You are stepping into what could very well be the most charmed years of your life. You have a driver’s license and a car, and a very long leash. I cannot imagine what our parents were thinking, or what they must have gone through those long nights you were out, but I’m sure they lost more sleep then than they ever did when we were just born. At least when you were an infant they knew where the hell you were while you were keeping them from sleep. How we survived our own stupidity, I will never know. There must be some big assed plans for us lurking somewhere.
At 16, you seek love and adventure, and you’re not too picky about where you find either one. But I have a secret… that girl, you know the one you hang out with the most, the cute blond who always sits near you during drama club, she’s the one. The One. Those strange feelings you have for her? Yeah, they’re real, and they won’t go away even after 35 years. She’s still sexy as hell at 51, by the way.
There will come a night in your 18th year, when you both give into your passions, a night when you end up leaving, promising to never speak of it again…Please, speak of it again, and again. Turn back before climbing into your car, go back and kiss her again. And again.
Accept those feelings. You love her, she loves you. Don’t waste those precious years on fear and respectability. You tossed respectability out the window by giving up, but you can always go back and build it again.
Do not, under any circumstance, listen to that bastard “guidance counselor.” Go into that son of a bitch’s office and get those college forms. Do not put them back after he tells you you’re not college material. You are. You are smart, smarter than he’ll ever be. Take that narrow road, that scary one that leads away from societal norms and become that woman in the shadows.
The woman I wish we’d become sooner. I’m still working on getting there, but it would have made a world of difference to at least one other person if I’d started earlier, if I’d listened to my heart instead of my head.
The marriages will fail and the guilt you’ll carry will be heavy, but not just from the failings; from the realization that one more life would have been different, better, had you listened to your heart in the first place.
I accept where I am now, and my regrets are few; those I have are salved by the love of, and for, my children, and the love of my live and soul, Tam…the cute blond…
Karen at 51