Thursday, March 23, 2017

Letter to Melissa

Dear Melissa,

you know, since you're a friend of Mollies, that she and I have few, if any, secrets. And she tells me what's going on with her friends. She knows I care. I care because I want to know what's going on around my daughter and also because, well, I give a damn about you.

So girlfriend, I was more than a little worried to hear some of the choices you've been making. Especially with the drinking.

I know there's a good possibility that the gossip I heard isn't close to the truth. Maybe you experimented once or twice with alcohol. Hell, most kids do. I remember my brother and his friends imbibing in high school and none of them have turned into raging alcoholics or criminal underbelly types.

Drinking might be a right of passage. Just like trying cigarettes and sex and pot.

So why exactly are these rites of passages anyway? Seems that maybe we excuse things like that because there might be other things happening behind that which we want to ignore. I smoked cigarettes and pot because I was miserable as a teenager because my father sexually abused me and my mother pretended not to know.

Choices at fifteen are the same as choices at fifty-eight: we all have reasons we make them.

I'm going to tell you something that you don't know.... and I can imagine that at 15, you're rolling your eyes at an old woman giving you advice. After all, it's been over 40 years since I was your age. But see, there's something I know because I am so much older than you: I know regret. I know embarrassment. I know that there are still moments from my elementary school years that continue to make me blush. And those were innocent things.

It's easy to think you know so much with the internet at your fingers and strangers telling you what they want you to believe. But I'm not a stranger, Melissa, and I know something they don't know. I know you. I know that you're talented and you have dreams. I know that you love acting, that you're a good friend, that you have a good heart.

And I know you're going to regret the choices you're making.

At 15 years old, you're not thinking of the future but I am. I'm thinking of who you might become and I'm afraid that the choices you're making right now could change the bright future to a dimmer one. Naturally I'm afraid of teen pregnancy and Mollie knows that I'm here to help any of her friends get contraceptives if needed.

I'm also here to listen if you want to talk, sweetheart. I know you have concerns and issues that I know nothing about. I saw the bandages on your wrists too, you know.

I promise you, whatever is happening is transient. The world keeps moving and so does life. I'm here for you and so is Mollie. Confide in someone. Let someone here the truth of you and your life. And know that there are answers, there are better paths, there are other ways.

Call me. Call someone. You're an amazing person, Melissa, and I want the world for you. Let's work together to make sure you get brightness and joy.

Love you.


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