Tuesday, February 4

Dear Fifteen Year Old Jessica:

Well, you’re going to make it.

That’s the most important thing you need to know. Ten years later, and you’re still standing. You’re still a hot ass mess. You’re still a terrible driver. You still have terrible handwriting. Mallory is still your best friend. There are many “stills.” Life is going to go through so many not-the-same-as-it-was moments, little changes and big F’ing huge ones.

But in ten years you’ll see parts of the world you didn’t know were out there. You’ll fall in love. You’ll fall out of love. You’ll show yourself how strong you truly are.  You’ll survive driving down long dirt roads in the middle of nowhere scared out of your mind. You’ll realize how much you need your Momma. You’ll stop being such a complete pain in the ass to Mark and actually apologize and tell him you love him, because he deserves it. He’s just as much of your father as your Daddy is. You’re still standing because of them.

Dr. Engle’s advanced junior English class will change your life. Let it. You’ll write down everything and learn that writing will soon be the key to your future. Then one day you’ll meet your mentor, a little late in college but she will be there, and you will find your true career calling. You’ll become an interesting mix of pink fingernails and steel-toed boots. (Look up “logging” and “timber processing” on the internet, you won’t regret it.)

You’ll make plans with men, you’ll think you’re ready to change your last name, but then it will fall apart. And that’s going to be fine. You. Will. Survive. It will hurt like hell, but you will survive. There will be others, plenty of others you saucy minx, but one day, the most unexpected one will pop up and you’ll get butterflies.

You’ll quit that terrible smoking habit you seemed to have picked up, thank God. You’ll soon graduate from plastic bottles of vodka to glass bottles of gin. You’ll get too drunk. You’ll make stupid choices. You’ll have dance parties in your living room. You’ll be ok.

Finally, dear sweet na├»ve Jessica, hold on to your fire. You’ll lose it every now and then, but you’ll have it ten years later. That fire will push you and shape you and scare you but it makes you, you. Don’t ever forget that.

Remember to pray to St. Theresa, she is your Patron for a reason.

As Momma says: be safe, be smart and remember who you are. (No, she won’t ever stop saying that to you.)

I love you,
Twenty-Five Year Old Jessica

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