Dear Melissa Hansen,

Don’t let the people you’ve lost be the reason to shut yourself off to new people who could care. Stop pretending those “walls” you keep yourself hidden behind are there to prove people worthy, when you know full well, they’re only there to prove yourself a victim. Just because he doesn’t like you the way you want him to, or she doesn’t come over every day, like she did before, doesn’t mean you’re worthless, it just means it’s time for a change. Stop depending on people to make you happy, don’t hold them so high above the crowd, because they are only human, happiness from them is only temporary. 

Go ride bikes with him. He clearly wants a friend, and he picked you, so be nice and stop walking away from friendly people. This is the first step to being a more outgoing you, and your mom told him it was ok, so go ride bikes with him. Of course you didn’t. Oh, but see that kid who’s saying “hi” a few feet in front of you? I know you see him, and he saw you catch his eye… say hi back, it’s not going to kill you to be nice. It’s only you and him around, so that wave and grin he’s possessing is obviously meant for you. Wave and grin back… be polite. Ok, fine. Run the other way when your sister calls, cause that’s not going to be rude or anything. There goes another opportunity to make a new friend. 

Seriously, Melissa? He’s just trying to help you get around the palm tree, push it over to him so you can finally get somewhere on this floating island your mom reserved for your party. If you accept his help, that won’t make you vulnerable, it will only help you get further on the coarse. Of course the words that flew out of your mouth would be, “boys aren’t supposed to help girls.” Where did that thought even come from? Your mom is not going to crowd you, asking if you like a boy, just because you let him help you. Your example must have been what the feminist agenda sparked from. Nicely done being ridiculous. 

For crying out loud, stop kicking boys if you like them. I know you’re a soccer player and have strong legs, and I know 6th grade is a challenging time for you, but giving a boy a bruise isn’t a good way to speak your feelings. Especially if those feelings are the opposite of what a kick may imply. Just stop with the abuse already, it’s not fun or cute or cool or whatever you might be thinking… it’s just mean. 

Stop blushing, that only proves him right, with the observation that you like the boy standing right next to him. But don’t be rude by laughing it off, just change the subject. There you go, you can breathe now that they’re gone, and you can tell Lynden the truth, she’s a friend she’s not going to blab the secret crush you have all over the place. Or just lie to her, fine. 

Invite one of your friends over… they’re not going to hate you for wanting them to come hang out with you after school, in fact probably the opposite. Invite that new girl… just because your friends don’t like her, doesn’t give you the right to blow her off every time someone else is around. Don’t let other people define your friendships for you. Camille is a nice girl, and a genuine friend, so stop treating her poorly when other people are around.. so what if it’s not “cool” to be her friend, be one anyway.

Just because he asked you to skate one round with him doesn’t mean he likes you like that… He’s just a nice guy who wants to be a friend, so don’t get your hopes up. Let him sit next to you on the last day of class, that’s fine, but don’t look so far into it. Don’t see the fact that he’s sharing pictures of his younger quad sisters with you as the definition that he likes you as anything more than a friend. Now that you’re in High school, you should probably move on from your little crush, it’s been 2 years, and that’s long enough… besides, his new haircut resembles that of a turkey, ok, that’s a bit mean but still.. move on.

Fine, his hair’s back to normal, and you’re still stuck on the same feeling you had in middle school, but just because it’s now senior year doesn’t change anything. So you’ve spent 5 years pining over him, it doesn’t mean anything on his end. Stop expecting his feelings to be the same as your own, and for him to display said feelings. You’re friends, nothing more. Prom and tolo aren’t going to change that. I hate to say I told you so, but now that you’re reading his goodbye, maybe you can just move on. It’s for the best, trust me.

You should have gone to her house when she stopped dropping by yours. You live right next to each other, so you need to make more of an effort to be a good friend outside of school. Jump into that conversation she’s getting sucked into by the girl who’s trying to make her feel bad… be a good friend and stand up for her, even if it is uncomfortable to yell at the girl you’ve been stepped on by, for all these years. Said girl is not worth being terrified by. Stop giving her this power to control your tongue. 

Stop insisting that they’re pushing you out of their circle just because they went to Tolo as a group and left you out of it. Speak up and let her know how that makes you feel. Don’t act like it doesn’t hurt when they exclude you, but start including yourself or move on entirely. You can’t have a friend in someone who doesn’t see your value, so don’t let the absence of said friendship hurt you. Move on or make a change, it’s up to you. 

Just because you and that one other friend of hers don’t get along, that doesn’t mean your neighbor hates you now. Make an effort to stay friends while you still live in the same state. Senior year will end, and when it does, connections to the people you care about will get harder to keep. Be the friend you want her to be to you. But don’t forget about your other friends. Try and remain close to the girl whom you used to listen to Abba with, or the one who has a quirky family… Those two are the ones who were there to push you into uncomfortable situations that were good for you. Like asking that boy to Tolo, or jumping on that actual rollercoaster when you were scared to death. Don’t lose them with silence.

As high school comes to a close, don’t waste so much of your thoughts on that boy you used to walk home with. Instead, spend it with friends who are comfortable enough around you to say anything. Give them more of your time, because you’re not going to get more after this is all said and done. You will move on from the boy, and meet someone who actually cares enough to feel something for you, and display said feelings. He will make you realise that love is a different feeling than the infatuation you had for the one you wasted so much time on. Instead, focus on your friends, and remaining their friend. They’re the ones you’ll miss the most later on down the road. 

If only you had heard these things when you were younger, maybe then, things would have been different. But you live and you learn, and sometimes you have to break in order to be ok. Don’t be afraid to live, even if it’s terrifying. 

Much love,

The older and wiser version of yourself,

Melissa Dykstra

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