Dear Baby Me: December 21, 1996

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Dear Steve,
Did I ever tell you that Sander is coming to the Edge now? He’s a lot of fun. He’s cute to. But Margi’s dating him so he isn’t interested in me. Oh well! I’m working on Chris. I gotta go! Love ya!
Love Meg

Dear Steve,
Me and Kim went to the Edge Christmas party. It was O.K. Oops! I gotta scram! Love ya!
Love Meg

Dear Baby Me,

I would like to tell you something that you will hardly be able to comprehend at this point in time – Sander was (and I’m sure is) gay. So in point of fact, while he was an extremely nice boy who was very kind to you (and gave you social access in junior high youth group that you never would have had otherwise), he was certainly not someone who was ever a possibility for you. What is much more relevant is that he was kind and that he made you laugh when you were sad and that he didn’t ever treat you like you were lesser because you were a “lowly sevie.” While hanging out with the eighth graders was not exactly the best experience and all of the girls were at least a little mean to you, they were all less mean to you because of Sander. Hopefully he is doing well.

Also I would like to say that it is telling that now, at 31 years old, I honestly don’t even remember who this Chris was that you were “working on.” I remember the boy who was kind to you and was your friend in spite of how very dorky you were. But not the one who was your current crush project. Those came and went with such rapidity that they rarely left a mark.

I’d say there’s a lesson in there, about the importance of people in your life or the ways in which people will impact you, or what to look for when you are looking for the people who really matter. And all of that is true. But it’s also true that the boys you cycle through as projects will shape you too, in a very different way. I wish you could see it now, I wish you could pull up and rethink. It’s going to take a lot of unlearning someday to see all those boys as people, and to see yourself as one too. It will take a lot of beating your head against walls to see your way out of that maze and to see that we aren’t all just mechanized pieces in it. But then again, this growing up thing looks different for all of us, and this will be one of the themes that shapes yours. It’s my instinct to apologize for that for you, to wince away from it and try not to claim it but that would be untrue and unfair. Part of the ability I have now to empathize with people came from years of not truly seeing anyone as distinct and human and good, including myself. It’ll be worth it someday but right now it is a rough road, so hang on.

Love, Me

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