Yo, girl. Yo,
Put down the eyeliner.
While you are at it, put down that box of red dye. Angela Chase or Tori Amos you ain't. The good news is in 17 more years you will be so comfortable in your hair and your face and your sensible shoes that you wouldn't dare try to be anyone else but you.
You will carry your love of books into adulthood. One of the best parts about being 17 years older than 17 is that you get to read whatever you want. No assignments. No homework. No cramming in pages before third period. No Beowulf! Unless you want to! But you won't! You will read things like collections of short stories about drinking and smoking and screwing, all things you are now totally legal to do. Woo!
You will buy and wear things called blazers. You will consider, then purchase, shaping underwear. They are called Spanx, but don't let that scare you. You'll still be trying to master high heels 17 years from now, but you've nailed the art of make-up application. You'll make enough to buy a few items from MAC, and you'll know it's money well spent.
You won't make your bed. You'll wish you did, but you won't have to, so you won't. Except on special occasions.
You'll do suprisingly well at being on time, but even 17 years from now you will lose things as if you have some sort of curse.
You'll be a waitress and a bartender for eight years. You'll get spat at, cussed out, burned, fucked over, cut and you'll go home exhausted and covered in a stench only restaurant workers recognize once a shift is through. Then you'll get a different kind of job. Eventually, people--even people in suits!--will listen to you. You'll win awards. Your name will be in newspapers, both as subject and as scribe. So, yes, you'll be a waitress for almost a decade. Then you'll go back and do it for a month 17 years from now after you move from New York City with no job.
Oh, about that. You'll move to New York. Manhattan, right by the Hudson River. It will be equally exhilarating and horrible. Both amazing and awful. But you'll be so glad you did it.
You'll smoke and then you'll quit. You will make friends who will then die. You'll have pets and then you won't. You will have epic romances and a billion crushes.
Oh, and 17 years from now, you'll know exactly what it feels like to be a 17-year-old boy. Your skin will come alive in a way it never had before. You'll know your body and finally, finally live inside it rather than wear it like something ill-fitting and shameful. You will know pleasure.
Your sister will become your best friend. It's true; you have to believe me because I am you. You fight now and you scream and you compete, but she shares so many of your memories. You'll both move away from things that pit you against each other, and you'll come out on the other side as partners in a shared past.
You'll have regrets, oh yes, you will.
More than anything 17-year-old me, I want to tell you this:
Don't worry. I know you'll have to do a lot of crying and a lot of hurting and a lot of betraying and a lot of forgiving and a lot of writing of checks to shrinks to fully be able to process that and do it, but 17-year-old me, I want to grab you by the shoulders and shake you and make you understand it. Don't worry.
And another thing: those Slim-Fast shakes? Full of carbs. What are carbs? You'll see.