Friday, June 23, 2006

Letter to 13

Dear Brooke at 13,

I know that this is an incredibly scary time for you. Everything you have ever known is changing, and not for the better. I also know that there is nobody you can talk to about any of this. You know what I am talking about. Not about puberty, which is pretty much the only issue that your peers are dealing with right now. And not about boys, as you have no problem in that area. This is about the disintegration of your family, your home, and everything that has made your life good, and stable, and happy, up to this point.

Your father is gone - not for good - but he's gone for now and there is nothing you can do about it. It's not your fault and it's best for you to just know that he will be back and he will make every effort to make it up to you in his own way. Your mother is having the first of many meltdowns. Get used to this. They come and go with the breeze. This will be hard for you to comprehend, but you and she will be best friends one day. Important tip: breathe deep and count to five when you sense an oncoming freak-out. As for your brothers, though older and wiser, they are still too young and contain too much testerone to be able to understand what you are going through. They are also having a much harder time dealing with all of this then they are letting on.

You will always have fond memories of your life before now, but please, leave them in the past. You had an incrediby happy childhood. What you are going through now is totally unfair and borderline cruel, but you will get through it. The long, lonely walks you will take to get to your new school will help. They will give you the time to think, and sort, and deal with the fact that you are in a new town, a new home, and none of your old comforts to help you. I know it will be tempting to spend those walks imagining that none of this is happening - believe me I know. But don't. Pretending that none of this is real robs you of the opportunity to see the good things when they come - and they will. Believe me.

Give the new kids a chance. I understand why you don't want to tell them about where your father is. Or that your family had to sell the house you grew up in and then all go their separate ways. Or that you had to give away your dogs, and your cat, and sell anything of real value to move from a 5-bedroom house at the shore to a tiny 2-bedroom rowhome in Center City - with only your mother, no less. It's ok to have secrets, but don't let them eat you up inside. These kids won't judge you. They will like you. They don't care that you don't have the kind of money they have. They don't care that you wear Levi's and not Sassoons. You will be extremely popular because you are enormously likable. Trust me.

I don't want to tell you how this year ends because I am afraid it will begin a lifelong pattern of living in the future and not the present. But know this - you are going to be OK. You have more strength in you than you know. Everything that has happened - has happened for a reason. Go with it. Stretch. Learn. Absorb. And most important of all, don't be afraid to be yourself.


Brooke at 40
(I know! Can you believe it! We're 40!)


Sysm said...


Nick said...

You're messing with the space-time continuum, you'll kill us all.

Nick said...
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Lo Lo Lova said...


Sometimes life really sucks and I'm sorry for what 13 had to go thru. But, "that which does not kill us, only makes us stronger."

And you are strong like, bull, baby! STRONG LIKE BULL!!

Think Frustrated said...

40! Damn, you're one foot in the grave!

If I could send my 13 year-old self a letter, it would contain two sentences.

Doing well in school is more important than hanging out with your burnout friends, who, in 15 years, will still be burnouts working minimum wage jobs. You're smart; don't wait until college to apply yourself.

He wouldn't listen.

MoDigli said...

Well, I almost said Happy Birthday, cause I figured maybe this was a birthday-type of post. But then I remembered that you are a Virgo. So, no birthday for you - yet!

Loved this post! You've come a long way, baby!

miss kendra said...

if i wrote a letter to myself a thirteen, it would be far less coherent than this.

it might include pictures though.

(13 or 40, you're lovely.)

Brookelina said...

Sysm - thank you.

Nick - you're right. I'm throwing out my letter to the 18 year old Kendra instructing her to have sex with you. You have no one to blame but yourself.

Lo Lo - me strong! You strong! We strong!

TF - and you just wrote the opening lines to "Letter to 14" for me.

MoMo - thanks baby! Soon enough I'll be signing these letters Brooke at 41.

Kendra - lovely? It takes one to know one.

~d said...

Don't you just WISH you could tell a 13 yo whats up-and have them actually LISTEN? God, Brooke, the things I would have done different.
This is good to read-what inspired it?

matty said...

This made me cry. I will be 40 in November and wish I knew how to write such a perfect note to my 13 year old self.

and, who knows --- maybe these thoughts of yours will manage to reach thru the span of space to touch upon that tender soul at 13.

...stranger things happen every day.

Wouldn't it be so cool if we could jump back and talk to our childhood selves?

Ms. Brooke, great and astounding post.

Übermilf said...

13-year-old Brooke to 40-year-old Brooke:

Do we look like one of Charlie's Angels? Do we get to marry John Travolta? Do we have a bitchin' Camaro?

Tits McGee said...

That was just the nicest thing to read. You rock my world.

Bill said...

And if I were writing to myself I'd say, "If you keep doing that you'll go blind - not!"

