Peace, love and blessings!
There are so many things I want to say to you. So many lessons I want to teach you, to help you become a better grown-up and make better choices and ensure your happiness, but I only have one letter in which to express it all. My advice outlined below is in no particular order because you know how The Voices are… oh wait, I forgot. You haven’t met them yet. Just bear with me... put down the Julio Iglesias LP and pay attention.
1- USE A CONDOM. This piece of advice is so crucial on so many levels. Please disregard everything they taught you about sex at St. John’s; the Catholic Church is so fucking warped and it's just not realistic to what you will encounter in your life and what you want for yourself… But please- just use a freaking condom, OK?
2- TAKE PRE-CAL YOUR SENIOR YEAR OF HS. You’ll need the discipline of an extended day to keep you out of trouble. Trust me on this one. You’re really good with numbers and you’ll be at one of the best specialized High Schools in the City, don’t waste the opportunity. Also, it wouldn’t hurt you to take some AP and honors classes. And for the love of Pete, do your damn homework!
3- DON’T DROP ACID. I can’t stress this enough. It will fuck up your head so much, and the side effects will follow you well into your 30s. It’s not cool. It’s not fun. You’re so much better than that. And after the acid is when The Voices started and OH MY GOD- your life will be so much better if they aren’t around.
4- YOU DON’T NEED MAMI TO VALIDATE YOU. You’ll realize this at around age 12 anyway, but I thought I’d let you know now. She’s had a rough childhood, seriously, and she just doesn’t know how to show you love the way you need it shown and encourage you in the way you need encouragement. So encourage yourself. Love yourself. Look in the mirror and know that you are:
- pretty enough
- smart enough
- savvy enough
- talented enough
- GOOD ENOUGH
5- DON’T STOP DANCING. Fuck stage fright. Tell it to go suck a dick. You love it so much and you’re so good at it… don’t let anything stop you from dancing on Broadway.
6- SPEND MORE TIME WITH GRANDMA. Those pills you see her taking right now are NOTHING compared to the medical attention she will need later, and when she dies the void it will leave inside of you will tear you apart. Spend all the time you can with her now. Learn your family’s story. Gather all her recipes in a scrapbook. Take lots of pictures with her. Hug her every chance you get. And I swear if I catch you rolling your eyes at her one more time I’ll build a time machine just to kick your ass all up and down Inslee Place, you hear me?
7- BE A
8- BE A BETTER BIG SISTER TO MARI FROM 1993-1998. Mami is going to have another baby soon, and while you're in college, your baby sis will be in dire need of your love, attention and affection. Her world will be turned upside down in a strange new place without the safety net of Grandma and Papi like you have growing up. You’ll be only a few hours away from her so make it a point to visit and call her often. Check in with her. Let her know you care. And don't [allegedly] hit her with a cereal box when she's older- she'll never ever let it go!
9- MAJOR IN ENGLISH AND SPANISH IN COLLEGE. Don’t be such a whiny little piss-ant about having to read British Literature and just major in English, OK? And stop acting like your Spanish grammar and syntax is on point ‘cause it won’t be. It’s a necessary evil that will help you so much in the future… you don’t even know how good it will be for you. Please, just do it.
10- WALK YOUR OWN DOG. Look at lil Rocky. Isn’t he adorable? Isn’t he the center of your universe right now? Right. So go walk your own fucking dog, okay, because one day in the very near future, Papi is going to take him out without a leash and you’ll never see that dog again. And just like with Grandma’s death, you will not recover from this for a very, very long time.
Most importantly, sweetie, I want you to speak up- in English and Spanish- and make your voice heard. That "…meek shall inherit the earth…" saying is bullshit. Tell people when you’re upset with them right at the moment they upset you. Tell people you love you love them right when you feel love for them.
Be happy when you’re happy and sad when you’re sad. Cry if you want to whenever you want to and in front of whomever is there when the tears decide to come. Own your feelings, don’t eat them or drink them or smoke them or fuck them or hide them away.
The damage you can avoid will be priceless, and will ultimately save your soul a lot faster and better than any Hail Mary or Our Father or Act of Contrition.
PS… I’d get to saving all your future McDonald’s and babysitting and summer camp money in the bank post haste. All of it. You’re going to need it.
*smooches...wishing hard for a time machine*
there's so much I want to tell Little Raquel. Like "don't let your aunt relax your hair when you visit DR at age 10." And "get Julio's address before he gets shipped off with the Army." what would you tell your younger self? write a letter on your blog... I'd love to read it :D