Dear Teenage Aimee
Illustration: Erin McPhee
The bad news is that the world is much meaner than you imagine it to be, but the good news is that it’s also much bigger.
You won’t regret the risks you take.
You will regret not being kind. Try to look beyond your own pain to see that others are hurting too. You are more important to other people than you think you are. Later, you won’t think that much about the people who broke your heart, but you will agonize over the one heart you broke.
Failing is not as bad as you think it is. The bad news is that eventually you are going to fail at lots of things. The good news is that failing is sort of great: the dramatic part of you will revel in the deep shame it brings, and the earnest part of you will understand that every failure is a unique opportunity to become a better person. You have wasted so much time by not failing.
Ask for help more often. Strong people ask for help. You think the opposite is true, but you are wrong.
Your friends are lovely people, but they don’t know shit. Ignore their opinions.
Be even sillier than you already are. You’ll never be able to get away with it as well as you can now.
A lot of the dreams you have now will not come true. You will not be special in the way you are convinced a person ought to be special. But things will happen for you that you hadn’t even dared to dream of. You don’t know it yet, but you have the capacity to be happy. You are even braver than you think you are. I’m proud of you.
Keep your notebooks. You’ll want them later.
Keep your jelly shoes. They will be cool again.