfriend. We walked each other to class and kissed each other farewell, as if one hour was too long of a time to go without seeing the other’s face. We held hands in the quad, with no conversation exchanged, as if we were just standing around guarding our territory. Although you had previously had a girlfriend, who at the time made it her personal mission to fuck with my head until I walked away from you, we both knew that high school was easier with a significant other – dances were less awkward, lunch was less tedious, and parties were less embarrassing. We got together for the social and physical benefits, and because it was time to pop my dating cherry. I just wish that you had meant more to me, because you were the only boyfriend who got to meet my father.

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Dear D

Dear Derek,

Lately, I have been thinking about how it’s a shame that we never got together in college. You are actually the person I knew the longest over the course of my four years spent there – even longer than my designated College Bestie. I didn’t realize how long our social circles had been intertwining, as I was so drunk over that course of time. I had just escaped from the images applied to me in high school, and I was ready to break those preconceived notions that I was a nerd, by drinking to the point of not recognizing of who I was in the first place. I barely remember you from the twin’s off-campus house where we partied Freshman year. I have a brief memory of heading to a cabin party for our birthday that year, but never actually making it inside as the cops showed up 15 minutes after our arrival. I then periodically ran into you in our Sophmore dorm, while my standard sidekick asked who you were in a suggestive manner that I brushed off. And then there was Junior year, where we both were introduced to our standard group of college party friends. You became a resident of The Block, and I was always happy to see your smiling face when I let myself into your house. I have a feeling that we would have made a great college couple acutally, had I not been too intoxicated to remember you as an option over my other boyfriend, Jameson. I think you may have been interested in me, as I have a blurry memory of making out with you one evening in our friends’ standard kitchen dance party. I was an easy tease back then, and would happily make out with many people in one evening, not discriminating who I enjoyed that drunken, sloppy connection with. I wish we would have made out sober. You are a special kind of person and I would have loved to give you the time and attention you deserved, but college was not the time for that, and I’m sure that’s not what you were looking for either. We both wanted to play the field, but instead we ended up playing eachother.

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Dear M

Dear Mike,

Thank you for giving me a chance to escape from myself by dating you. Although our relationship was just of the high school nature, it meant the world to me at the time. I needed to be disconnected from my previous self, and hiding in our relationship allowed me to do just that for the rest of my Senior year. I do apologize though because I was using you without knowing it. I had no idea who you were when we sat down at the same table in AP Environmental Science. In fact, I didn’t even make note of you for half of the year. We had been going to school together for three and a half years, and somehow managed to avoid intertwining circles in the small, clicky school we attended – I knew nothing about you, and you knew nothing about my dad passing. At first I was unsure if you were aware of the sad reputation I had formed in the last semester of public school – but when you asked me where my dad was and if my parents had separated the way yours had, I knew that I had successfully found someone who didn’t know me at all. You knew that I was pretty, popular, and looking to ditch school, and I hope that was enough for you at the time. That first day we ditched together was wonderful, and I will forever cherish that memory. I had never planned on playing hooky before, but when you proposed that we ditch state testing and head to the lake, I had no hesitations at all. Riding in your shitty Toyota Corolla along those windy mountain roads, not needing to use any words with Wolfmother drowning our ear space, breathing in the fresh air and sunshine, it was the revival I needed to continue on that year. We weren’t dating yet, and I am glad you didn’t have the courage to ask me out that day, as it would have stolen the moment from me and made it about the superficial relationship we were about to embark upon. Having my mother catch us and meet you for the first time was the cherry on the sundae for the day. I had never officially rebelled in the way teenagers do before that day, and it was exactly what I was looking for. I was so lost, and you were there to wander with me, and that meant more than I can express to you.

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Dear Sir

Dear Sir Who Has No Name,

I want to apologize for never learning your name, or making that a priority in our brief relationship. You will forever be nameless for me, yet an infamous part of my tales of England. I never took the moment to ask where you were from or what you were doing in Leeds. I believe that our introductory conversation was a total of five minutes long, consisting mostly of “You’ve got an American accent!” and “Yes I do! And you have an English accent! We should totally fuck.” That’s when you pulled one of the smoothest moves I’ve ever seen and casually secured me making it to your bed that night. You had me convinced that every college student’s favorite drunchies place, McDonalds, was closed, when in fact I believe it is open 24 hours based on the homeless population that was stationed outside of it. Your suggestion to hop in a cab and head to the second best drunchies place, Crunchies, was readily accept and I piled into the backseat with you without any hesitation or forethought about how I was a naive American student in England, and you were some random student who I had pulled off the streets, in the post-club-closing cattle heard of drunken messes looking to secure some company to bring home to make the night a true success. I never once considered what kind of person you might be, or what STDs might already be crawling all over your dick. I didn’t use much brain power in this situation at all, and that was the purpose of it. I had decided that I wanted to have the ideal one night stand while studying abroad, and you just so happened to be the lucky man with an accent who crossed paths with me on an especially intoxicated evening at the end of my 6 month stay abroad. It is nothing against you, and you were fine specimen of a college student at the time. I was the foreign exchange student who everyone in class was intimidated to talk to, until the last evening out at the bars when all my classmates appeared to be playing Pin the American. You were the only winner in that game though, based on sheer dumb luck and good looks.

