Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Derek's Dear Me Letter

A Letter To My Sixteen Year Old Self
Derek at Sixteen

Greetings from twenty-five years in the future. Freaky right? It’s just like that writing assignment you had a couple of years ago where you had to write a letter to yourself in twenty years. Sad news. Most of the relatives you said I should look up are dead now so instead of putting in a letter to call them, maybe you should just call them now while you can. I know long distance is expensive but that will change. Everything about calling will change. And the easier and cheaper it gets to call people, the less you will want to do it. Weird right? Sometimes life doesn’t make a lot of sense.

There are things that will disappoint you. We don’t live on the moon and robot butlers haven’t happened either. You will have a robot dog though but the novelty will wear out before the battery does. Pretty much nothing in Back To The Future II happens. They did make the sneakers finally but that was never interesting anyway. In 2001, Pan Am will be out of business and in 2010, you won’t live in a house with dolphins as pets. Frankly, the best invention we get out of science fiction is automatic doors and they’re everywhere and you’re going to love them.

I don’t really have a lot of advice for you. Things have turned out pretty good so far, with only a couple of minor exceptions. You are a lucky person with good instincts. Follow them and be bold and you’ll do great. You could change things but you’ll be happy with the way things turn out even if you don’t. But I suppose I have some minor suggestions that might improve the quality of your overall experience.

1. Your tortured teen love for Laurel Cullen is a phase. You like guys. You should quite moping and listening to Madonna songs because the hot male date you bring to your ten year high school reunion will make her wild with jealousy.

2. Stop making faces in the mirror trying to see what you will look like when you get older. Trust me, you’ll get plenty of that when you are older. Enjoy being young. Even though you will be frustrated that people won’t take you seriously at work because you have a baby face, getting carded in your 30s is a lot more fun than a corner office.

3. Having a boyfriend is not important. Making money is. It will turn out over time that you will like the security of cash in the bank more than the security of a man on your arm. So, shamelessly pursue your career instead of men who will only waste your time and steal your energy. And as a TV show in the future will point out, “with enough money, you can pay people to see you naked.”

4. When your Mom tells you to “do something nice for some nice lesbian couple somewhere” by donating to a sperm bank when you are 22, don’t be mortified, just take her advice. Yes, you will probably be a grandfather in your 40s, but in retrospect, having grandkids at any age is awesome and even though you will miss changing diapers and shaping their lives, there will still be little Derek’s running around somewhere with Denis’ chin and your Mom’s long limbs and ski jump nose.

5. Don’t be afraid to move to New York City. You are going to love it. Although you are right, there will never be enough money to live there properly, no matter how rich you are.

6. I know Peggy Sue Got Married doesn’t make any sense to you now, but in twenty years, that shit is going to wreck you. Lots of movies and other things will make more sense when you are older. Yes, it seems obnoxious that Glinda doesn’t just let Dorothy go home at the beginning of the Wizard of Oz, but an arduous journey is more valuable than an easy trip to where you want to go. If you don’t learn along the way, you’ll just end up a Republican.

7. Your fight with your Dad may seem like it is about other things but it is just about you being gay. Get over it and tell him. It will turn out to be the best thing. In fact, come out in high school. Nothing bad is going to happen and I assure you there won’t be one shocked face in a ten mile radius. Not even Laurel.

8. Stop resisting technology. It is going to end up defining your career again and again and again. The more you resist it, the less money you will end up making. And as you can see in #3, money is kind of important. And writing too. Don’t resist that either. You like it. Do more of that.

9. Don’t try to be trendy or wear fashionable clothes. You are the embodiment of American sportswear. Stick with what works for you. Otherwise you will just end up looking ridiculous. Although, it turns out that what other people think doesn’t really matter but still, you will know you look ridiculous and not in a good way.

10. People are stupid. You are just going to have to let that go. Be happy instead, and grateful that you aren’t stupid too. And your hair. Be grateful for that. Even though it has already started going grey, like everything else in your life, you’ll still end up having more than you’ll ever need. And if I know myself, that will be a relief.

This Dear Me letter is inspired by the book Dear Me: A Letter to My Sixteen-Year-Old Self.


  1. That was a really good letter to yourself. I am sitting here trying to think of what I would tell my 16 year old self that would help me or encourage me. I am very inspired by you and Romaine. Thank you for sharing your letters.

  2. I love your writings, Derek! Thanks :-)

  3. Fantastic letter Derek! The only thing better than reading it was listening to you read it and now seeing your 16 year old pic! So adorable!!! Cindysb15 XO