If you could travel back in time, what advice would you give to your younger self?
Dear 3-year-old Ade,
Someday you're going to look back at all those old family videos and wonder if you're mildly autistic. Try to be a little more discreet with your... oddities.
Dear 5-year-old Ade,
You don't need to worry. It takes both a mommy and a daddy to make a baby, so you won't just randomly start spawning when you're older, whether you get married or not. Also, you have Tourette Syndrome, and that's one of the reasons you act so wonky.
Dear 7-year-old Ade,
If the neighborhood boys won't play with you because you're a girl, trying to pass yourself off as a boy won't work. Embrace your androgyny, and find the balance.
Dear 12-year-old Ade,
There's a difference between being funny and being obnoxious. You're a loner, and the sooner you realize this, the sooner you can relax and stop worrying because you have a hard time making friends. (Being an ass to people doesn't help, either.) You should avoid social situations that make you really uncomfortable (like school dances) instead of trying to force yourself to get used to them, because you'll just give yourself anxiety attacks.
Dear 13-year-old Ade,
Don't throw tennis balls at that girl in the other gym class. She'll become one of your best friends in a few months. And about that, uh, "ordeal" you went through, I wish I could go back in time and delete that. But I can't, and the most you can really do is try to get over it. Yes, you could have stopped it before things got really bad. Yes, you should have told someone, regardless of the consequences. But your biggest mistake will be allowing it to happen again, when you could have prevented it. Even though you'll eventually get over it, it will permanently scar your mind, and you may never be able to fully erase the damage. Nobody deserves to go through that. You must never allow it to happen again.
Dear 16-year-old Ade,
I'm glad to see you embracing your craziness as a good thing. KEEP WRITING, even though you kind of suck at this point. Right now, you're probably more creative (and brave) than ever, so enjoy it while it lasts.
Dear 18-year-old Ade,
Don't worry, things will be fine. You'll eventually heal from that appendectomy. You'll do ok in college, and you'll eventually find your niche, even though it'll take a while. Relax, you'll get through it, even though you're horribly squeamish about medical stuff and are socially retarded.
Dear 20-year-old Ade,
Don't get your hopes up, and don't waste your time with people who only confuse you. Avoid [names withheld], they're toxic and aren't worth it. Realize that your friends are going to do amazingly stupid things, and no matter what you say or do, they're the only ones with the power to change their situations. So let them fail their classes, date people who are completely wrong for them, and get ridiculously intoxicated. They'll learn from their mistakes eventually, just as you do.