Dear Seventeen Year Old Me,
I see you, lying in bed with a confused look on your face. You’re wondering why your mother–our mother–just had to sit there and scream at you. You’re wondering why (y)our mother is so upset and demanding to know if you haven’t been truthful to her. You notice how angry and upset she seems about you missing school and having to come home sick. You feel physically bad and this is just adding to it all. Your stomach is heaving and you’re fighting the urge to run to the bathroom and vomit. Even worse? You tell her you don’t know what is going on and she gives you that look, the one that you know means she doesn’t believe you.
It’s because you have a boyfriend now. You’re in a relationship and that’s scaring her. In fact, she’s thinking that you made the same mistake that she did.
In eighteen years, she’ll finally level with you and tell you the truth: that you weren’t an only child and that she had a child before you were born. No, you’ve never met this child, as he was taken from her via adoption but she truly believes that you’re heading down that same route. She honestly thinks that you’ve slept with F____ and that you’re pregnant.
I’ll give you a moment because I know this is overwhelming.
Now, we both know you haven’t. You’re not ready for sex at all. It hasn’t even crossed your mind at this point and it won’t for a very long time. But she doesn’t know this. She’s projecting her mistake onto you, thinking that since you’re involved with someone of the opposite sex at the same age she was, that you’re not going to think things through.
The thing is you’re smarter than she was. You’re not going to make that mistake. You’re going to wait a long while before you even consider sex. But again, she doesn’t know that.
But yes, that’s the reason she shouted at you and made you feel so miserable. That’s the reason she glared at you before she left, making you wonder just what the hell was really going on. That’s the reason (y)our mother got so pissed over that she heard you had a boyfriend, that you actually were dating someone. That’s why she acts so insanely jealous when you reveal that yes, you’ve hit puberty and yes, you are interested in the opposite sex.
It’s because she screwed up when she was your age. So she almost expects you to do the same.
We both know that you won’t. Like I said, you’re smarter than she is. (Just don’t say it out loud; we both know how she gets and how she absolutely has to be right, no matter the situation.) But no, you’re not automatically going to make the same mistake she did. You will not ruin your life by dating your ex.
Yes, you read that right. F____ is going to be your ex. You won’t marry him and trust me, that’s not a bad thing. It’s a subject for a different letter, however.
The point is you are not (y)our mother. You are a different person. Yes, you will fail and screw up and you will stumble and fall but that’s the great thing about life: we all do that. We all screw up, stumble, fall, brush ourselves off and learn from what we did wrong. That’s life in a nutshell. It’s one big learning experience so enjoy each mistake and learn from them. Yes, you’ll screw up but it’s not the end of the world, contrary to what you’ve heard.
So do yourself a favor today–go ahead and get some rest. Don’t worry about (y)our mother’s overreaction. She’s like that. She’ll always be like that. We both know it. Just relax and concentrate on feeling better. You’ll be over this soon enough. As the saying goes, “This too shall pass.”
Lots of love from the future,
PS I agree with you. I think it was the grape juice.