Pilates and Sentimentality

7/26/2011 04:58:00 AM
As we were warming up in our nearly-full pilates class yesterday a young American girl walked in a few minutes late and joined us. It was her first time at a class and after the warmup the instructor asked her how old she was.

She replied that she was 14 and that she speaks English, but understands Spanish. The instructor then asked me if I was her sister. This made me smile. You know, since there are two brunette Americans in one pilates class they obviously must be related.

The point of this post: she was fourteen.

Oh, fourteen.

Awkward, fourteen.

On the cusp of high school... of college... of life!


For the next 20 minutes I mindlessly pointed and flexed my toes, legs and arms and inhaled and exhaled as we pilate-ed on the reformer beds. I just couldn't help but think of what I'd tell my 14-year-old self if I could.
My 14-year-old self who would just be entering her freshman year of high school...

  • I'd tell her that her socks don't necessarily have to match her sweater.
  • I'd tell her that her hair looked great, even though it absolutely didn't. Then I'd delicately tell her that it would get better.
  • I'd tell her that one day her uptop will grow. It'll just be when she has babies.
  • I'd tell her that she's loved. Oh so loved.
  • I'd tell her that the drama that comes with high school will all but be forgotten in no less than four years - so don't lose sleep over it.
  • Then I'd remind her that time seems like it'll stand still forever during the high school years but really and truly it flies by later.
  • But then I'd remind her that her drama and her troubles matter. We've all got problems and issues and they're commensurate with where we are in life.
  • Then I'd define what commensurate means.
  • I'd tell her that everyone else was just as self-conscious as she is.
  • I'd remind her that God loves her no matter what she's taught.
  • I'd let her know that picking her face actually does leave scars and that washing her face before bed will be the single-most appreciated hygiene-related tip from her Mom ever.
  • I'd tell her that she'd regret never trying out for any group sports. Ever.
  • I'd tell her that all of those journals, all of that diary-ing wouldn't be for naught. She'd grow up and have an online journal and it would still make her feel just as content as writing on paper does.
  • Then I'd tell her about google and tell her to buy some stock.
  • I'd tell her to make time for her little sister. Because in just 4 years she'll never live with her full-time again.
  • I'd tell her that funny beats super-incredibly-gorgeous any day of the week.
  • I'd tell her that collecting words and poems in that one binder would pay off later. That it would comfort her throughout the rest of her life. 
  • I'd tell her that each time she reads Khalil Gibran's, "On Children" as her anthem during those teen years it would still have have the same power when one day she'd read it not from a child's eye but a mother's eye. And that she'll still get it. That it will still resonate... just in a different way.
  • I'd tell her that it's totally ok if she can't understand why people love The Beatles. You didn't get it then, you won't get it later.
  • I'd tell her that crying is therapeutic.
  • I'd tell her that a "B" was ok.
  • I'd tell her to keep playing the piano.
  • I'd tell her to take spanish class seriously. Like, really.
  • I'd tell her that talking about someone when someone isn't there isn't cool. It's gossip. And it hurts everyone.
  • I'd tell her that mocking teachers and laughing at jokes made at the expense of others hurts them more than she'll ever know.
  • I'd tell her that her Mom isn't the enemy and that she is doing the best she can.
  • I would tell her that she'll miss her Dad forever. And that sometimes she'll cry and sometimes she won't. But losing him meant gaining an empathetic perspective that she'll cherish for a lifetime.
  • I'd tell her one day she'd be a dog owner. Finally.
  • I'd tell her that it's totally ok to be different. No really, it's ok.
  • I'd tell her to ease up on the eyebrow plucking. Those suckers will take years to grow back in.
  • I'd tell her that she'd meet her future husband in just THREE years... so sit tight... and let it happen.
Oh, I can keep going...

What would you tell your 14-year-old self? Come on. You know you'd want to tell him/her something...

Fun stuff.

Ah, life.



  1. Wow! That was beautiful! Thanks for that this morning. I find i would tell my highschool self a lot of the same things. I truly find it amazing how we all felt the same way, but could not communicate that with each other! Such awkward years those were.
    Now, here we all are... We are all incredibly interesting adults.
    Thanks for the thoughts for the day!

  2. Sister, while I have loved your blog posts about the girls, clever nods to the world at large and crazy food consumption, this is my all-time favorite post now.

    As your big and worldly sister, let me confirm to you that you were much cooler at 14 than you gave yourself credit for.

  3. So, so beautiful, Ky. Your beauty, always present, shines today. I'm so glad to call you friend.

    Thank you for this sharing.

    I'd tell my 14 year old self that it's okay to be sensitive. . . it's who she is.

  4. I LOVE THIS and I am going to do the same on my blog. THANK YOU!

  5. Love this!! Someday your girls will read it and gain all your wonderful wisdom and insight. I too love Khalil Gibran's, "On Children". :-)

    I would tell my 14 year old self to stop perming her hair, to embrace how skinny she is and enjoy eating like a farm-hand. haha

  6. This is quite amazing Ky. I wish you could travel back in time and tell 14 year old een all of this. Bravo.

  7. Loved this. However, please stop making me get all teary at work. ;)

    Have you heard Brad Paisley's song "Letter to Me"? Same idea - this post reminded me of it.


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