Sunday, November 18, 2007

For Booey.

Congratulations on making it thus far through the throes of middle school.

I'm sorry you're having to deal with the cattiness that is so prevalent among girls your age--and the idiocy of boys your age.

Believe me, I understand.

When I talk with you, my beloved baby sister, the memories of being a wound-up wad of energy and emotion and nerves invariably comes flooding back.

Eighty-five pounds. Christopher Mitchell. Dealing with a brother I didn't understand. Zits. Ever After (and Dougray Scott). The Jenna Elfman-- that (first) hair cut that made me look like a boy. Sleepovers. Giggles. Sunday School. My beloved pink, ivory, and blue angora sweater. The Olympic Games in Sydney. Not fitting in... if I'm not cool enough for the rest of the (weird) homeschoolers, how gauche, exactly, does that make me? Dive played all the time on the Christian radio station.

And I look at this quivering mess of bad hair and giggles and knees, and I wish I could go back and tell her the things I am going to tell you. Not that it would make a difference. Young Claire liked to learn things the hard way. She kind of still does.


Girls who are really OK with themselves do not like to make other girls feel bad. Note that I did not say "Girls who are really into themselves do not like to make other girls feel bad." But girls who are really, fundamentally secure are invariably OK with making connections and lasting friendships with other girls. It's only the resentful and frightened little girls who feel the need to compete and alienate potential galpals.

This means that your archrivals are probably as insecure as you are, no matter how perfect an image they may perpetuate. So have a little pity. And don't take it to heart when they say catty things or badmouth you behind your back.

(And remember... you probably have hurt someone's feelings in a similar way at some point.)

Being genuinely friendly to everyone is the smartest thing you can do. You'll make friends because most of the insecure girls will want to befriend someone who accepts them and makes them feel cool. And then the few insecure girls who backstab will be gossiping about you to your new friends, who will defend you.

Caring about junior high boys? Not really that worth it. Most of them have not figured out that they do need to wear deodorant every single day. You may think they matter. And they should matter... to Jesus. Not to you.

So, now that I have told you not to take the junior high drama to heart, you may be wondering what I do wish you would consider focusing on. The answer is simple: bigger things than you. Life is crazy... for you. So put your crazy self into a cool situation. Continue to dance and do theatre. Learn a lot--but never think that you know it all. I started going to OFY when I was your age, and it changed my life.

Don't take the middle school drama to heart. Be okay with where you are. You are a beautiful, intelligent kid. Rebekah Carmichael thinks that you are "awesomeness." A lot of us are really proud of you... even if you are a middle schooler with a lot to learn, a lot of room to grow, and some pretty flagrant flaws.

And watch the movie Stardust. But you cannot watch it without me. I'm serious. I will be very angry if you see it when I'm not with you. It's the ultimate sister-bonding movie.

Whenever I mention that I have a sister around my two friends, they always ask "Is she hot?"

They're goofballs. Dirty goofballs who know that using the word "hot" in reference to my baby sister makes me vastly uncomfortable. Dirty goofballs who love to watch me squirm.

But I'm telling you this--and I'm being honest, because I don't lie to you--that in four, maybe five, maybe six years, not only will you have survived middle school and gone on to bigger and better things, you're going to be hot stuff.

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