Dear Mrs B. (formerly Miss W.),
When I talk to myself, it's usually in real-time. So this opportunity to talk to myself in retrospect is an unusual one. I've thought long and hard about what to say to myself. I'm torn about what to say. I believe that a person has to go through what they go through to get where they need to go & be who they are. I wouldn't be who I am now without going through what I did to get here. Despite some of the tough stuff we've gone through, I'm happy where we ended up & I don't want to change that; however, I'll give us some things to think about.
Don't be afraid to say no. Don't be afraid to say you don't like something, that something isn't right, or something makes you angry. It might make someone mad for a time, but you've dealt with that before. Mad doesn't last forever, & you might save yourself some bad experiences that will haunt you the rest of your life.
Don't be afraid to be different. You wouldn't enjoy being a popular girl anyway, so enjoy who you are instead of being ashamed of it. You can't change it anyway, so embrace it. To hell with what other people think. You'll see in time that being unique is more fun than conforming anyway. Besides, you should enjoy things like dyeing your hair blue while you can. Eventually you'll have to "conform," at least outwardly, in order to get a good paying job, so have fun with it now, when it doesn't matter!
Don't worry so much about boys. Worrying about it makes you less attractive anyway. Enjoy yourself and the boys worth having will find their way to you.
Sex is overrated until you're at least into your 20s. No one knows what they're doing when they're 17 anyway, so don't stress about it. Also, there are many guys out there who will say anything to get you to give it up. Anything. Many of them are full of shit. Keep this in mind. Really.
Marriage? It doesn't change your relationship. If you have problems before you get married, nothing changes when you get married but your name & that breaking up becomes a legal hassle instead of just an emotional/logistical hassle. Think long & hard on this one. Be sure you're ready.
Oh, and about college? Any degree is better than no degree. There will come a point when you will need to have a degree. A bachelors in remedial underwater basket weaving is better than no degree at all. Are you getting this?? $11 an hour seems good when you have no bills, but when you have real bills? It's crap. You will not be happy doing data entry for the government forever. It would be easier to finish college before you get married & have kids.
And by the way? Since you have no real bills & have all that "extra" money? SAVE IT. DEBT SUCKS. Just something to think about...
That boy with the beautiful eyes? There will come a day when you will have a feeling that time is running out. Say something to him while you have the chance. I don't think it will change the outcome, but if you don't say something, you'll regret it. You'll know the moment. I know you will, because I remember that moment. I knew that moment at the time it happened. And I do regret it.
You'll make some questionable decisions (I had no idea we could drink that much tequila in one sitting...), but the result will be the conception of your son. Even though you've always hated kids, you will adore your son. He will change your life profoundly for the good. But, when his father leaves you? Be grateful. Be grateful and let him go. He is not the man you thought he was and both of you are better off without him. You will realize a lot of things after he's gone. Try not to feel too bad about yourself. Some of those decisions were "stupid." But without them, you wouldn't have your son. & he is worth it. I promise.
Above all, don't be ashamed of yourself. You've worked hard and are a good person. Don't let anyone shortchange you. You will find love. It will be a lot of hard work, as real love always is, but you will find it. Learn to love yourself first. Don't be afraid of yourself. Whenever shit hits the fan, you always figure it out. You are a strong woman.
Oh, and also? Join a class or something. We need exercise & it's easier to start habits before you have so many responsibilities. Dance or yoga or something. Just do something. We're feeling old & tired on this end...