Letter to a Younger Me

Madison Robbins

Remember this: when you're seventeen and that boy with the baby face and the great arms is kissing up and down your neck, ignore the seatbelt jabbing you in the back, and when he motions to your lower stomach and fingers the button on the front of your too-tight jeans, you don't have to say "no" and "not tonight" because you think it's the right thing to do, the better thing to do—because in all honesty if you say no to him and the guy after that and the one after that then before you know it, you've got a Master's degree and your credit is good enough to buy a house and you know more about fertility clinics than you do about first date etiquette and you see a donor as the only way you'll ever become a mother because you don't know how you grew up so fast when you can hardly remember being a kid in the first place; they'll tell you to wait for love or marriage or safety but if you wait too long you might be too late, you might miss your window of fearful youth, your time to make mistakes with boys who won't even remember your name until finally you find the one who does, and if you don't make mistakes when you're too young to know better, you'll think it's too late and instead of letting yourself have one-night stands or go on dates with men you know aren't good for you, or even the ones you know could be the one, you'll sit at home and think about the life you've planned for yourself: how you'll be a single mother and a homeowner and one day, after eighteen years have passed with children coming home to you day after day, you'll return to a house without muddy footprints and laughter and dirty dishes and you'll wish you would have let that baby-faced boy have his way with you in the backseat of that Dodge when you were seventeen, because maybe then you wouldn't have to be so afraid to let a man close enough to you to love you and you wouldn't have to be so alone in life or in love or in decisions or even in the home you created for yourself, by yourself.