Dear 16-year-old Self

I’ve noticed a bunch of these around, and it made me think about being 16. I definitely needed a letter. Here it is, in lists, bullets, and sentences.

EDIT: now with a picture for reference! Although this was probably closer to me at 17. Oops.

Dear 16-year-old Kennetha,

Let me start off by saying congrats for making Band Captain. Don’t stress out, because you’ll be doing it next year too. You’ll be a pro and do a fabulous job. You need to know some things about the next 8-ish years of your life, and do. not. panic. about this.

  • Joining Winterguard this fall turns out to be a very good thing: you will lose a ton of weight and will get to wear awesome black, glittery makeup.
  • The people you are close to now may not necessarily be in your life by the time you catch up to me. I should let you know that Heath is going to go far away from you in just a few short years.  He’ll join the Army, and end up being deployed twice – once to Iraq and once to Afghanistan. That’s where he’s at right now. Coop is going to stick with you probably forever. I just got off the phone with her, wishing her happy birthday. Try your best to stay in touch with the people you love now, because it’s just going to get harder.
  • I wish I didn’t have to say this, but CJ is going to go Home in October. You’re going to be in Taco Bell with Mom and Mamaw when you find this out, and it’s going to be hard. School will be really bad the next day, but you’ll make it. Don’t forget to hug his mom at the funeral. She needs it. Becca is also going to leave in April. You won’t want to, but you need to go to her funeral too. When you leave the church that afternoon, you’re going to go somewhere that will change how the rest of your life goes.
  • You DO NOT grow up to be a scary old spinster lady! Actually, in just a few months, you’re going to meet your first boyfriend and future husband. I know you don’t believe me, but trust me. He’s pretty awesome.
  • You’re going to move away from your family and Tennessee. Yes, I’m serious. No, you don’t die from it. You’re going to move to Kentucky for the first year of marriage then you’re moving to North Carolina (which is still your favorite state!).
  • You are so much smarter than you know. Top 10% and highest honors in high school, cum laude in college, and in 2010 you’ve read over 40 books. Please keep it up.
  • College is going to be so much better than high school, so don’t be scared. Also  You’re going to meet people there who will instantly be your friends.
  • Oh, about college… the one you’re thinking about now isn’t going to work out. In fact, you’ll go to community college for the first two years, then another college for a semester, and you’ll finally finish at ETSU. Also, you’re not going to be a journalist or a high school English teacher. Surprise!
  • I know you think you’ve got a handle on your spiritual life right now, but oh child. You have no idea what kind of plans God has for you or the ways He’s going to work in your life. Do you know what church planters are? No, of course you don’t right now. But you will.
  • I wish you would start writing recipes down out of Mom’s blue recipe book now. It would save you a lot of phone calls and stress later.
  • The two boys you like right now don’t like you back. I know it sucks, but trust me, you’ll be glad nothing ever came about with them. Also, that boy you thought you’d never speak to again… you sort of become good friends. Surprise again.
  • You get a cat!!!!! You also get another daschund!!!!!! You’ll get two platy fish too, but they’ll die in a horrible heat wave when the AC goes out while you’re off at the beach. 😦

Life is great, kid. You’re going to go so many places, meet so many people, and experience some of the most awesome things ever. Remember to keep ignoring that you’re shy and uncomfortable in your skin. I know you fight a lot right now, but your mom is going to become really important to you over the next decade. So is Brandi. Once she gets into high school, she’s going to become your best friend. Remind her you love her and that you’re proud of her. I know I am up here in the future. I’m proud of you too. You come a long way.

Love,

24 1/2 year-old Kennetha

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