by Connor Zimmerman on February 7, 2020
by Erin Venuti ’20
Dear Erin (2010),
I’m reminded of you every day, without fail. I think about how you feel most comfortable wearing leggings and UGGs and a scrunchie—who would have guessed that they’d be back in style again?—and how I’m wearing all three of those things right now. I think about how much you love Harry Potter and the smell of lilacs and sitting in the second row of a classroom.
This is the year you become a teenager, the year you turn thirteen. Thirteen…to me, that sounds like such a small number, but I know that to you it feels so large. Thirteen.
Do you know that this is the year when your best friend will stop being your best friend? The first time you’ll begin to think that you’re not good enough.
The year you’ll experience loss, real loss for the first time? The first time you’ll go to a funeral and think about how you know someone in Heaven now.
Do you know that the thing you want to do with your life, your plan for the future, that it will really happen?
This is the year that will change your life.
I want you to know that you’re always going to be you. Your life will change, but you’ll stay the same.
I still have all those same doubts and insecurities. I still take pictures of the sunrise and love the sound of snowplows as I fall asleep. I still make up stories for the strangers I see and think about how the cars that pass me on the road are all playing different music. I still wonder if I’m as good as everyone else. I still love to wear warm clothes right out of the dryer and make homemade Valentines.
But that’s not a bad thing, you know? If I had the choice, I wouldn’t want to be another person. No matter what, I still want to be me.
My world has grown, and
I’ve grown with it. I don’t just have dreams, but plans. I’ve been to other countries, lived by myself. I know how to drive a car and buy a train ticket. I have money, not just the change leftover from the lunch money you get each morning, but money that I worked for. I have a degree, am on my way to get my next, and have plans for the one after that.
I still write. I wish I could write every day, but I don’t. Even still, I have words that are printed in a newspaper and a journal. I’ve even won a couple of awards. Can you believe it? There are people who think I’m a good writer. There are people who call me a writer.
Erin, the next ten years are going to be so much harder than the last. SO much harder. But you’re going to make it through it. You’re going to grow through it. You have no idea how much you’re going to grow.
Thanks for everything you are, and everything you are going to be.