If I could write a letter to me I would address it to myself between the years of 2002 and 2005 because more than any other period in one’s life, the years spent in Middle School are the most transitory and impact-full.
You have just left your real childhood behind. Elementary school has now faded into the very complex three years of middle school. You’re body will begin to change physically, “pimples” on your forehead will become a natural phenomenon but don’t worry too much because unlike so many other poor devils, you’ll never acne. You will also find many other things to be self-conscience about, but again don’t worry. After Middle School, nobody will care because everybody secretly suffers from the same insecurities.
You will make life long friends in this time. You don’t know it yet, but Paul will fade away from “Best Friend” status and Armando Rivera of all people will become your dearest compadre. But others will come and go and you must remember that they all play a hand in shaping who you are. You are not necessarily what you eat, but who you hang out with can make or break your reputation. Realize this and hold on to the damn few who bring out the best in you.
However, I will say to have some discretion as to who you give your sacred trust to. Unfortunately, there will be some who will abuse your kindness and toy with the secrets you divulge. Be weary of these individuals, but never let it cloud your affect your warm personality.
As for girls, they will come, don’t you worry about that. You are still very young and there are far more beyond Robyn and even Libby. I won’t get into the details now, but High School will be a very rewarding yet sordid affair when it comes to the ladies. Just worry about yourself for now, and fostering the friendships between those who will become The Guys. Don’t worry, you’ll know what that means in a few years.
Embrace the arts as much and often as you can. I know it is difficult, but try to practice the saxophone at home. If Da is going to force you to carry it everywhere then make it worthwhile. It is a beautiful instrument that you will grow to appreciate in time. Continue to sketch, doodle, and draw and you know Miss Hunter’s Garden? Yeah, even me at 21 still hasn’t gone back to it but maybe you can.
I know you love baseball, but I’m gonna be straight up honest with you now. You’re not that good. Sorry, but to play for the Yankees is ultimately a childhood dream. Continue to love the sport and collect the cards, but there is a bigger calling in your life and it is something you have not seen coming.
That calling is the theatre. That’s right; the art of acting is going to grab ahold of you. It will start off innocent enough, with sketch comedy, but will evolved into something more serious before long. You will have ambitions of the movies and the great stages of the world. I know, that sounds really cool, but it takes more dedication than you will ever think possible. The quicker you realize that and the worth of a smile over any amount of envy or contempt, the more successful you will be. Trust, don’t learn the hard way.
As far as relationships with your family go, know that they are the most important thing in your life. While this may be easy to take for granted, don’t. After school, when you are broke, they will be the only ones willing to help. Da and Daddy love you and Max immeasurably but while things may seem rosy now, there will be dark days in the future. I won’t go into details because ultimately, after the shock wears, you won’t be surprised. You will also get by with the help of Max. Believe it or not, but despite everything I said before about friends, Max will become your best. Foster that as soon as you can before it takes a family drama to cement your bonds of brotherhood.
The same is true for Little David. He is your older brother and as such will become a sage of wisdom during the family drama. He’s been through it himself, same dad and all. Also, do not forget your family overseas. We will travel Europe one day and will need to rely on them, but more seriously, you have an aunt, uncle, and cousins who will never turn you away.
The most important thing, however, that you should do now- right away- is talk to them all; all the elders. Don’t wait until it’s too late to talk to Nanny, Poppy, and Uncle Joe because life is a very fragile thing and will disappear much sooner than you think. Learn the stories, the past, the family secrets because once they are gone there will be no more storytellers without your effort. And when Nanny, Poppy, and Uncle Joe leave us, be there for Da. When John Mapleston and Daddy’s uncles leave, be there for him. As much as you rely on your family, they depend on you just the same.
I believe I have gone on enough now, but don’t worry, I will probably write you again- maybe in a few years when you start living some of the things I’ve mentioned.
For now, in closing, I will only say to relish the good times, learn from the bad, keep on smiling, and that the best is always yet to come.
January 12, 2013