Dear Sixteen

October 10, 2011
Dear Sixteen,

First off, screw you. Now that I've gotten that off my chest I can say what I've wanted to say these few short years later.

You were not sweet. You weren't even sour. I think the term "merciless" describes the day I met you best. I woke up on a rainy gray October morning where I went to school and got yelled at by my geometry teacher, who to this day I am still bitter towards. I went to fall play rehearsal and stayed late because it was tech week. I had a quiet dinner with my family and the only other person who remembered it was my birthday was my aunt Mary Joan, whose daughter was lying in a hospital bed with a cancerous brain tumor and one week to live. And that was just day one.

You went on to burden me with life-sucking grief and black depression. I became a plastic-smiling insomniac who cried as soon as she got home from school and thought about how easy it would be if it all ended.

"Needs improvement" and "low test/quiz scores" became regular comments on report cards once glowing with straight A's. I failed at relationships with boys and friendships with girls. You led me through failure after failure, and just when I'd think I had hit rock bottom, I'd fall through another layer.

I couldn't find a job. And at sixteen Mom expected that of me.

I lost any connection with my younger cousin Tiff. And Mary Joan had asked me to be like her surrogate big sister.

I stopped writing. And that was probably the hardest aspect of myself to lose.

Oh Sixteen, you really put me to the test. How much crap can Caitlyn take before she finally loses it? Surprisingly, a lot.

Because every day I woke up was another day closer to making it. Each and every day, I was growing closer to Seventeen and slowly prying myself out of your grasp.

My grades picked up. I won trophy after trophy in Irish dance. I began to write again and was even published. I was sleeping, eating, and even genuinely laughing a little. I was beating you at your own game, Sixteen, and I never lose.

And then one day, as quickly as you had arrived, you were gone. Seventeen went on to make up for everything that you lacked and then Eighteen topped it off with one of the best years of my life so far.

Despite your malevolence, I must thank you, Sixteen. You tested my limits and proved that everything I once thought I could never survive, I did. Plus there were a few good things you gave me: I learned how to drive, I became fearless in love, and I found my best friend.

Now Nineteen is only one week away and I have no idea what lies in store for me there. I realize there will be both good and bad times, but I hope the good outnumber and outshine the bad. Either way living with you has proved I can handle anything.

I just wanted to write this letter to tell you everything I've thought since that fateful 2008-2009. A lot has changed (for better and worse) but I've moved on. I may not have liked you Sixteen, yet I still respect what you've given me.

Oh, but still screw you.



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pinkowl said...
Nov. 30, 2013 at 1:52 pm
wow, such a powerful piece! i'm happy you shared this and that you overcame that year!
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