an open letter to a fifteen year old

(Self-)Parental Guidance

An open letter to a fifteen year old.

Dear you,


Look me in the eyes. Are you happy? The answer is No.


I’m going to do my best to transmit to you, through space and time, a message of hope and encouragement. Hope because we need to unleash some demons, followed swiftly by the release of the white dove. Encouragement because I love you and can’t bare to think of you as you are, disheartened, slumped, downcast. If this works, at best, the letter reveals something to you; if it doesn’t work, at worst, then the letter becomes just another scroll to add to the rest. Either way, we have to try to reach Yes.


To find hope one must turn the key and open the box. Ghost one, you broke up recently. She was the pretty nerd in Geometry class, with braces that gave smiles to her smiles. For many reasons you couldn’t hold her hand without holding your breath, so unprepared were you for the silent demands of a teenage girl, let alone bring your lips to hers. At least, when she broke up with you over the phone, you asked why.


She answered kindly: “I’m in love with someone else.”


Ghoul two, you turn 15 before Sophomore year, yet look no taller. You have a sprout body, pencil legs, chopstick arms, and others see you are made of flimsy stuff. They want to break you. Of course, they won’t. But you find out the hard way, since you never stand up to them, and it’s enough to push you around.


Shadow three, for all of high school, but most darkly at 15, while you listen to your parent’s music, while you spend alone time at the computer, or while you get dressed for gym in the bathroom stall, one thing above all marks your face. Stank: furrowed brow, narrowed eyes, a scowl. If when you saw yourself in the mirror you paid less attention to your pimples and more to how your face is scrunched like a whitey tighty at the bottom of a clothes hamper, then maybe you would cheer up.


Luckily, there’s hope. In reverse order, once you do pay attention to your face, which is a reflection of how you feel, then self-awareness allows you to transform. You turn inside-out: instead of listening to music and thinking about it, maybe you share how it makes you feel. Feeling better, sharing, not holding things inside, you start to see others are like you, not different, and you move to make them feel better too.


Cheering others up is something you will learn in college firsthand. But at 15 you could do the world a favor once in a while and stand up for yourself. Whenever someone harms the innocent or bullies the defenseless, it is your duty to act, especially in defense of yourself. At the very least, at-the-very-least, you should get your ass kicked, just get your ass kicked! Because, at the very best, you will save the day and get the girl. Stand up for what’s right.


Lastly, get used to being awkward around girls you like. When you get smart, you will utilize this to your advantage. Until then, don’t coast around the ups and downs of your teens, but take the wave, and surf. Flirt.


Now if hope wasn’t enough to invigorate you, let me end on a word of encouragement.


It won’t sound like advice, because it isn’t about avoiding mistakes, like telling you to read those classic books you are assigned for class, because you’ll have wanted to later in life; or by suggesting to spent less time playing video games and more time playing an instrument, because that would bring you more life-long joy.


Rather, it is encouragement: meaning it pulls you up from you. Because it lets you know you will make the right decision.


You will make the right decision.


To close, a final word.


I wish I could reach inside your throat and rip that heart from inside of you like a Mayan Priest. Then we would see what you’re made of. But, let’s do the easier thing. Draw it out yourself every once in a while.


The people around you who love you want to hear you beat.



That guy who elected to take a philosophy class at 15

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