Thursday, June 25, 2009

Kersten in SLC

Dear Kersten,

First, the bad news: you will never own that lime green, convertible Geo Metro from the hand-me-down copy of Road&Track you’ve been stashing. Although this is undoubtedly a blow to your 9-year-old dreams, keep hope for black Toyota Corollas — 1995 was a particularly good year.

And now for the good news: you are one weird little girl. Trust me, being weird is good news. The things that make you awkward and ugly and nerdy and alone now will one day be your strongest assets. These weirdnesses will be with you a long time, maybe even the rest of your life, but eventually you are going to learn how to deal with them, how to mold them, how to craft them into strengths.

Let’s take that oversized plant identification book that you’ve been carrying around — you have been telling your classmates that you want to be a botanist when you grow up. These are not the things that get you invited to sleepovers and summer pool parties. But, 20 years from now, you will still remember the cover to that book and reaching out to touch the illustrations as though you were actually running lavender buds through your fingers. Someday you will have your own lavender, if not the botany degree. Remember that Mondrian painting you saw in the Pittsburgh museum, while on a field trip with your girl scout troop? It happens that, through no particular maneuvering on your part, that you will one day build a house that looks a bit like that Mondrian.

These are strange details. But they stick because you’ll always have a mind that grabs odd snippets and clutches to them, pulling them out for daylight every so often, brushing off the dust, and rearranging the details on your mind’s shelves. Embrace this trivia and this propensity to remember and learn — you’re going to make the most of those hyper-connective sparks some day soon.

Kersten, 28

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