A Letter to My Eleventh Grade Self

My picture in Eleventh Grade (Jack Rabbit School)

No make up on picture day!  What was I thinking!?


Dear Prudence,

This letter is from your older self.  I’m 46 years old now.  The picture above was taken almost thirty years ago.  I was in eleventh grade at the second of three schools I attended.  Since I’m thirty years ahead of you now, let me tell you what I’ve learned about…me/you.

If I had my life to do over again, there are some things I would do differently.

First of all, in high school, I would NOT sweat going to three schools.  It made me much better at breaking the ice with new people.  These days, I can start and carry on a conversation with just about ANYONE.  In life, interacting with lots of different kinds of people in a skill.  I use this skill everyday.

I would NOT allow some stupid guidance counselor to talk me out of my dream. Instead, I would dress more like the actress I was (feather boa, long dramatic dress) and then sweep into the counselor’s office and see if she STILL thought I wasn’t talented enough. Turns out, I was.  But I didn’t realize it until I was too old to do anything about it. 🙁 In the end, I did find out that I am a very talented writer! One door closes, and another one opens!

I was absolutely RIGHT to get out of that PE/Tennis class where that “mean girl” was bullying me.  The teacher didn’t take my feelings seriously and I decided that was just NOT acceptable!  And I was right!  I made a plan to get out of the class.  I took action and safeguarded myself.  The (stupid) guidance counselor warned me I would have to make it up later, and I did.  My senior year, (third school ) I had to put in an extra semester working in the records office.  No big deal.

My third school (AKA the Sun Devil School) helped my passion blossom. I wish I had not listened to my parents telling me “to find a more stable choice” in my passion.  My love of the theater was much stronger than I knew.  And there WAS lots of money out there to help me.  I just needed to find the information I was missing and the people I needed to help me.

Watch out for a woman who walks with a cane.  Her name is Claudia.  She will be an important mentor for you.  Listen to her!

And when your college drama professor goes to all the trouble of getting you an application to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London – fill it out!  You will find the money!  Believe this and make a plan!  You can do it!

Put make up on your face everyday, girlfriend!  You have SUCH a pretty face when you try to look your best!  Some people believe gals put make up on for the fellas.  Turns out they like ya’ natural anyway.  Make up is really like war paint.  And the enemy – those “mean girls” who show up, even when you are my age.  Turns out you cannot escape them.  You need to learn how to deal with them.  Sometimes, you have the luxury of walking away.  Many times, you do not.  You’ll have to work with them (collegues), or for them (bosses) and serve them (customers).  Put your war paint on and keep your chin up.  It’s just their ugly opinion anyway.  Talk to the hand mean girl!  And pass the lipstick!

STOP BEATING YOURSELF UP about stuff that happened.  Stuff happens!  And it usually turned out that it wasn’t your fault anyway.  Don’t give your power away by telling yourself everything is your fault.  Later, you will find a very special path to the Heavenly Father and you will learn how to, in a healthy way, see your own mistakes and then TAKE ACTION to fix those mistakes.

Stop wearing that black oversized coat!  I know you are afraid that boys will see your (rather slim, actually) body.  You need to talk to someone you trust about what happened to you in Mexico.  You are depressed, sweetheart.  You can’t even smile in this picture.  Find someone to talk to (a DIFFERENT guidance counselor or a trusted teacher).  It is not a good idea to hold all your feelings inside.  Over time, it weighs you down and you will get fat!  Talk to someone.  Try to find your smile.

Believe that your parents love you, because they do.  They may not show it in a way that you would wish.  But they believe they are protecting you.  And they are.  The world is not a nice place when you are weak.  You are young, and beautiful and you think you know more than you actually do.  This actually makes you weak. Thank goodness you understand the importance of listening to the people who love you. You have learned this much earlier than some of your friends did.

That being said, don’t listen to your parents in regards to your dream.  Parents see you as five years old, even when you are forty five years old.  Make a plan, create a timeline.  And then TAKE ACTION.  It doesn’t have to GIANT steps.  Baby steps daily get you there too.  Teenagers seem to think everything has to be dramatic to get you places.  The opposite is more the truth.  Repeat after me…baby steps, little tweaks…that will get you where you want to go.

Well, that’s it for right now!  I hope I haven’t overwhelmed you too much.

Smile, Prudence!  You are “such things as dreams and magic are made of.”



P.S. Go to Europe sooner!  I was too much fun!!!! Watch out for bunnies!  Give your nieces extra hugs and kisses.  You’ll be SO glad you did. 🙂