A Letter to My Childhood Self

Don’t grow up, it’s a trap

If you’re reading this right now, that means you made it to age 18. Congratulations! That’s a feat most people who knew you growing up would have bet against. Nevertheless, you’re here now, so I’ve got some advice for you.

In little league, when the boys baseball team makes fun of you for playing softball and throwing “like a girl,” smile proudly. Doing anything “like a girl” isn’t an insult. The sooner you learn that there’s nothing on this Earth a boy can do that you can’t, the better off you’ll be. So, hell yeah, you swing “like a girl!” If those boys practice hard enough, one day they might able to as well. If they still won’t shut up, kindly remind them that you fight like a girl too. But you didn’t hear that from me.

lettertochildhoodself - Kellen Renstrom

Illustrator: Kellen Renstrom

When your mom imprisons you in your room for not sharing your Polly Pockets, don’t take a red crayon to your wall and draw her as the devil with her eyes crossed out. She’ll scream in horror and lock herself in her room for an hour, terrified of the monster she gave birth to. She’s a student, nurse, AND has to raise you! Give her a break once in awhile, because, let’s be honest, you’re a LOT to handle sometimes—most of the time—okay fine, all the time.

Keep your eyes open for as long as possible when your dad reads you bedtime stories. Some of the greatest lessons you’ll ever learn and greatest journeys you’ll ever take happen within the pages of those books. Stay awake for as long as possible because it’s during those times you’ll realize the power of writing, and that words are the closest thing we have to magic.

She’s a student, nurse, AND has to raise you! Give her a break once in awhile, because, let’s be honest, you’re a LOT to handle sometimes.

Listen, kid, life is complicated, and it only gets more complicated with time. Take it easy. Grab a handful of flavor-blasted Goldfish. Pop in “High School Musical” to the DVD player for the 100th time. Maybe go for a cruise down the sidewalk in your Barbie edition four-wheeler. Whatever it is that you love doing, keep doing it, and don’t ever stop.

If there’s one final piece of advice I can give you, it’s to be unapologetically yourself.