Sorry. I couldn't resist. Actually I'd say, "Pay no attention to me. Talk to Brooke at 40."

Brookelina said...

~d - thanks! I was originally going to write a "do-over" post, something I've been wanting to write for a long time. But it turned into this instead. Maybe I'll do one for every year.

Matt - awwww...don't cry Matty. And yes, I would love to go back and talk to her, or better yet, do over!

Ubie - honey, we'll talk about that next year. For now just keep one thing in mind: buy Microsoft.

Tits - right back atcha. Damn but I love your name.

Bill - oh I think that would completely alter the very course of mankind. Cool!

jamwall said...

happy birthday!

Nick said...

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Slow down. One or two letters won't kill us, I was just being dramatic. Plus, everyone knows you shouldn't listen to me, after all I'm 21% stupid.

Bill said...

Just don't make me fall in love with Viggo. I can't afford the therapy that would entail.

mernitman said...

Wish I'd been able to write to me back then (basic thrust: don't give up all that arty nonsense but for chrissake learn a real skill while you're at it), but anyway -- great letter. Better than "13 Going on 30," which you could do a nice reversal on (40 Going on 13) although wait, that was "Peggy Sue Got Married," which your letter is also better than -- oh never mind.

jungle jane said...

My 13 year old wrote a similar letter to me recently. she mentioned i might ease off smoking, drinking and smoking weed. I wrote back to her telling her to mind her manners.

Toby said...

I didn't read it.

Spinning Girl said...

I think I need to do this.

Brookelina said...

Jamwall - thank you! Where's my present?

Nick - too late!

Bill - you should be so lucky.

Billy - being that you are a real live published author, any compliment from you I take to heart.

Jane - that explains so much.

Toby - good. I wrote it specifically for you not to read.

SG - I can't wait to read it.

Karen Little said...

That's brilliant! So brilliant! I love it!

world champ stephen neal said...

Damn. You really are a babbling brooke.

Miss Syl said...

This is a really cool idea. And really well written, of course, as usual--very touching.

It reminds me of this other very lovely looking back post I read at this now mostly defunct blog here:

Definitely worth a read.

Brookelina said...

Karen - thank you so much!

Stephen - thanks for coming by. Oh, and the 70's called - they want their beard back.

Syl - very nice read. Thanks for sharing that.

jiggs said...

sweet brookie.

Blonde Vigilante said...
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Blonde Vigilante said...

It's really crazy how time makes the unbearable bearable. We live, we learn...thank God we don't have to buy luvs.

JJ said...

You are enormously likabel. I concur.

Oh, and this just came in, apparently delivered to me by mistake:

Don't eat the salmon mousse.

Brook at 80

solethoughts said...

This is perhaps your best post,maybe with the exception of you flashing the sailors.

surly girl said...

what spinning girl said - but what would i say?! um...stay away from the guy with the cropped jacket that makes him look like a waiter - he's a psycho and will cause you nothing but heartache...

actually, where can i get a time machine?

Girl With An Alibi said...

Beautiful. I like that as a healing exercise. Caring for your younger self. Now if only you had a "Lake House" mailbox to put that in...

Flounder said...

33 comments and no one asked...


It's like Rosebud or what was in Marsellus Wallace's brief case.

Your killing me Brooke!

Alistair! said...

Hey Brooke. Welcome to the Club.

Dave said...

Great stuff as always. Could you drop a note to Dave at 13?

Jill said...

That's so sweet! I've been writing to myself at other ages as well. Actually, I've been writing a character of myself as a pre-schooler. Of course, I'm a little strange.

ing said...

Me too, I want to know how it ended. Your 13-year-old-self doesn't have to find out.

I'm afraid I'd have to tell my 13-year-old-self to toughen up because life is just going to get harder and harder and harder.

Her future kind of slid gradually down a hill.

Brookelina said...

Jiggsy - you wock.

Blonde - my thoughts exactly.

JJ - how did you know that salmon mousse was one of my specialties?

PEZ - I think that flashing post was what brought us together.

Surly - I don't know but if you get one, pick me up on your way back to wherever you go.

Girl - and Keanu Reeves to answer me.

Flounder - I'll never tell!!! MWUHAHAHA!!

Alistair - thank you. Do we get jackets?

Dave - yes, I'll tell him to go for the kooky Jersey chick he meets in blogland.

Jill - I've been writing a character of myself as a child too! Only not in pre-school, cause I barely remember that. I do recall liking paste though.

Ing - ok I'll tell you. We actually moved back to the shore at the end of the school year and I resumed my life ...somewhat.

Tumbleweed said...

You do have more strength in you than you know!! Thank you for sharing that. I think I am going to borrow most of it for my daughter. *HUGS*

Rrramone said...

This is so awesome. I am big fan of writing letters to yourself. Thanks for teaching the world how to grow. :-)