To Tori at 20,
Don’t be afraid of what I’m about to say to you. I can see you worrying about this letter and you have no reason to do so. You’ve heard this before, and you’ll hear this again: you are much too hard on yourself. Especially when you have so much to be proud of.
“Like what?” you say. Well, consider the following:
– Remember when your Media Law professor told you that you’d fail her class because you dared to take the pre-req in the same semester? You thought, “Like hell I will,” and got a B. I recently found the term paper you wrote and was thrilled to see she found the paper well-written. She said it was a pleasure to read. Heads up: she also gave you an A in a course you took with her 2 years later. It was the first time you proved someone wrong, and it felt damn good.
– You went to Iowa City with M to see Liz Phair. You got home at 4 a.m. and still went to all your classes the next day. Even your classmates in your journalism history course gave you a high five for that.
– How about that class you took… in London? You flew there by yourself. You got to the flat by yourself. You navigated the tube and bus system by yourself. You saw some really great (and some really crappy) theater. You made friends. You went clubbing. You grew up a little bit. You couldn’t have done that had you lived at home the entire summer.
Mom still tells me how impressed she was that you travelled by yourself to a foreign country at 20. As we both know, Mom isn’t impressed by much.
– And then you came home and got a job at the cheese factory. How responsible of you! Sure, it was boring, but it made you appreciate school when you returned for fall semester.
You also told the creepy machinist off when you went home and worked over Thanksgiving break. All you had to do was say you don’t date men old enough to be your father! He nearly got laughed out of work.
– Speaking of the opposite sex, you told B about your feelings for him… and it didn’t work out in your favor. His rejection made you sad, but it didn’t crush your soul into dust. You eventually figured out that he was a great friend, but not The One.
– I forgot the most important thing: an essay you wrote that summer will be published in a book when you’re 21! It’s not going to make you famous, but were you expecting that, anyway?
So you’ve been living right, and I’m proud of you. I repeat: I’m proud of you.
About the mistakes that you’ve made: I can’t remember them at this point. You did the best you could with what you had to work with, and that’s all that matters in the long run.
However, it’s not all sunshine and puppies. In the next year, you’ll recieve shocks to your system that will wound you to your core. I can’t offer much in the way of assistance, except to let you know you will get through it all.
And that’s a promise.
Love, love, love,