letters to my younger selves

Sometimes even I need a break from feminist rants and the horrors of the world.  Shocking, I know.  So, in light of this, I thought I’d copy the idea of a much greater blogger than I: Allie of Hyperbole and a Half.  In her 2013 book of the same name, one of the segments consists of her writing letters to her past selves of various ages to question their decisions and to offer advice.  It is hilarious.  Go read it now.

In the same vein, I thought I would also write letters to Past Sam, because Past Sam was pretty dumb and I question her motivations every day.  Not to say that Present Sam isn’t also kind of dumb, but I digress…

Dear 100-day-old Sam,

I suppose this isn’t the best letter to start with, because I am not questioning your motivations or your intelligence.  Barely-sentient blobs of flesh generally do not have the capacity for such things.  Instead, I wish to express my jealousy.


Like, are you kidding me?  You are the cutest fucking baby I have ever seen in my life.  This photo could make hardened war criminals smile.  Look at those arm rolls.  Your cheeks literally sag below your chin.  And, my God, the intensity with which you stare at those donuts!  If only I could emanate such vehemence for literally anything in my adult life.

You did it, you tiny Michelin Man.  You officially peaked at the age of 100 days.  It only goes downhill from here.  Congratulations.

Dear 3-year-old Sam,

Along with “please” and “thank you”, one of the most pervasive childhood lessons we’re taught is “never talk to strangers”. Barney taught us all countless lessons, including “don’t leave the water on when you brush your teeth” and “clean up after yourself” (neither which particularly stuck), but I’d hazard to say that “never talk to strangers” is among the most important.

However, I don’t think you conceptually understand what a stranger is.  Barney never quite made it clear.  I’m quite convinced that whenever you hear the word “stranger”, you picture a being that resembles the Lich from Adventure Time.

the lich
A stranger.

3-year-old Sam, I know you.  You LOVE to talk on the phone.  It’s a magic box that has buttons to press (I know you also really love buttons) and it lets you talk to your grandparents whenever you want.  You love it so much that every time you see Mom with the phone to her ear, you need to dance beside her and chant, “IWANNATALKIWANNATALKIWANNATALK”.  And the only way you’ll give up your little dance is if Mom tells you, “It’s a stranger.”

And it works.  As soon as she tells you that it’s a stranger, you give a knowing look, say “Oh,” and walk away, filled with awe that your mother has the courage to talk to such a beast.

Well, young Sam, I’ll let you in on a little secret: Those probably aren’t strangers on the phone. And even if they are, they can’t get you through the phone. Mom just wants you to fuck off. So don’t let her win. Dance your phone dance and achieve your phone-talking dreams.

Come to think of it though, perhaps this anti-stranger conditioning explains why, to this day, you still hate talking to strangers.  Unlike you, though, I am forced to interact with strangers on a daily basis.  Honestly, every single one kind of still resembles the Lich.

Dear 5-year-old Sam,

I know you think that playing tag in the mall with your 3-year-old sister is a super fun and great idea, but I need to tell you that it’s not.  Here’s the thing: You probably don’t know this yet, but you have an absolutely horrible sense of direction.  As in, a star-nosed mole could probably find its way home from the grocery store faster than you.  Since you are five and thus likely unaware of mole physiology, let me explain why this is pathetic.  Star-nosed moles are functionally blind, as well as being kind of chubby and not very fast, which, come to think of it, actually describes you pretty well too.  However, star-nosed moles have an understanding of their surroundings due to a complex sensory system that involves their eponymous nose stars.  Conversely, despite having the ability to see, you are in a constant state of spatial confusion.

sam vs mole

As such, when you and Emily ran more than 15 feet away from Mom and your babysitter, you immediately became hopelessly lost.  And, because kindergarten clearly failed to teach you that whole “if you get lost, stay where you are” lesson, you decided to take advice from Scooby-Doo, which, FYI, is a fictional cartoon.  So, in Scooby-Doo fashion (and forgetting that the gang separating always turned out to be a bad idea), you told young Emily that the two of you should “split up and go different ways, and meet up when you find Mom.”  Like most 3-year-olds, Emily was little more than an adorable potato with legs; sending a lone bipedal potato out into a crowded mall to find her mother can only be viewed as evidence that you secretly hated her and hoped she would be lost forever.

sam and em
Further evidence.  Your eyes say “evil”, hers say “help”.

Thankfully (or unfortunately, if I am right in assuming your intentions were malicious), Emily was found a short time later by the babysitter.  She had a great time playing with some other kid she found (ah, the simplicity of childhood), so really, all’s well that ends well.  As for you, a random lady who was thankfully not a kidnapper noticed you wandering about with the (un)certainty of Present Sam navigating adulthood.  She took pity on you and brought you to the customer service station, and a security guard escorted you back to your flustered mother.  I hope you learned your lesson.

Dear 6-year-old Sam,

I know you really fucking love Pokémon.  I get it.  At 23, I still really fucking love Pokémon.  Pokémon Go is basically all I have to live for.  What’s Pokémon Go, you may ask?  Well, I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but basically, in about 17 years’ time, all your Pokémon dreams will come true.

But I digress.  Anyway, I really think there are other ways to publicly display your love for Pokémon that don’t involve carrying around a life-sized stuffed Charmander.  The other kids already think you’re pretty weird due to the fact that you like to chase boys and try to kiss them as they run away screaming (and I regret to inform you that both your flirting skills and your success rates have only gotten worse with age).  You’re already “Kissy Girl”.  Please stop this before you also become Pikachu Girl, which I assure you, will happen in a matter of a couple years.

Even if we ignore the weirdness factor (which is really only fair; most 6-year-olds are pretty weird), there’s still safety to consider.  Charmander is literally the same size as you.  You’re not the most sure-footed of children (even in adulthood, this flaw has not been remedied), thus making me wonder if you harbour a taste for masochism.  Poor Charmander is being dragged, dropped, and tripped on the daily.  Surely his companionship isn’t worth the scraped knees?

Look, he’s larger (and only slightly smarter) than your (future) dog.

I’m only trying to save you trauma.  Think about it; if you hadn’t brought Charmander to school, you wouldn’t have forgotten him in the cubby area, and you would have saved yourself hours of upset and begging Mom to track down the janitor to unlock the classroom door.  Don’t be that kid.

On an unrelated note, I also wanted to congratulate you on this artistic masterpiece.  You clearly worked very hard on it, and it deserves wider recognition beyond the mere refrigerator gallery it was delegated to.


Very Nice™

Dear 12-year-old Sam,

As you enter your preteen/teenage years, I have but four pieces of advice for you:

  1. Please don’t dye your hair blonde.
  2. Please let Mom pluck your eyebrows and teach you how to fill them in.
  3. Please don’t buy that sparkly pink lip gloss.
  4. Giving boys your goldfish crackers at lunch won’t make them love you.
We 90’s kids didn’t have YouTube makeup tutorials to save us from such tragedy.

Dear other iterations of past Sam that I did not personally address,

Sorry girl.  You’re on your own.  I wish I could say that everything turns out fabulously in the end, but I don’t want to lie to you.

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