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Dear A

Dear Allen,

This is a letter to introduce myself to you, as one of the titled ‘Best Friends’ that your fiance has. Your future wife and I grew up together since we were 10 years old, along with our other best friends. We have always treated each other like family, and I look forward to welcoming you to our unit in the future. She chose you, after all the shitty boyfriends of the past, and I truly hope that you help encourage the best in one of the women who I love most. She has so much potential, and such a wonderful mind and kind soul; please don’t allow her to lose sight of that. She’s the type of person that needs a push to get her started, and I hope that you are a pusher who won’t take any of her bullshit excuses. She will want to fight you, and will be stubborn, but it is worth it in the end. She loves completely and wholly, and once you are in her family she would fight off any bear to keep you safe. Be cautious however, because as quickly as you are accepted into her family, you could just as quickly be out on the streets the next day because of a whim. I will admit for her that she is not the most rational individual at times, and will need a kind reality check quite often, however, she accepts these with grace and understanding. You are her world and her rock, and she would do nothing that would chisel away at that solid foundation she relies upon. Please be kind to her and understanding when she tries to pick a fight over nothing at all. She means well, she just has trouble finding the right words sometimes. She will be forever patient and accepting with you, and I ask that you do not take advantage of that, because if you do, I will hunt your ass down and teach you what true patience is by leaving you locked in a basement with no release in sight. Despite the pain and confusion that she has put me through over the years as her friend, if you do anything to harm her I am prepared to risk a felony charge, because I do truly love and care about her.

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Dead D

Dear David,

Lately I have been thinking about how you would be the best husband in the world. You would treat me kindly, and with an incredible amount of respect. You would support me financially and play the role of money maker well. You would make certain that I felt loved and valued every day, and treated me like the Queen of the household. You would make the most amazing husband, that girls dream of when they think about their ideal marriage. You are funny, responsible, decisive, well-traveled, intelligent, kind, a good cook, and really going places in life. Women and men swoon when I describe to them the mornings after I drunkenly stayed at your college apartment, and you would wake me from your bed with breakfast going in the cast iron, Frank Sinatra playing in the background, and an Irish Coffee delivered bedside. It was like I never woke up from my dreams when I crashed at your place, and wondered if this is the dream I want to continue living in for the rest of my life. You are a catch, and one that pains me to have to pass on claiming as my own.

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Dear S

Dear Stephan,
After your visit the other day, I have been thinking about what an amazing man you are. You are literally the definition of a “good guy” and that’s one of the many reasons why I love you. You make time to see the people you love and care about, and despite the words of crisitism we share between us, there is nothing about you that I would change. It baffles me that the women you have encountered over the course of your life have not claimed you and that charming smile of yours from the moment they saw you. You have so much going for you, but sometimes I feel like you fail to see that. Yes, you may be a bit of a nerd, and are not built like a piece of solid carved marble, but you have the sense of humor and understanding nature that any woman would be grateful to have in her life. How do they not see that you are such a rare catch? Then again, how do you not see that?

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Dear T

Dear Tim,
I want you to know that I hate that you stole my morning from me and made it focused on you. I have just one hour in the morning where I ask that no one talk to me, and I put on the best resting bitch face possible, but then you had to come in and ask me what happened to your kitchen utensil, as if I am the keeper of the kitchen. Well guess what? I did put away that rubber spatula you have been looking for for a total of three seconds, in the drawer where it belongs, versus sitting in the drying rack for days. What do you think I am? A house elf just waiting to pick up after you? This kind of constant cleaning drives me crazy, and it is just in an attempt to make the space liveable for me and the other five people who are packed into this house. Your level of unawareness of others and their needs is appalling to me, and it’s no wonder that you have labeled yourself as being difficult to live with. However, labeling yourself as such does not make it excusable. When you agree to live in a home with five other people, for the benefit of splitting costs, you can’t assume that you will be living completely to your preferences – you need to be willing to make some compromises.

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